”We are the people who fill the king’s prisons, the people our kingdom turns into laborers. The people Orïshans try to chase out of their features, outlawing our lineage as if white hair and dead magic were a social stain.”
I really don’t know how to begin this review and I’m pretty certain that this is mostly due to the fact that it seems to be unpopular opinion time. *lol* Truth be told, this rarely happens when I read a book. If my friends say they loved it, I usually end up loving it too and when it comes down to it, I think Tomi Adeyemi actually did a great job with her book. It was different, the cast was diverse, the magic system was intriguing, the characters weren’t only morally grey but also complex and the world building was unique.
So if all of that was awesome, why didn’t I like the book as much as I thought I would? Well, there were some things I just couldn’t bring myself to overlook. For instance I had kind of a tough time to get into the writing style (I guess it just wasn’t for me) and I would have liked to get a little bit more background information. I mean I still don’t know what exactly an agbön game is. Is it a war strategy game in real life? Why is it mentioned that Tzain is muscular due to it? Do they actually fight? Is it some sort of water combat?
Also how exactly do all of their powers work? Sure, at the beginning of the book there is an explanation of all the ten Maji clans but whenever someone uses their power we only see what they do but we never get to know HOW they do it and what’s behind of it. Sure, we could argue that the knowledge was lost when magic died and that no one really knows how to use their abilities properly, I think it would have been helpful to explain the machinations behind those powers and incantations though. For a die-hard fantasy fan like me the short explanation we got during the book definitely wasn’t enough. But once again that’s my subjective opinion.
Still, there is one thing I really couldn’t overlook and that was the way the ships developed or should I rather say the way they didn’t develop. They came out of nowhere and quite literally smacked you in the face. *lol* One moment it was like: „I hate you with a fire so bright I want to destroy and burn you to the ground“ and the next it was „I love you and want to be with you until our bones are dust on that aforementioned ground“. So urgh! A 180 degree change because of what? A single moment you agreed? Nope, definitely not working for me. #SorryNotSorry
If I convince myself to overlook all of those little things the book was a really great read though and I have no qualms to recommend it. Well, okay if you don’t like insta-love you might get annoyed and probably should keep this in mind. *lol* It’s just a suggestion though. ;-P
Welcome to my characters section! I don’t have any maji powers so if you continue to read your memory won’t be erased after you’re done with this part of my review. You will be spoiled for eternity and if you don’t want to take that risk you better leave now and never look back. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😉
”I see you dyed your hair.” She points at the color hiding my white streak and smirks. “You might want to add another coat. Some of your maggot’s still peeking through.”
I really liked Zélie! She was exactly the way you would imagine a heroine to be. I mean she had her beliefs and she stood by them and never gave up. No matter what happened, how torn and broken she felt, she always got up again and fought. For her family, for her people and for herself. I think if she truly sets her mind on something there is actually nothing she couldn’t do. Also, I kind of loved that we got to see both of her sides. On the outside she was always so brave and determined, but on the inside we could see her insecurities and fears. It was nice to see how others perceived her and how she truly was. XD My poor, poor girl though. =(( I suffered with her so much and as if the loss of her mother wouldn’t have been already enough she even had to fall into the hands of Saran. I will never forgive him for what he did to her and my heart will always bleed for Zélie! T_T
”Tell me, little prince.” I whip around. “What hurts more? The feeling you get when you use your magic or the pain of pushing it all down?”
”I won’t let your father get away with what he’s done. I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”
”You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back!”
”You don’t have to be afraid-“
“I am always afraid!”
I don’t know what shocks me more – the power in my voice or the words themselves.”
”Sadness swells inside me as I close my eyes and picture her face. Just a brief thought of her is almost enough to take me away from the hell of this desert. If she were here, she’d be smiling, laughing at the grains of sand that got stuck between her teeth. She’d find beauty in all of this. Binta found the beauty in everything.”
