unpopular opinion in 1…2…3….
While I’m no longer an avid YA fan, I still do like to check out the new YA titles. Reading the blurb, and the general hype, for Children of Blood and Bone I was so sure that I would too love it that I bough a hardback copy. The design of this book is gorgeous. The cover, the title, the map. Wow.
Sadly the actual content of this novel left me feeling rather…cold. While I do understand – and I am thankful for – what Tomi Adeyemi is trying to do, her story is loaded with YA tropes. The West African inspired setting was the only thing that spoke to me. The characters and plot were the same overused YA archetypes: oppressed magic people, special hot-temperated-acts-before-thinking kick-ass heroine, the naive princess, the angsty anti-hero (a wannabe Zuko/Kylo) and his villainous father.
That the three first-person povs sounded exactly like one another didn’t help. I tried to feel something for these characters, but I didn’t. I only felt something when Amari was recalling her friendship with Binta, but that was the only affecting and credible relationship in this novel. I grew tired of Zélie’s predictably petty attitude towards Amari, and the romance felt so forced and unbelievable that I ended up skimming large parts from Inan’s pov (who keeps referring to Zélie as ‘the girl’…so romantic). And of course Amari and Zélie’s brother have to be romantically involved too. How convenient!
The action-orientated storyline doesn’t allow much character development: a good old ‘hero’s journey’ where our protagonists encounter a number of obstacles that help her restore magic.
Racism, classism, culture clash, have been done before both in YA, ex. An Ember in the Ashes and The Winner’s Curse, and in adult fiction, anything by N.K. Jemisin, and I would recommend Children of Blood and Bone only to those who have are new to YA. Otherwise, well, you’ve probably read this before.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars