Happy Monday! I feel like talking about books is the best way to begin the week, don’t you?
First, what I added to my “To Read” list last week:
Betty Shabazz, Surviving Malcolm X – Russell J. Rickford
Now for the meat & potatoes (though I’m currently limiting my meat to fish only. #thestruggleisreal)
Children of Blood and Bone is set up in a real but fictional Nigeria. It’s about the main character’s quest to bring magic back to her people, but it’s not Magical Realism by any means.
The main character, Zélie Adebola, is a divîner—the child of a Maji who has not yet come into her powers. Zélie’s mother was a Reaper, a maji who wielded power over the spirits of the dead, but her father and brother, Tzain, are Kosidán—common citizens who have no magical powers. Maji and divîners are characterized by their stark white hair, but kosidán have unassuming dark hair.
Under the rule of King Saran, who has a personal vendetta against maji, magic has been taken away. The Maji—including Zélie’s mother—have been murdered, and the artifacts that sustain magic have been destroyed so that divîner children can never develop their powers and become Maji—which typically happens around age thirteen. The divîner children are treated as the lowest caste of the population, and are referred to as “Maggots” by those in power. Kosidán parents and teachers, really anyone who houses or supports divîner children, are regularly and outrageously taxed by the monarchy.
When Zélie’s father almost drowns trying to catch fish (without her) to make enough money to pay the recently raised tax, she goes to the capital (Lagos) with her brother to sell a special fish in order to make money to pay the taxes. She goes inside the gates of the capital alone, makes enough money selling the fish to an arrogant noble to pay the taxes and last her little family for a while, and then finds herself in a bit of trouble on her way out. This trouble sparks her own powers as a Reaper and sends her on a quest to bring magic back to the people or lose it forever.
That’s all I’m giving you.
Children of Blood and Bone is a big book. Just north of 500 pages. However, it was a quick read. I read about 80% of the book in a day and a half. Granted, one of those days was a full day—I wasn’t feeling well and could only manage to lay out on the patio sofa and read. The story grabs you and moves you along.
Children of Blood and Bone is the kind of book you choose over your favorite TV drama. The characters, the emotions, the adventure, it’s all presented so well. And the place the story comes from…well you’ll just have to get to the end of it and find out. It’s a powerful notion for the people who need it most.
I was so pulled into this book that I felt like a piece of me was missing when it was over. A good book does that to you—leaves you full and empty simultaneously. I was spent, and it was beautiful, and when it ended I wanted more. The book did not come to a solid end. It ended well-enough, but left me with questions about what would happen next. There’s definitely room for another book to follow.
I’m so glad I put Children of Blood and Bone on my reading list! I think you will be too.