DISCLAIMER: I feel like I need to include this because I have been conflicted about how to write this review and convey my opinions clearly and respectfully. There is a lot of discussion in the book community about rating books with diversity low for being “unoriginal” or “cliche” because while these stories may have been told before, they have not been told with diverse characters or characters of color. So I thought I would share my opinion as a Woman of Color on this. There are some parts of this argument I agree with and some I do not. I DO NOT agree with giving bad reviews just because a book is cliche in general. By bad, I mean 2 stars as I have heard some people were voting books just for being cliche. Personally, 2 stars is a hateful rating. If you are rating a book 2 stars its because it was very badly written or you low-key hated it for some reason. Everyone has their own rating system but when you are rating books on Goodreads or Amazon, you are actually influencing the overall rating of a book with a 2 star rating which can affect how people view the book and decide whether to pick it up. While you may not have enjoyed it because it was cliche, Other people might not have read that style of book before, meaning it would not be a cliche to them. Also, as the case with books with diverse characters, someone seeing their likeness in a style of book they like might mean the world to them! But your 2-star ratings may steer them away from a well-written book just because its not original TO YOU. Do not forget that not everyone has read that book in 100 different styles, some people are new to reading. And Goodreads is for the benefit of other readers. Feel free to give a book with diversity 2 stars if it’s crappy writing. But don’t vote it low because you’ve read that style of book before and you think it needs to prove itself to you MORE than the 99 previous iterations that didn’t have diversity had to.
HOWEVER, I also don’t agree with rating up a book just because it now has characters of color. My average rating is a 4. Even if I have read a book just like that 100 times before, if it is written just as well, That book is getting a 4! However, In this case, I did not find the book measured up to what I am used to. And having characters that looked like me, did not make it more enjoyable to me so that’s what caused a conflict. Are people going to hate me because I didn’t rate this book as high as it has been hyped? IDK. But I want to say, I didn’t hate this book. I enjoyed it. But it didn’t suck me in like other books, and I just found that every element of the story was just a little bit under my 4-star standard. So that is where we get into my review!
SPOILER ALERT: THIS REVIEW MIGHT HAVE MINOR SPOILERS.
Title: Children of Blood and Bones
Series: Legacy of Orisha (#1)
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
My Rating: 3 stars!
Characters: 3/5 stars! Okay, so if you read some of my reviews, you might realize, characters are my favorite part of the book. Everything else can be crap about the books, but if I love the characters, I will read about them painting a wall! I didn’t really love these characters. They didn’t draw me in. They were “EH” for me. Main character Zelie, I didn’t find that compelling as the main character. I don’t even have much to say about her because she didn’t make an impression on me. She wasn’t super annoying so that was a plus but…. Tzain, her brother, annoyed me the entire book. He was both overprotective but also a jerk to his sister. He blamed her for things for no reason, he was super protective but then abandoned her for no reason, slut-shamed her a lot, when he wasn’t being that much better. I didn’t like him, this book probably could have been just as good if the adventure was just Zelie and Amari. Speaking of Amari, She was practically useless until the end. Maybe she becomes a better character in the next book but in this one, her character was not only useless but boring. I didn’t care about her either. And the last main character, Inan, the sort of villain? He wasn’t compelling as a villain and he wasn’t convincing as a love interest. He was annoying and nothing made him attractive or swoon-worthy for me and I am thirsty for a hot bad boy love interest! Again, I didn’t hate any of them (except maybe Tzain) but none of them are more than “EH!” to me.
Setting: 3.5/5 stars! This one is still kind of “EH” but a little bit better! I don’t think the worldbuilding was that great but more than that, the descriptions of areas they were at didn’t captivate me. Not every place has to be an amazing wonderland but I just didn’t care for the setting.
Plot: 3.5/5 stars! Okay, so the plot wasn’t bad. As I said, nothing about this book is bad. I was buddy reading this and it kept me hype about the book but after I finished it I realized I hadn’t enjoyed it as much as I usually enjoy a book with this kind of plot. It kept me entertained! But I wouldn’t say the plot was touching 4 stars. I felt in some parts it was kind of choppy and didn’t make sense. A character would do something for no reason to advance the plot or like some scenes I felt could have been better. I just didn’t like the writing. It didn’t feel fully developed to me. I don’t want to patronize the writer by saying “Well it is their debut novel” but I have read ALOT of debuts this year and a lot of them were beautifully written and just felt complete and amazing and I didn’t get that from this book.
Relationships: I almost want to rate this 2/5 but I will rate it a 3! From the beginning, I hated Zelie and Tzain’s relationship. He was a mean brother. I wasn’t convinced by Tzain or Amelie’s relationship, there was NOTHING there and no reason for it to have started. Zelie hated Amari for most of the book because she was a princess and even after she stopped hating her, there was nothing to call a friendship or anything. And the worst relationship of all! Zelie and Inan. Nothing there. NOTHING. Not at one point did I think their relationship was interesting or good. I LOVE enemy to lovers tropes. TRUST ME, I do. But this…wasn’t it. Maybe it was because I didn’t really like either of them to begin with and especially didn’t find Inan love interest material but…. It was weird and then how the relationship ended up at the end of the book was stupid. It was a “shocking twist!” but it made no sense to me and I felt it was a waste to make the book more interesting because by that point it was kind of boring and dragging on.
Cover (Not factored into final rating): 5/5 of course!
Like it? Love it? Hate it? Liked it, kinda. The reason I usually wait a little while before reviewing a book is that I can get caught up in hype of the book and my expectations for it being amazing and then pushing myself to finish the book can all influence my review. I like to take a moment and decide “Did I actually love it that much or am I in a post-book haze?” “Was it actually that good?” I felt that buddy reading this book made me want to love it a lot more than I did.
Critiques? Disappointments? I think I have said enough haha..
Conclusion: As I was writing this, I realized a lot more about how I really felt about this book. Namely, it was “Eh!” It was easy to get through, mostly because there wasn’t that much excitement there. We read it at a steady pace of 5 chapters a day. It was easy to get through but also very easy to put down. The only thing keeping me picking it up was that I was buddy reading it. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I have reading other books like it. Like I said, It isn’t that its a basic YA book, its that it is basic while being a little bit worse in every category I rate books on. Every part of this book was a bit “Meh!” to me.
Should you read it?
I would still suggest anybody interested in the book to still read it! While I didn’t like it, I didn’t think it was bad just not to my liking! You might very well rate it all 5s in every category you rate a book by!
In general, I feel like my review of this book is an unpopular opinion. And even if it were a popular opinion, that should never stop you from trying out or enjoying a book you are interested in.
I liked that the characters were dark skin as we don’t often get that but to me, that doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a book. It’s just nice to know that every leading lady and man doesn’t have to be white. I could be a leading lady, you could be a lead character! We could all see ourselves as a hero/villain/love interest, etc And that’s amazing. Please keep the diverse books coming! Let’s just try not to attack people for not liking them as much as you did. Okay?
Agree? Disagree? Tell me what you thought of Children of Blood and Bone! Are you going to read the sequel coming out next year? I haven’t decided yet, I want to give it a chance to excite me but I have so many books I need to read already.
Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!