It feels as though the tide is changing in the realm of speculative fiction. Finally, the stories of Africans and Afro-diasporans are being put into the spotlight, and readers everywhere are delighted by the opportunity to delve into the narratives of our people–narrated by our people. And within this sea of new voices and stories, Children of Blood and Bone doesn’t fail to impress. From the blockbuster success of Black Panther, to the undeniably golden stories from Nnedi Okorafor, Octavia Butler, N.K. Jemison, Tananrive Due, and now Tomi Adeyemi, we are finally being gifted with the masterpieces we’ve craved, created in the minds of Black women whose time to shine is long overdue.
When I first received my copy of Children of Blood and Bone–I can’t lie–I was intimidated by its girth. But upon reading the first few pages I was instantly catapulted into a world that surpassed everything I imagined those 600 or so pages could contain. After opening the book for the first the time, I spent the majority of 64 hours engrossed in a story so lit I was transported from the pages and into a live action movie playing in front of my eyes. Things got real, real quick.
This book is so superior I still find it difficult to believe that this is its author’s debut contribution to literature. Not since J.K. Rowling entered the arena has a woman entirely new to the literary world been able to produce such an overwhelmingly magical tale imbued with the skill of the most expert storytellers, in a voice immersed in the vulnerability and passion of its most precious characters–and the characters are precious indeed.
Children of Blood and Bone weaves a much-needed tale of identity, power, and spirituality viewed through the lenses of literature’s most overlooked heroes and villains. From Zélie, the amazingly strong yet sometimes unsure young warrior, to the often conflicted Inan, who forces us to work through our emotions of hate, love, hate, and then a hope for redemption for him, Adeyemi draws us into the minds of young people with the power to change their world. With children marching through the country as we speak, fighting for their right to live their lives without being a target, we find a similar fight being fought in the pages of Children of Blood and Bone. Through her novel, Adeyemi gives us a world that could’ve been, minus the mark of colonization–but filled with the same ugly divisions, only among people who are culturally more alike than different. Through Children of Blood and Bone, we dive deep into topics such as colorism, classism, revenge, oppression, and grace–viewed through the eyes of both the oppressors and the oppressed.
Adeyemi’s ability to infuse the beauty of the Orishan gods and goddesses in all their glory is tantamount to the stories of Greek and Roman lore we’ve grown to appreciate and is long overdue. From her expert world building to her portrayals of beautifully flawed characters, Tomi Adeyemi brings us to a place that seems so real it forces us to wonder how much of the story may be based on real-life events. And that ending—sheesh! Nothing in this book was expected, but every single twist and turn was rewarding. Children of Blood and Bone is not just the typical magical journey one finds in many fantasy books, but instead, it is a book that is very much relevant. This book resonates because it is about the legacy of a people who are working hard to reclaim their magic; a magic embedded in the DNA of Black people all over the world, a magic that we’re still working to reclaim in real life. Listen, I can’t summarize this book for you. I refuse to do it that disservice. Just go ahead and buy it. You can thank me later.
Children of Blood and Bone is available online and in bookstores now.
Tiara Janté is a writer & author from northeastern Pennsylvania. She is both a Staff Writer & Social Media Manager at BlackSci-Fi.com, as well as Co-Editor of Black Girl Magic Lit Mag. A self-confessed social media junkie, when she isn’t online or working on her many projects, she enjoys reading a good thriller, observing hip-hop beefs on Twitter, taking long naps and spending time with her hubby and children. Connect with her via her Website as well as her Twitter, Facebook & Instagram pages.