Analysis

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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 508

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Children of Blood and Bone is a 2016 young adult, West African-inspired fantasy novel written by Tomi Adeyemi. It is the author’s debut novel and the first installation in her planned book series titled Legacy of Orïsha. The novel is told from several point of views, but focuses mainly on the story of seventeen-year-old Zélie Adebola, who witnesses firsthand the ruthless rule of the unjust, power-thirsty king Saran, who bans all magic from the mythical monarchy Orïsha and orders the killings of many Majis, including her mother.

The novel incorporates several themes such as the power of determination and bravery, the importance of friendship and love, and the devastating effects of violence and betrayal, especially on a young person’s psyche. Adeyemi also writes of contemporary political problems such as power abuse, oppression and inequality, and the people’s never-ending quest for meaning and change.

The most obvious example of these themes would be the inhabitants of Orïsha who are divided in different tribes; magical and non-magical people live separately, and the wealthy and rich nobles, the Kosidán, live in the central district. Thus, Adeyemi addresses several sociological problems such as discrimination, class stratification, and elitist superiority as well.

Zélie comes from a half Maji/half Kosidán family from the tribe of Eloirin. She is not a Maji, but she is a Diviner—a person who is still waiting for their magical power. She has a brother named Tzain, who is very protective of her and is a gifted agbön player, which is the main team sport in Orïsha. They both lost their mother, who was a Reaper (a person who can manipulate the spirits of the living and the dead), in one of the king’s genocidal raids.

Angry and a bit vengeful, they go on a quest to collect three sacred artifacts that will restore the magic of Orïsha, before the solstice. They are joined by King Saran’s children—Prince Inan, who must decide whether he will finally embrace his magical abilities as a Connector (a person who can connect with other people's minds) or deny his true Maji nature; and his sister, Princess Amari, who wishes to help the Maji’s cause. The four of them go on an action-packed adventure to save their homeland, and on the way they learn that there is no greater magic than the magic of love, trust and friendship.

Children of Blood and Bone was very well received and gained mostly positive reviews, both from literary critics and readers alike. Many admired Adeyemi’s multifaceted narrative and her masterful portrayal of her main protagonists, and she gained a tremendous amount of praise for creating a relatable and powerful female lead. Naturally, the novel has been compared both to the Harry Potter and the Hunger Games series and gained a bit of criticism for the repetitive plot-line. Recently, it has been revealed that the sequel of Children of Blood and Bone will be titled Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

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