Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Orisha series. This is Adeyemi’s first published novel, which is one of the things that makes it so remarkable because it is sooo good! The story is set in a fantasy world where big cats grow large enough to be ridden and magic abounds, though it is being suppressed by the rulers of the kingdom who wish to eradicate magic users (maji) out of fear.

Maji are gifted with special talents that let them do things like control fire and summon waves. Zelie’s mother was a Reaper, a maji who could call forth the souls of the dead. Zelie, too, has that particular gift. Though magic has been all but erased from the world, Zelie finds herself with a chance to bring it back. But, to do so, she has to outwit the crown prince who chases her and her companions in an attempt to ensure they cannot reignite the world’s magic.

Adeyemi was inspired to write Children of Blood and Bone in part by the Black Lives Matter movement. Through the book, she explores themes of race, social justice, and gender roles. Adeyemi describes the novel as “an allegory for the modern black experience.”

Now, full disclosure, I didn’t read the book – I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla. While I’m sure reading the book is great, listening to it was amazing! The narrator, Bahni Turpin, lends a feeling of authenticity to the novel, set in a West African inspired world, through her beautiful accent. She does an excellent job of conveying the emotions of the characters through inflection. In fact, her voice work is so good that Children of Blood and Bone won the 2019 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year.

You can read Children of Blood and Bone as an ebook using the Libby app or Overdrive, or listen to it on the Hoopla app.

To learn more about Tomi Adeyemi and read an interview with the author, check out this article on goodreads.