I’ve been hearing a TON of press about Children of Blood and Bone from a lot of sources, so I moved it up on my queue immediately. I was intrigued by the afro-futuristic setting, and I also want it to succeed in a YA context. Now that I’ve read the novel, I am much more mixed about it. I’m really not sure how the series is going to play out.
Zélie is the daughter of a Reaper, a magical woman who summoned souls. Yet the king decreed that magic was dangerous and toxic, and so the people with magical abilities were assassinated. Zélie’s training brings her into contact with the princess of the realm and jumpstarts them into an adventure that has them pursuing the return of magic in the realm of Orïsha, just as the crown prince pursues them aggressively in order to eradicate magic entirely.
So: I have lots of notes. The premise and setting of the story are engaging and interesting. After white-washed European or American adventure stories, the setting in the African continent is refreshing and engaging. The overall plot of the story echoes a Campbellian heroic arc, and there aren’t a lot of twists that are unexpected. I did enjoy the fantasy, but there’s not enough new that made me feel this was groundbreaking. The romance was completely unnecessary and detracted from the book. Also, the book could have used a heavy round of edits—it was way too long for what we ended up getting, and some concise editing would have helped.
That said, I enjoyed the protagonists Zélie and Amari immensely and felt that the book shone when they worked together and developed their individual stories. The middle is poorly paced, but the beginning and the end are fascinating. I’ll be interested to see where the sequel is headed.
*Endnote: I wrote this review quite some time ago, and my original enthusiasm has waned even since then. Perhaps this is a three-star book?
Cross-posted to my blog.