‘’In the beginning, Orisha was a land where the rare and sacred maji thrived. Each of the ten clans was gifted by the gods above and given a different power to land.’’
It is not every day that you encounter a book that lets you dive in a world of magic, with such intensity as Children of Blood and Bone. A story so beautifully written, that you forget this is not the real world and you are in a fantasy story. This is one of the books I wish I could keep reading it for the first time again and again.
When majis are born with white hair, it means that they are touched by the Gods. They are called Diviners, and when they celebrate their thirteenth birthday, they have the ability to use magic.
Zelie still remembers how Orisha used to have magic. Different clans existed, and they could all control different things: air, water, earth… But Zelie also remembers the night when everything went wrong. When the king and the army came and killed hundreds of people. Zelie remembers, like it was yesterday, how on that night they brutally killed her mother. The night when magic disappeared forever.
And when Zelie realises that she is one of the very few people that can still use magic, and return magic in Orisha, she goes on a quest with her brother. With the help of a princess that escapes the castle, she has to learn to control her magic powers, and also her feelings for an enemy she mustn’t trust.
‘’I longed for the day I would feel the magic of the dead in my bones, but right now all I can feel is an unnerving tingle in my veins.’’
The world is so well created, and the characters are all loveable and adorable. The magic story in this book is unique and I loved getting to know more about all clans, what they can do, and reading about people realising they have magic in themselves.
Zelie, as a character, is the protagonist, as all adventures are revolved around her, but the other characters are as much as important, if not in some cases, more important than her. She is a character that many of us can relate to. A person that has been denied the sole purpose of existing. A person that has suffered, because of other people’s choices. For Zelie, this was the denial of magic to her and her people, but for others it could be just anything. What I loved the most was the bravery that she showed, even though inside her she would be so scared. It felt as if fear itself made her to be brave. And I have felt that many times. Sometimes, you don’t really have a choice, but to be brave, no matter how scared you might be.
Then, we have Zelie’s brother, Tzain, who is always the more cautious one and tries to (unsuccessfully) keep Zelie out of trouble. He has so much love for Zelie in his heart and is always the one throwing himself out there to protect her. If I ever had a brother, I would wish for him to be Tzain. I couldn’t explain the love and connection they have together with Zelie. It’s so beautiful!
Then there is Amari, the princess that doesn’t agree with her father’s choices, and decides to follow her heart. I think I loved Amari the most out of all characters, as she was my true hero. Raised in a world of ruthless cruelty, and forced to do things she doesn’t want, her father, the king, always believes that she is weak, and incapable of defending herself and ruling a kingdom. And out there, with Zelie and Tzain, is where Amari finds her true self, and the moment she does is the best scene in this whole book, the beauty of a woman being so powerful, only because she was being belittled her whole life.
‘’It’s like seeing her for the first time: the human behind the maji. Fear embedded in the pain. Tragedy caused in Father’s name.’’
And in the end, we have Inan, the most controversial character in this book. The son of the king, and brother of Amari, dedicated to follow his father and rule the kingdom, but struggling between what is right and wrong. When he realises he has magic as well, he can’t confess, as his father kills those who have magic, but meeting Zelie, he is not so sure anymore of what really is happening in his kingdom, and has to make a decision on whose side he wants to be.
‘’The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known.’’
I loved how the story is focused on both worlds:
The world of Zelie and Tzain, where they live in small town with their father, they have to pay incredible amount of diviner tax, and the taxes get more and more expensive, and become impossible to be paid, so people have to go and do free labor for the king, never to be free again. They are faced with such unfairness and cruelty, but their families and the people in the village are sticking together to survive through everything.
And then we have the world of Amari and Inan, and the King. A world where magic is forbidden and all people that can use magic are being slaughtered. A world where being fierceless and cruel means that you are strong enough to lead a kingdom, and protect Orisha.
The only remark I have on this book were the acknowledgements. As much as I respect that story being told, and appreciate it with all my heart, I also really wished I haven’t read that part as it changed the story in the end for me, in a negative way. As I truly believe that every single person has the ability of magic in themselves. Every single person is powerful, and we all should be Diviners! And Inan having the ability himself proves my point on this as well.
A story about the battle of magic and friendships, a story about wins and losses, a world where magic lives in every single one of us. A world where we all belong. A masterpiece, this is. And a powerful one as well.