Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone
Pan Macmillan
United Kingdom
13 March 2018

Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi

Zelie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared.

Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zelie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orisha, where snow leoponaires prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters.

Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to control her powers - and her growing feelings for an enemy.


Zélie lives in Orïsha, a mythical version of Nigeria and a kingdom once full of majis – people chosen by the gods to wield the gift of magic. All that remains of that magic now are whispered, impotent words in a forbidden language and the bright, white hair of diviners – the children of the slaughtered majis. To call Zélie fearless would be a lie; Zélie’s life is one lived in fear. Her bright, white hair announces to all that she’s a ‘maggot’ (a derogatory word for divîners), it marks her as a lesser, one guards can grope and attack with no consequences. She is not fearless, but she is brave, determined and rash.

It’s this rashness that leads to Zélie rescuing Princess Amari, who has fled after witnessing her father kill her divîner maid. Together with Zélie’s brother Tzain, they embark on a journey across Orïsha to complete an ancient ritual that can bring magic back for good. They are pursued by Prince Inan, Amari’s brother – a young man completely torn between gaining his father’s approval and doing what is right, while at the same time never quite knowing what is right.

All the characters in Children of Blood and Bone are all so well realised you find yourself slowly nodding along to their wildly different points of view even though one chapter earlier you thought they were insane. Children of Blood and Bone is brutal, it won’t let you put it down and when you finally force yourself to close its pages it infects your every thought until you can pick it back up again. I’ve never wanted to be in a book and a part of the journey more than while I was reading Children of Blood and Bone. Toward the end my heart was racing (literally! My smart watch told me I reached 117bpm!) and I cannot recommend it enough.

Dani Solomon is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids.

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