Children of Blood and Bone is a fantasy YA book written by the Nigerian author Tomi Adeyemi. Not only is this book an incredibly written, captivating book but the author is also a very impressive woman. Children of Blood and Bone, which was published in 2018, was Tomi’s first novel and her talent became immediately recognized. The novel went on to win the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, the 2019 Waterstones Book Prize, and the 2019 Hugo Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. Additionally, in 2019 Tomi was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list and in 2020 was named as one of Time 100’s most influential people of the year in the category of “pioneers”.
Tomi was born to Nigerian parents who had immigrated in America and she was not exposed to her culture growing up as her parents chose not to teach her or her siblings their native tongue. As she grew up she started to rediscover her culture in adulthood as she explained that as a child “you don't realize how cool your culture is until you get out of that phase of trying to fit in”. After graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in English literature she studied West African mythology in Brazil on a fellowship which sparked her interest in learning more about her culture and thus led her to writing Children of Blood and Bone.
This book is a must-read if you are a fantasy fan. A similarity between most fantasy books is that they choose some mythology to base their stories on or to adapt into their own world. Children of Blood and Bone is no exception except that instead of using the typically seen western and European mythology she bases her world and story on West African mythology and Yoruba culture and languages. This novel takes place in the fictional world, Orïsha, where magic has been outlawed and those with magic become oppressed by those without it. The novel follows Zélie, who was born with magic, making her a maji, as she struggles to navigate her powers and try to bring magic back to Orïsha. This book is a fast paced story, filled with complex, interesting characters and incredible world building. All in all this book has an amazing, powerful story and I would recommend it to any fan of the fantasy genre.