Friday 30 March 2018

Review on Children of Blood and Bone

They killed my mother.
They took out magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

Twelve years ago, Zélie Adebola's mother was murdered under the order of the King, along with other maji. Magic died along with the maji, leaving their children, the diviners, powerless against the monarchy who treat them as if they are maggots. When Princess Amari runs away, Zélie finds herself caught in the middle. Zélie soon discovers that Amari is in possession of a scroll that will give magic back to any diviner who touches it. However, there is a better way. A way that will bring magic back to all diviners for good, and with the help of Amari and her brother, Tzain, Zélie must obtain two more artefacts and awaken magic before it is too late.

 OKAY SO I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK! So something that I always try to do is go into a book without expectations. Even if it is a new book by one of my favourite authors, I try to go in without any presumptions. I think I might have failed that with Children of Blood and Bone, as there was such a huge hype around this book before it was even published that I couldn't help but set my expectations high! Luckily I got away with it this time, as the book definitely lives up to the hype!

The book follows Zélie , a girl who lost her mother in The Raid when she was killed alongside the other Maji. After learning about a scroll than give give magic back to her people, Zélie goes on a quest to find the remaining artifacts that will be able to bring back magic for good. Something that I immediately loved about this book was how it blended fantasy with culture. The majority of YA fantasy is either set in the Western World, or in a fictional location where elves and werewolves exist, but for some reason those elves and werewolves are all white. Finding diverse YA fantasy is difficult, but Children of Blood and Bone is the perfect example of how fantasy books can be about POC while selling well.

This book is an absolute brick, and although it took me a while to read it just because of it's size, there was never a dull moment, and I was still hooked even in the less action packed scenes. Some books of this length tend to drag on and bore me at times, but even when I was 500 pages in, I wasn't ready for the book to end. A mixture of an amazing plot and amazing characters had me hooked from beginning to end.

So I'll talk about the plot in a little while, but firstly I want to talk about the characters. I adored Zélie and Amari, and I loved how their opinions of each other changed over time. Both girls were strong characters, but in different ways. I particularly loved Amari's character development, as she was initially terrified of what she had got herself into, and seemed almost to be the damsel in distress. We constantly see princesses who need rescuing in video games and Disney movies, and I was initially worried Amari would fit into this cliché. I was relieved when Amari started fighting back, and how she went from needing to be saved to saving others. I loved that although the girls had completely different pasts and upbringings, they were able to come together to reach a common goal.

So a character I have been ranting about on Twitter is Inan. I loved learning about his past, and how he had been brought up to see the Maji as the enemy. Even though I adored Inan, I was also wary of him, as he seemed constantly torn between wanting to help the Maji, and staying loyal to his father. I loved how Zélie helped him see that what he had been taught about the Maji his whole life was a lie, and they weren't the monsters his father thought they were. I also loved how Zélie was able to forgive Inan. Sometimes the reason people are prejudiced is because they haven't been educated on the subject properly, or they follow their parents beliefs. I loved how instead of fighting hate with hate, Zélie educated Inan on the Maji and helped him to change the opinions his father had forced on him.

Something that I adored was the relationships between the siblings. I loved how although both pairs of siblings didn't always get along, they still loved each other and tried to protect each other. I particularly loved the bond between Zelie and Tzain, as although they disagreed often, Tzain risked his life multiple times for Zelie, and constantly pulled her out of danger. Honestly I think we all need a Tzain in our lives to stop us from making stupid decisions!

I'm not going to talk about the plot too much as I don't want to spoil anything, but I do have to say it was full of magic, adventure and plot twists! Honestly I had to put the book down a few times when something major was revealed just so that I could process it. I often get confused over fantasy books, but even when the inevitable back story came, I still felt as if I was able to follow along. There is quite a lot of killing in this book, most often of innocent, defenceless people, and there were a few scenes which I found to be quite gruesome for a YA book. Characters are often murdered or tortured, which were both shocking and upsetting at times. The horrible thing is this isn't far off how POC are treated in the real world, as there always seems to be new instances of innocent black people being killed by the police. The link to racism is evident, as although there are some Maji with lighter skin, the majority have dark skin, and are frequently called maggots. I think this is one of the reasons why Saran was such a detestable and terrifying villain, as although he was prejudiced against the Maji and practically treated them as slaves, he was the one with the power. I loved the positive message the book gave to minority groups, which was to rise up together against the hatred and fight against those who oppress them, as the only way to achieve equality is by letting your voices be heard.

