Rating: 4.5 STARS
Standalone/Series: Legacy of Orisha
How I got this book: Bought
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.
Children of Blood and Bone promised an epic YA, fantasy adventure filled with magic, revenge, and anger, and it did not disappoint.
But, be warned, you will need to prepare yourself for a monster cliffhanger at the end of this book that had me wanting to tear out my own hair!
I absolutely loved the cultural insight that this book provides. The writing made me feel completely immersed in Orïsha, and in the lives of Zélie, Tzain, Amari and Inan.
We're first introduced to Zélie, a strong-willed, short-tempered young woman who has suffered great loss at the hands of the King of Orïsha. We learn at the book's outset that she is strong, she is outspoken, she is fiery and passionate and that she is grieving for what has been ripped from her life.
Her struggle with her brother Tzain is beautiful. Their constant battle to take care of each other and then dealing with the emotional fallout when something goes wrong is perfectly illustrated and only makes their bond stronger. I love them both equally, and especially love how Zélie continues to challenge the dynamic of their relationship, not allowing her bigger, stronger older brother to always be the protector.
On the flip side, we have Princess Amari who upon our first meeting is demure, unwilling to speak out for herself, and always follows orders. She's almost the complete opposite of Zélie in every way, and her relationship with her brother Prince Inan (heir to the Orïsha throne) is nothing like that of Tzain and Zélie.
All four characters change momentously during their journey. Through each experience, the characters develop, draw closer, push apart and learn who they truly are, and it's fantastic to see.
The world-building in this book was stunning, from the small fishing village, to the temple, the campsite, the arena, the palace. Every scene captured me, immersing me in a new world and place until I didn't want to pull away.
I felt that there were a lot of comparisons to The Hunger Games that could be drawn in this book, some similar themes and occurrences that I think work particularly well.
On a side note, the creatures in this book are extremely cool - I wish they were real!
The magic is brilliant, it's fantastic, unusual and intriguing, as are the battle scenes and I can't wait to find out more in book two.
I also particularly loved the imagery in the dreamscape scenes, the way they worked was just beautiful.
The romance in this book was a pleasant surprise, I like how naturally it seems to grow, although in one particular case there are two characters I really don't 'ship' and can really see someone else in that particular dynamic (but, we'll see).
The cliffhanger ending really threw me. I actually didn't realise that this was the first book in a series whilst reading and so the ending was more than a little frustrating - I want answers, and I want them now!
I feel like the author has perfectly captured this world of segregation, prejudice, hate and fear, and delivered it in such a way that not only do we get a fantastical adventure full of complex, stereotype-defiant, rich characters, we also get a very strong, poignant message that reflects the state of our society, of the real world and hopefully, with more books like this one, this message will resonate with our young adult readers, our future, who can work to make this real world that we live in much brighter for everyone.
Side note: Mama Agba is a badass and I love her.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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