Children of Blood and Bone is the debut novel of Tomi Adeyemi. It follows Zélie Adebola, a young woman with stark white hair that marks her as chosen by the gods to wield magic. She should have come into her powers as a fully realized magi at the age of thirteen, but magic left the world before that could happen. The genocidal King Saran slaughtered the magi and now rules with an iron fist, oppressing everyone that was chosen by the gods.
The novel switches between the points of view of Zélie and the prince and princess of Orïsha. Princess Amari and Prince Inan want to save their kingdom, but the siblings have very different views on how to do that. Amari wants to help Zélie bring back magic to the world and right the wrongs of her father. Inan believes the only way to save the kingdom is to eradicate magic for good.
I picked up a copy after YouTuber Sailor J selected this novel for book club. I’m glad she recommended it, because this novel really pulled me in. The characters all felt well developed to me, with interesting backstories and complex personalities. The motives behind the actions of villainous characters were clear, explaining their actions without excusing them.
There's also some romance in the story. I’m usually a little wary of romances happening in the middle of saving the world, but I liked these ones. They didn’t feel forced. Though, while I really liked the main character's love interest, I do wish we would have seen more of a certain pickpocket.
I also really enjoyed the fact that this is an African fantasy novel. Every single character is African and the West African language Yoruba is the language of the gods. Adeyemi is Nigerian-American and her heritage comes through beautifully in this novel. I’ve never read a fantasy book like this before and now I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel.
Here’s the book website with links to where you can buy this amazing novel.