So the ending... oh dear. I was so ready to give this book a five star rating but then the ending happened. Now I usually love a good plot twist, but I had my heart set on the ending going a specific way, but it turned out completely the opposite to what I was expecting, and not in a good way. It still doesn't make sense to me and I'm not sure if it ever will, but I was disappointed, as it seemed to undo a whole lot of amazing character development. I felt this was a shame, as I had no problems with the book until the last twenty pages, and it felt like shock value had been placed ahead of a good plot. I'm wondering if anyone else feels this way about the ending so please DM me if you've read it!

Apart from the disappointing ending I loved this book, and it definitely deserves all the hype it's been getting! Honestly I think I need a time machine as I have no idea how I'm going to be able to wait for the sequel! If you haven't read this book yet, then definitely add it to your TBR!

Children of Blood and Bone is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Children of Blood and Bone Blog Tour

Hello Majis! Today I bring you a very special Children of Blood and Bone themed post! I have to admit that this book may possibly be my favourite fantasy book of the year, and that's a big deal seeing as it's only March! I will be posting a full review in the next few days, but today I'm probably going to be ranting a lot about how amazing this book this, talking a little about my favourite character (because why not?), sharing what maji clan I would be in, and showing you how you can find out what your own is!

So let's start with the clans! Although Zelie is a Reaper, there are actually twelve different clans, each with their own unique abilities! Now I was given a quiz by the publisher that involved adding the day and month of your birthday together, but I always feel those are really inaccurate, so instead I'd like to guide you to the Maji quiz on the official Children of Blood and Bone website, which you can find HERE! This one is more of a Pottermore style quiz, where you get asked a number of questions, and at the end you get given a Maji clan based on your personality. Pretty cool huh? So I of course took this quiz, and the Maji clan I got given was... drum role please.

To be honest I feel as if this is probably the equivilant of being a Slytherin. At first I thought it was a horrible power to have, but then I started thinking more in terms of fighting an enemy, and I think it would be pretty powerful against the King! Being a Cancer seems like it would be pretty close to what Light can do in Death Note, and if I was fighting alongside Zelie, Amari, Tzain and Inan, I think being a Cancer would be great for getting information from an enemy! Teaming up with a Healer seems like a great torture technique (I probably shouldn't even be thinking of torture, but let's be real, the king would deserve it after everything he's done!) I also think I'd end up having a little fun with it, such as annoying my friends by giving them acne.

If you decide to do the quiz, then please tell me what Maji Clan you got, and what you would do with your powers!

Okay so I did say I was going to talk a little about my favourite character, and that character is of course Inan. If you follow me on twitter, you'll probably have seen me ranting about how much I love this boy. I will be talking about him in my review too, but I thought I could use this post to give Inan the spotlight. Inan is such an interesting character, and he definitely goes through the most character development out of everyone! Inan is the son of the King, a corrupt ruler who is trying to destroy magic once and for all. He ordered his armies to kill all of the Majis twelve years ago, and now treats the Diviners, those who were too young during the time of the raid to be Maji, as if they are the scum of the earth. Basically he's not a very nice person (understatement of the year!) and as Inan has been brought up under his rule, he has also grown up with his fathers prejudices against the Diviners. However, after meeting Zelie, Inan slowly discovers that the Maji aren't the evil monsters his father had always told him they were. I think one of the reasons why I loved Inan so much was that he reminded me of one of my all time favourite characters, Draco Malfoy. If Draco had had a positive influence like Zelie in his life, I feel as if he would have turned out like Inan. I feel as if there is a difference between characters who are openly prejudiced, and characters who don't know any better, as that's how they were brought up, and they haven't had much experience of the real world to learn that what they have been taught is wrong. As children, we often think that what our parents tell us has to be right. They are the main influence in our lives, and sadly not all parents are good people, but as children we don't realise this. As Inan experiences more of the real world, he discovers the truth, and learns that it's not really the Maji who are the enemy, it's his father. Sadly the real world is also full of the hatred and racism that we see in Children of Blood and Bone, and I think the book gives a positive message that we must rise about the hatred, as only by working together can we overcome it.

I will be typing up a full review in the next few days so look forward to that! Please feel free to talk to me about this book as I honestly just want to rant to someone about how great it is! Let me know your Maji clan and your favourite character in the comments, or you can always talk to me on twitter, as I will always happily talk about books!

If you haven't already grabbed up a copy of Children of Blood and Bone, then here are a few links to where you can purchase a copy!

  | Amazon Book Depository