Okay, let’s be blunt and totally honest here: Amari is my one and only true Queen and I love her to bits and pieces! <333 This girl is nothing but amazing and even though she had her weaknesses, this didn’t stop her from trying to improve and to make things better in the end. Amari knew exactly what she was capable of but I think she had troubles to come to terms with it. I guess in general she’s a rather peaceful person but if someone hurts the ones she loves and cares about she becomes a Lionaire. *lol* That kind of reminded me of myself, so I could totally relate to her. XD Plus, I loved that she was Saran’s daughter but still recognized her father’s faults and mistakes, that she dared to get in her father’s way. No, that she even tried to save him and tried to show him that he was wrong. It didn’t work out in the end but it definitely wasn’t due to her not trying.
”Do not worry,” I whisper as he takes his last breath. “I will make a far better queen.”
”Magic slithers inside me. Venomous, like a thousand spiders crawling over my skin. It wants more of me. The curse wants to fight its way in –“
*sighs deeply* What a morally grey, confused, broken, complex and multi-layered character. I really don’t know if I should hate or like him and usually that’s a really good sign. *lol* Inan did so many stupid things and sometimes I just wanted to yell at him, if you know his entire background story it’s not easy to judge him for his actions though. His father’s warrior or not, it was obvious that he had troubles to come to terms with his role. If you’ve been raised in the belief that magic is bad it’s not easy to accept that everything you’ve been taught was a lie. I mean he’s been indoctrinated his entire life and it didn’t come as a surprise that he would have difficulties to accept that he’s actually one of the maji. Plus, despite everything his father did, he truly loved him…. Unfortunately that love wasn’t reciprocated and my heart broke when Saran found out about his powers and tried to kill him. I’m saying “tried” because I really don’t know if he survived the ending or not. It didn’t look good for him but it still might be possible that he survived. If he did I’m convinced that he’ll be even more broken than he was in the first book though and I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to handle such a broken Inan. >_<
”I’m really one of them.
I’m the very monster I hunt.”
”I hate my magic.” I lower my voice. “I despise the way it poisons me. But more than anything, I hate the way it makes me hate myself.”
Mhmm… I really don’t know what to think about Tzain. I have the feeling that I didn’t really get to know him because we never got his POV and that obviously makes it kind of hard to gauge his character. For some reason I didn’t like the little that I saw, though. I mean I get why he was angry at Zélie but it’s really not like anything that happened was her fault. I didn’t like his overprotective attitude and sometimes it felt like he was acting very selfish. I mean he is a kosidán and I think because of that he didn’t really understand what it means to be a diviner, what it means to be despised just because you look different. Still, I think some of his worries and reservations were valid and when the shit hit the fan Zélie could always count on him. So all told, I guess it’s safe to say that he’s a good brother who loves his sister and only wants the best for her. =)
”After the Raid you should’ve been desperate to keep magic away. You were supposed to be afraid. Obedient. Now I see there is no educating your kind. You maggots all crave the disease tainting your blood.”
I hated Saran and it made me sick to hear his thoughts. If there ever was a person in a book who’s the epitome of racism it certainly would be Saran. Gah, all those prejudices and that senseless hate I really couldn’t stand him. And if I didn’t hate him enough already, the fact he wanted to kill Amari as well as Inan, his own flesh and blood, only caused me to despise him even more. I’m sorry for Amari because my warrior princess didn’t deserve to have the blood of her father on her blade, but I’m definitely not sorry that he died in the end. I mean he didn’t even hesitate to kill them both…. What a cruel father! *shakes head*
”Don’t – “ He stops me before I interject. “This isn’t about you. I couldn’t speak for weeks after I got my scars. I certainly couldn’t fight.”
Now that’s a character that really intrigued me! Roën seems to be right up my alley and I hope that we’ll get to see more of him in the next book. There weren’t enough moments with him but the little I saw automatically gave me a Nikolai vibe and we all know how much I love Nikolai Lantsov. *lol* I don’t know how I feel about him being a possible love interest for Zélie but I’m inclined to give their ship a chance. XD So I guess I’ll just have to wait until book two comes out.
