“Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were 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 an enemy”. – Goodreads blurb
I purchased Children of Blood And Bone when it was released and had been sitting on it a while. It was a book I’d been looking forward to reading for a long time but other titles just kept taking priority for one reason or another. I was excited about trying out a highly acclaimed YA book, and I was really excited about reading a story based on West Africa in general and Nigeria more specifically. And then there was that stunning cover! Oof.
But when I sat down to read it, I just couldn’t get into it. I’m not sure exactly why. There was nothing horrible about the book, at least the parts I actually finished. But something was lacking for me. I made it through almost 30% of the book before I finally decided to mark it as a DNF.
I’ve been kind of sitting on this review for a few weeks trying to decide what to say and how I want to say it. I haven’t come up with a good solution so I’m going to talk about some things I liked and try my hardest to describe why I couldn’t finish. This will be much shorter and less thorough than my usual reviews.
What I Liked
- The plot: I was really intrigued by the plot. I thought the idea behind the story was interesting and it is definitely part of what drew me to the book to begin with.
- West African Inspired: As I noted above I really loved the West African inspired themes and setting. When I read the opening page with a reference to jollof rice I thought I would love everything that came after (jollof rice is a fav West African dish of mine…along with fufu).
- Magic System: The magic system seemed really cool. I didn’t get far enough into the book really explore it but the initial descriptions of it and the way it manifests was intriguing.
What I Didn’t Like
This is much harder because I can’t point to any number of major specific things. After getting about 30% of the way into the book I just wasn’t hooked by any of it. Even those things I noted above seemed lacking to me.
I did write in my notes that I didn’t really enjoy the use of first person in this book. Which is weird because I tend to like first person. But in Children of Blood And Bone it kind started driving me nuts. And what’s so bad is that I can’t really explain why. It isn’t like Adeyemi writes badly, I just didn’t like it. This specific thing has been bothering me the most. Why is it I can’t articulate what about the first person POV I didn’t like? In the end it doesn’t matter I suppose because I didn’t like it and that’s that. But it still bothers me.
Then there were the characters. Again, there wasn’t anything about any one of them that I hated. They weren’t horrible. I just didn’t ever get to a point where I was caring enough about them to continue the story. Nothing was drawing me to them so that I felt invested in them our cared about what happened to them.
So in the end, the way the POV narratives were written kind of turned me off, I didn’t have any connection or feeling (good or bad) about the characters, and up until the point when I finally set the book down, none of the things I initially thought I’d like about the book were interesting enough for me to continue on. I know I sound like I’m being mean, but that isn’t my intent. Again, I’m not trying to say this is a bad book. I know I’m in the minority on this because it has tons of great reviews. And in the end my lone opinion doesn’t really matter as I’m just one reviewer in a large pond of reviewers most of whom really liked the book. It just wasn’t the book for me.
DNF: 2 of 5 Stars
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: March 6, 2018