“We are all children of blood and bone.”
Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel Children of Blood and Bone came into my hands riding a tidal wave of hype. It has been fraught with comparisons bent on convincing readers that this book is similar to something else they enjoyed. Truthfully, you will see some themes that are familiar to other books in the fantasy realm. But, as a whole, this book is uniquely its own and as I closed the back cover the word that sprang to mind was “necessary.”
So many book lovers speak of Harry Potter with reverence. Some readers love the series because they were able to step outside of their lives and revel in the idea of magic. Others found kindred spirits in the fantastic set of characters. For me, Harry Potter, was and always will be essential because it created a whole generation of readers and launched an entire genre of books.
To be clear, Children of Blood and Bone may contain magic and a fascinatingly unique culture and history but it is absolutely not Harry Potter. It is very well written with just a small slump in the middle. It has characters that you will love, characters that will question your initial allegiance and ones you will abhor. There are struggles against tyranny, the rising to the promise of one’s fate, and personal sacrifice. But where Harry Potter inspired hope and allowed escapism, this book ignites questions and spurns investigation. We want to travel to Hogwarts to experience the magic. I want to go to Orisha to fight.
That is because Children of Blood and Bone is predicated on the notion that a whole class of people is less simply because of abilities obtained at birth. The King sees them as a threat and therefore they must be suppressed. At the onset of the story the suppression is in full swing. The older generation of magi has been killed en mass and the children are referred to as “maggots” and taxed heavily until they or their families end up in the stocks.
Many reviews have remarked on the representation in this book. Representation is essential. And this book is fantastic in that regard. However, I believe that to say this book is good or important solely because of representation is an overly simplistic viewpoint. Rather, this is an essential book on what happens when one group seeks to dominate another. How do you live your life when you are afraid everyday? And what happens when you have an opportunity to overcome that fear and fight back?
The Children of Blood and Bone is a well written multi-viewpoint fantasy story. I have characters that I have already let into my heart. And after the heart-stopping ending I can hardly wait to read more. But more than anything else, I cannot wait to talk about this book and the issues it confronts.
Tell me, please!
What are your thoughts? What issues do you see in representation in books?
«We want to travel to Hogwarts to experience the magic. I want to go to Orisha to fight.» This is so cleverly written! It always irks me a little bit when books are branded as “the new this or that”, because often they’ve only got really surface level-resemblances (like magic in this case), but as books they serve completely different purposes. It’s a good way to attract readers, and I’ve found some of my favourites by looking for “new Harry Potters”, but it also makes it sound like the new book isn’t enough in itself, it has to kind of live up to the book it’s being compared to, even if it’s a completely different story or genre, if that makes sense? This sounds like a really good book, though, I can feel that tbr pile grow, haha x
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Thanks! I also hate comparing one book to another (and I have been suckered into far too many stinker books because it said “if you like Harry Potter…” on the cover). But, sometimes it is a good jumping off point to convey the feel of a book. I agree with the “new this or that” as well and especially when the book features diverse characters and they get labelled as “black Harry Potter” or “LGBTQA+ Harry Potter.” Thanks for stopping by, let me know if you read it what you think!
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THIS BOOK IS SO AWESOME, OMG. Totally agreed re: necessary. I did love that literally all the characters were POC, that was an amazing decision. And the cover is incredibly pretty. And love that line re: ‘I went to go there to fight’.
I couldn’t be doing with the Prince character, though. I was like, ‘DUDE, STOP HAVING REALISATIONS AND THEN BACKTRACKING ON THEM. LIKE FFS HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU HAVE TO REALISE SHIT BEFORE IT STICKS?’ So I hope his ending in the book sticks, bc yeah, wasn’t a fan of him or the romance.
Also, do you listen to podcasts at all? On Feb 12 this year, PW KidsCast did an interview with Tomi, and it was just incredibly fucking interesting. Especially if you’re a writer.
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Omg – I LOVE podcasts and I am going to check this out immediately. Thanks! I hate that Prince. Waffle much? Make.Up.Your.Mind. Although, to be fair, she wrote him like a real dude so kudos to Tomi on that one.