”Apologies.” He smiles. “My feet have a nasty habit of following my heart.”
Zélie & Inan:
”An unknown force burns behind his amber gaze, a prison I can’t escape. Something in his spirit seems to claw onto mine. But before I can spend another second locked in his eyes, Nailah flies over the gate, severing our connection.”
That ship! *shakes head* Urgh! Okay, there obviously was attraction right from the beginning, but seriously, the little glimpses of “for a criminal I’m supposed to kill, Zélie actually looks hot” and “Inan is an obedient sexy bastard that wants to kill me” certainly didn’t prepare me for the fact that they made a 180 degree turn and became a ship all of a sudden. I’m saying this with all due respect but: WTF?!!! Inan’s powers show him Zélie’s pain and he understands everything? Yah, right. Totally relatable! It’s not like Inan was intent on killing her for half of the book and that they hated each other with a fierce passion. NAH! Oh wait, it WAS exactly like that! *rolls eyes* I can live with insta-love if it’s done well, but this was “INSTA love” (emphasis on “insta”) and I’m not okay with that. I like Zélie’s character and I like Inan’s character but I don’t like their ship?! Maybe I would have liked it if things would have gone more slowly, but the way it happened I just can’t… Well, I just can’t, you feel me? >_<
”Liar,” he decides. “You’re just trying to get into my head.”
“No, little prince. It’s you who’s gotten into mine.”
A smile spreads on my lips, one that’s coming more and more often in her presence. “You rather enjoy insulting me, don’t you?”
“It’s almost as satisfying as beating you with my staff.”
Amari & Tzain:
Tzain smiles, and it softens up every hard line in his face. “You’re not so quiet yourself, Princess. The way you snore, I should’ve called you the Lionaire this whole time.”
And here we go with another ship I don’t want to board. *lol* This felt so damn forced I can’t even. It’s like Tomi Adeyemi decided that she needed another couple and that those two would do. But just because they are two of the MCs and have the commonality that they don’t have any powers they don’t automatically have to become a ship! It’s just not working, especially because Amari is still in mourning for Binta. If you ask me they were definitely more than just friends and if anything I want to see Amari with Zélie which brings me to my unofficial ship of this book.
Amari & Zélie:
”I wipe away the remainder of her tears and place my hand on her cheek. I couldn’t be there for Binta, yet being with Zélie, I feel the hole in my heart closing. Binta would’ve told me to be brave. With Zélie, I already am.”
Now this is finally a ship I would board without a second thought or hesitation! XD Those two had chemistry and slowly but gradually became friends and grew on each other. They could be an amazing ship and I would totally support it. As for the probability: It was never explicitly mentioned but I’m pretty sure that Amari is bi. The way she mourned for Binta and the little glimpses we got of their relationship kind of gave me the impression that they were more than just friends and actually loved each other. Of course I could be wrong but I don’t think that I am. So from Amari’s POV it definitely would be possible. Zélie? I don’t know… Adeyemi focused too much on the male MC of the story so I doubt that Zélie is bi. Still, I’m curious to find out how the relationship between Amari and Zélie is going to develop and I’m definitely ready to read about it in book two. 😉
“Children of Blood and Bone” was a new and refreshing approach in the YA and fantasy genre. I might have had some issues with the execution but in general I really enjoyed reading Zélie’s story. So all told this makes 3,5 paws rounded up to four. I’m convinced there is a lot of potential and room for improvement so I’m really looking forward to read the sequel “Children of Virtue and Vengeance”.
And last but not least I want to thank the lovely Uzma for reading this book with me! It was a great buddy read and I hope there are even more to come! ❤ Maybe we could even go for the second book once it finally hits the stores? 😉 I’d definitely be up for another round. XD