“They killed my mother”. “They took our magic”. “They tried to bury us”.
Now we rise
Children of Blood and Bone is about a young woman named Zelie Adebola from a once magical land called Orïsha. There was a time when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. The Majis (the book’s word for magic) were human who could do magic because of their connections with the gods and they were 10 major Maji clans.
Burners– who ignited flames (Maji of Fire, Diety: Sango)
Tiders– who could beckon tidal waves(Maji of water, Diety: Yemoja)
Cancers – who could make people die of sickness (Maji of disease, Diety: Babaluaye)
Healers – who could heal any injury or sickness (Maji of health, Diety: Babaluaye)
Seers– who could see the future (Maji of time, Diety: Orunmila)
Tamers – who could control animals (Maji of animals, Diety:Oxosi)
Lighters– who could manipulate & control light (Maji of Darkness & light, Diety: Ochumare)
Winders– who would control air and win (Maji of Air, Diety:Ayao)
Reapers– who could control life and death (Maji of Life and Death, Diety: Oya)
Connectors– who could manipulate human mind and thoughts (Maji of Mind, Spirit and Dreams, Diety: Ori)
Grounders– who could control the earth (Maji of Iron and Metal, Diety: Ogun)
Welders– who could control metal (Maji of Iron and Metal, Diety:Ogun)
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of the ruthless king Saran, the maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of Amari, the rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince Inan, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
One cannot deny the fact that the Children of Blood and Bone has alot in common with Avatar, the last airbender. The author Tomi Adeyemi affirmed that she was indeed inspired by Avatar to write the story.
Nonetheless, she managed to give the characters in her book a lot more background history, life and meaning. She also created 6 more elements(clans) beyond the conventional 4 elements that are attributed with the Avatar while giving them unique portrayals and depth.
One aspect I really admired was the fact that Tomi Adeyemi proudly exhibited her Yoruba-Nigerian origin by naming notable settings in the book with actual places in Nigeria. The main character, Zelie Adebola, was from Ibadan but she lived in Ilorin. Places like Sokoto, Lagos & Warri were also mentioned as scenes in the book. Plus the maji characters made incantations to summon their magic in Yoruba and the gods mentioned in the book were actual Yoruba gods.
“Awa ni omo eje ati egungun”
“A ti de! Ikan ni wa!. Da wa po Mama!”
“Ki itanna wa tan pelu ebun ainiye re kan si!”
Aside establishing this connection with Nigeria and the black people, Tomi Adeyemi also said the book had a subtle theme that depicted the killing and oppression that the blacks currently face in America and corruption and oppression of blacks by blacks in Nigeria and Africa.
Nonetheless the book was an amazing read. I rate it 4.75 over 5 and it is a must read for all fantasy-art loving Africans.
About the Author
TOMI ADEYEMI is a Nigerian American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. After graduating from Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. Visit her at tomiadeyemi.com. Follow her @tomi_adeyemi on Twitter and Instagram