One day magic breathed. The next, it died.
Orïsha was once a land blessed with ‘maji’, sacred clans people with divine powers over the land. When their magic abruptly vanishes, Orïsha bows to the tyranny of a bloodthirsty king, a despot who wishes to wipe the magic arts from the face of his kingdom. But the children of the fallen maji remain, cowed and silent.One day they will rise.
Children of Blood and Bone is the debut novel of Nigerian-American writer Tomi Adeyemi. Already signed up for movie production, it’s set to be the big YA fantasy novel of 2018 and it’s a fantasy novel with a notable difference. Tired of the prevalence of white faces in genre fiction, Tomi Adeyemi created a band of black heroes and allies.
Their quest to revive the ancient magic of Orïsha is inspired by the rich mythology of West Africa, and is heavy with blood and revolution. Zèlie is the daughter of a fallen maji, and has always felt damned by that heritage, a lineage that ensures her treatment as a second-class citizen.
We are the people who fill the King’s prisons, the people our kingdom turns into labourers…as if dead magic were a societal stain.
The flame of resentment that Zèlie nurses, is stoked by a chance meeting with a rebel princess. It seems that the spirit of magic can never be truly vanquished. A scroll, a stone, and a dagger hold the key to it all. This vivid and original magical world is the setting for battles and bloodlust (lots of it).
I admire the deliberate political undercurrent, the awakening and uprising of the maji a stated ‘allegory for the modern black experience’. Dystopian fantasy is massively popular with teenagers. Its use of metaphor and allegory means complex issues can be indirectly examined, providing real food for thought along with the entertainment. Ending on a cliffhanger, the path is laid tantalisingly open for a sequel.
Children of Blood and Bone is published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 544 pages.