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

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