If you dabble in reading YA books, you know about this book. It’s the next big thing. I attended the NOVA Teen Book Festival a earlier this month and was so lucky to hear her speak. And to meet her during a book signing! I’ve never been this excited for a book before, during and after reading it. Since I picked it up, I’ve been praising it to everyone I meet, who I may usually recommend books to. If YA is your thing, if fantasy is your thing, you need to read this book ASAP. Stop reading this review and get a copy of this book from your local bookstore or library.
Children of Blood and Bone is wonderful, powerful, engaging read. The gist of the book, as Tomi has said a few times, is Black Panther but with magic. It’s a cultural experience, and a fantasy experience. Really, that word right there describes it. Reading this book is an experience. There’s so much to love about it.
Firstly, it’s an adventure story. That’s not to say YA books don’t have adventure, but the adventure is hardly the focus of the story. Here it is. Zélie, Tzain and Amari are on a quest to return magic to their kingdom. The goal is so straightforward; the path so clear. That simplicity provides leaves time for a focus on my most favorite thing in any book: strong character development!
This book is about it’s characters. It’s a book about feelings. The plot is a backdrop. It’s the goal of our golden trio, yes, but it doesn’t drive or burden the story like so many other YA books.
It has Zélie, an impulsive, “act before thinking” main character. The book is about her finding her worth and belonging. Amari, is a bit softer, and spends the book discovering her strength and agency. Inan mostly spends the book falling apart, but I have a soft spot in my heart for those kind of villains. Tzain is perhaps the least likable, but he also notably did not have a narrative role in the story. We hear from Zélie, Amari and Inan, who definitely benefit from being to share their own point of view. One of the best aspects of the book is the dueling points of view…that we’ll see Inan in horrible light, but then see what he was thinking in that moment. Or that we’ll see Zélie acting impulsive and impossible, but then see the sense behind her actions.
Also, this book has a somewhat-unexplainable dreamscape communication element that drives an enemies to lovers plot…MY FAVORITE KIND OF PLOT. This book has my favorite type of romance, and I just loved every second of it.
And finally, my adoration for the story and characters aside, this book is so important for its reflection on racism in our society. It portrays a cruel world in many ways like our own, so it’s impossible to read this book and not find yourself reflective. That this book takes place in an African culture-inspired world is also significant, and an essential aspect of this book’s empowerment and appeal.
Like I said before, you need to read this book immediately. Then join me in dying when you realize you have to wait for the sequels. (In the best of ways, of course.)