Published by: Macmillan.
Released: 6th March 2018.
Official synopsis: "Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha 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 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 a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy."
Sometimes, a book comes along that is so rare and special, so unique and timely and just so freaking good that you can hardly believe you have it in your hands, reading page after page of wonder. Surely it cannot be real. It cannot be happening. Children of Blood and Bone is one of those books, and boy oh boy, it's real! Right from the first page we are thrown into a world of oppression, murder, epos journeys and lions big enough that people ride them, much like we do horses. I mean, this alone had me SCREAMING and totally in love with it, let alone the excitement of the book around it. Nailah the lionaire was a massive favourite for me. My dog (a golden lab) is called Nala and the name kept making me think of her and had me imagining what it would be like if she were the size of a lionaire, but given how naughty she is I know she'd be a terrible rider. Ha!
Zélie does not do well with instruction. She is impulsive, acts before she thinks and often gets herself into a whole world of trouble that could be avoided if she just sat back for a second and assessed the situation. I adored her. Her voice. Her thought process, or lack thereof. Her determination and drive to continue to fight even when the odds are unfairly stacked against her. She is a fantastically real and well rounded character that I found myself rooting for, right from the get go. And with a strong cast also narrating the book, from Amari, the crown princess who is rebelling against her fathers regime, and Inan, the crown prince on a mission to return a magical artefact and leave both Zélie and his own sister dead, the stakes are high.
The book clocks in at just under 600 pages, and you'd think there'd be a dip in the excientment somewhere, but no. Every single page served its purpose and drew you closer and closer to a climax that I for one didn't see coming, and when I turned the last page, expecting there to be another chapter, a paragraph, something, ANYTHING, and found only Tomi's acknowledgements, it had me HOWLING for book 2. Howling, I tell you. Howling. Because this book is so magical I could read it again, and again and again and I doubt I would ever get bored of it. You can tell it has been so intricately planned.
Inspired by West African mythology, with a hint of Avatar: The Last Airbender thrown in for good measure, the world that Tomi has created is massive in scope, is so imaginative, and vivid and real. You could almost feel the jungle around you, and the stifling heat of the desert. I was transfixed and I would go as far to say that Children of Blood and Bone is my favourite book since I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli in 2015. It has that magical quality to it that makes it both timely, and timeless all at the same time. Beautifully written. Captivating and lush. You'll be clambering for the sequel. I pray the next year flies by because after that cliff hanger ending I need to know what happens next!! Read it, read it, read it!
And the rights have already been optioned for a movie, with work already under way. You just know this is going to be massive. It's been at number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list since its release and with the hype and excitement surrounding the book, I cannot wait to see how it translates onto the big screen.