Howdy my pizzazz partiers!
I was going to do this as a YouTube video but wanted to do the notes on it first and ended up writing in continuous prose instead of shorthand so I’m going to post it instead. I may still do a video too if I feels like it.
Alas! Here is my small dialogue on Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, please do leave feedback and comments xo
The background is that the fairer skinned and magic less people (kosidán)have the upper hand in society. Whereas the dark-skinned people are the Maji. Some possess magic and some don’t – I think this is due to there being Kosidan blood mixed in and the whole way genetics work etc. The main theme in this time slot is that the Maji are an oppressed people and the Kosidan are the oppressors due to an something that had happened years ago where some Maji killed King Saran’s first family (there had been issues running for long before that though. And there was a time that Maji had the upper hand in society – we wuz kangs rhetoric)
The main thing is that Zelie, the mainest of the main characters, go on a journey – both literally, spiritually and in her own character, to restore magic and stop the genocide and maltreatment of Maji in general. She encounters forbidden love (my fave kind), friendship and forgiveness.
There are a LOT of ups and downs as you learn to love characters then Tomi kills them or you feel Zelie’s pain as Tomi writes beautifully how Zelie felt toward her mothers death – I think I read this around the time the George Floyd was murdered so it was like reading real life stuff but with magic and love involved. We get a peak into the royal family and see what the life of an oppressed oppressor (Prince Inan and Princess Amari) is like.
The effects of their dads poor parenting skills are very interesting. We see that Inan wants to please his dad and follow his steps as an assertive King but has issues with his own identity because of it. Amari doesn’t agree with anything her family stands for as her best friend, who was also the maji maid and got killed, so she decides to run away with a scroll that would help restore the magic to Nigeria. Later on in the book we see her wanting to be a fair queen but her naive optimism towards her brother and his own issues causes bumps in the journey to the end goal
The whole book is a journey to restoration of magic and the end of Maji oppression and they do manage achieve one thing, but not the other so we see what that looks like in book two (Children of Virtue and Vengeance).
And girl it is a MESS.
Apart from more forbidden love, lots of arguments and journeys deeper into secondary characters, it’s like everything gets worse before it gets better in terms of the main goal. We also see how Nigerian (maybe even all ethnics) mothers baby their sons too which, although it was in a really bad circumstance, I found endearing to read about because I see it in real life.
At the end of book two we see things may take ANOTHER turn of unfortunate events. I won’t talk much on that but I will say that its a good read and I eagerly wait until book 3
If I had to round up the themes I’d say its colourism on the surface but symbolic of racism and prejudice, its police brutality and complete abuse of power, its chauvinistic nepotism, catalytic paraigboism and shows how the state of fictional Nigeria waLLOWS- sorry.
I almost forgot to mention that the Yoruba language was basically extinguished and only the ones that were really in touch with their magic or were knowledgable about it were able to speak it, which I think is symbolic of the Biafran war and how (correct me if I’m wrong) the Igbo dialect started to disappear after that tragedy but also symbolic of how identity of African heritage in general was lost during the transatlantic slave trade.
The book actually gave me Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes in the way the skeleton of the book is framed – the whole journey of self while being chased by the opps who end up becoming somewhat frenemies etc.
They’re really good books ok, I absolutely shall re-read when she’s about to release book 3.
If you’re funny about magic and African spirituality etc, get over it and read the book to get an idea of some real world perspectives on social justice creatively put into this story along with the other fluffy things that come with life like love and friendship.