Tomi Adeyemi brings to life a world where Afrofuturism meets Avatar: The Last Airbender in her stunning debut novel Children of Blood and Bone. This epic fantasy is told in first person from the perspective of three main characters: Zelie, a young Diviner with magic dormant in her blood; Amari, a timid princess who escapes the palace with a priceless treasure; and Inan, Amari’s brother, sent by the tyrannical king to hunt down the girls. Gradually, the three of them learn the truth of the world and must decide whether to work together to shape the future of Orisha.
Zelie was still a child when magic fled the world. She remembers the night clearly because it was the same night her mother, a powerful maji, was chained and hung — killed by the King’s Guard in the Raid that slaughtered every adult maji in the country. Years later, she and the other dormant maji form the underclass of Orisha. Marked by their distinctive white hair, they and their non-magic family are kept in slums, subject to unjust laws and reviled by their countrymen. Zelie has grown up in constant fear, which she has tempered into anger. As might be gathered from my review of Tess of the Road, I have a soft spot for young, angry women as characters, and Zelie is no exception. She’s impulsive and selfish at times; she doesn’t always think things through. However, she loves her family and has a strong sense of justice. And although she’s often deeply afraid, she faces life with courage. [Read more…]