Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Boasting an easy to read writing style and a creative magic system, it is understandable that this book has demanded some hype recently. Diviners are young people who were previously destined to inherit magic but who have instead been forced to grow up without their birthright and with the memories of their magical elders being slaughtered by the tyrannical king during a horrific event called the raid. Children of Blood and Bone follows one such diviner named Zélie who becomes a victim of fate and must place herself and her family in the path of danger for the good of the kingdom.
The two female lead characters, Zélie and Amari are strong, each with their own set of values, strengths and weaknesses. In other words, they are real female characters in the foreground rather than simply existing in the background. By creating intelligent, brave female characters, Tomi Adeyemi is opening up a whole new world for her young readers. She provides a solid set of role models for the Young Adult community, which in my opinion, is extremely important.
However, much to my disappointment, this book does fall into the Young Adult romance trap. Even though some of the characters may not seem suitable for each other, every one has to be paired up romantically. This means the adventure in the book is often stalled by long passages detailing how much certain characters desire each other even though there almost certainly wouldn’t have been time for this if the characters were taking their roles seriously. For me, the unnecessary romance took away from how great each character is individually as it makes them appear reliant upon each other which is somewhat unhealthy.
The world building, on the other hand, is interesting and the passages involving landscape and culture had me gripped. Adeyemi successfully weaves aspects of different cultures together to produce a creative hybrid, which highlights how skilled and imaginative she is as a writer. At times, I was enthralled with the world she has created and often read past my bedtime.
My only other qualm with this book, and which prevented me from giving it four stars was that, even though it is over five hundred pages long, it still feels rushed in places, and some characters, I felt, are not explored enough. Despite this, however, I would still recommend the book as a whole, especially as there were parts I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m looking forward to the sequel to see if there will be more of an emphasis on the adventure rather than the romance.