Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Across Orisha, the maji used their magic, granted from the gods, to bring peace and balance. Orisha thrummed with life with that magic. Burners awakened flames. Tiders beckoned waves. Zelie hopes one day to be like her mother, a reaper that can summon souls.
Then suddenly, the gods disappear and the ruthless tyrant king destroys maji across the land, destroying Orisha along with it.
Years later, magic reappears and Zelie grasps at the chance to bring it back in full and rise against those that destroyed it and her mother. With her brother and a runaway, they begin a quest to save Orisha. Will they be able to do so before the crowned prince catches up in hopes of stopping them?
Not going to lie, this premise actually reminded me of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s also partially the reason I picked it up. It wasn’t the whole reason! I’d heard many a great things about this book before it was released and wanted to hop into something fresh, so I plucked it off the shelf at Walmart. Wasn’t let down at all. This book was SO FREAKING, PHENOMENALLY, WONDERFULLY written. Yes, the caps were necessary.
The book itself is a work of art. The cover and the map of Orisha on the inside. Left me breathless. It’s truly worth owning the hardback version.
The world Tomi built left me in a state of complete and utter awe. It was strong and you could perfectly see the stunning imagery. Such a beautiful, yet tragic landscape with tragic loss and overwhelming fear looming over it. From the scarred towns, filled with treacherous guards that take what they please to wounded temples with the ghosts of its inhabitants still lingering in its stone hallways. I was just blown away.
The characters just blew me away. This story is told from three POVs: Zelie, Amari, and Inan. Each of their strengths and struggles and heartaches plucked at my heart and really pulled me in. Zelie has such a heavy weight in her heart, carrying the past. When she meets Amari, they’re thrust onto a path that changes them forever. It changes Inan forever, too, as he it storn between following his duty to his father and king, and helping his sister. Soon enough, the affairs of the heart complicate these quests even more. The complexity of their emotions twist and twist and there were so many times I forgot to breathe. When Zelie felt her anger melt away into the possibility of love and even a possibility of moving forward with her life, I was spellbound. My heart broke open.
And the magic!! Oh, it was incredible! It’s interwoven into a maji’s life, called ashê. I fell in love with just how much a part of life it was. It wasn’t something that was out of the ordinary. It was cherished, and in my opinion wrongfully feared in some instances. This magic, made of elements I’m pretty familiar with already like: time, light, death, fire, water…it’s connected to everything because it comes from so much more than just thin air. It’s from higher beings and not just ones that we guess or hope are there. They’re very present beings. This was one of my favorite parts of the story. It’s beautifully complex, yet not at all because it’s so well written into these characters’ lives and all of Orisha.
To get real for a minute, when I read the book I could see some serious parallels to our own world. Yes, I said our, because we all live in it together. The biggest thing I noticed was the relation between the guards in this book that are vile and treacherous and police that have used brutal and unnecessary force and violence on people. I’ve seen the firsthand videos of people being wrongfully abused. This power that police have and even farther up, the government as well, is scary. This country, the U.S., has become a scary place. Tomi wrote about this parallel in her Author’s Note and I was stunned. She did a stunning job in presenting one of the biggest issues in this country in a well-put-together way that not only swept the reader away, but plunged them into a beautiful story. It sends a powerful message.
Obviously, I recommend this book. It’s powerful and rich and emotionally rendering. This book is eye-opening and a work of art that’ll move you, like splitting open the earth to see its heart. You’ll want more. Hell, I want more!
“Deep down, I know the truth. I knew it the moment I saw the maji of Ibadan in chains. The gods died with our magic. They’re never coming back.” (Zelie, p. 15)
“The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known. No matter what I do, I will always be afraid.” (Zelie, p. 313)
“I hate my magic. I despise the way it poisons me. But more than anything, I hate the way it makes me hate myself.” (Inan, p. 323)
“We don’t need to fear magic. We only need each other.” (Inan, p. 387)
“You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back.” (Zelie to King Saran, p. 416)
More to come…
P.S. Song today? Rise Up by Imagine Dragons.
Thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.