Now We Rise Blog Tour: 'Children of Blood and Bone' Review and Fancasting

March 13, 2018

Edition: Pan Macmillan Paperback
Release Date: March 13th, 2018
Pages: 525
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Received as an ARC from Pan Macmillan 

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and 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 the enemy.
Part of an incredible seven-figure book deal and with a film already in development, Tomi Adeyemi's highly anticipated debut YA fantasy novel, 'Children of Blood and Bone', has now officially been released to the public. No longer must we count off the days and pray to the gods for an earlier release, because IT'S FINALLY HERE! 

To celebrate the release of such a gem of a novel, I've been asked by the lovely team at Pan Macmillan Australia to participate in the 'Now We Rise Blog Tour' with a fun and somewhat non-traditional post. With a film adaptation in the works (which is actually beyond exciting because this is a book that just screams 'make me into a film'), we agreed that some fancasting was in order! But first, why should you even read 'Children of Blood and Bone', let alone care about potential casting choices? Have no fear, here are six non-negotiable reasons why 'Children of Blood and Bone' will no doubt knock your socks off!

> RICH AND EXTENSIVE WORLD BUILDING!!: I must admit, I tend to avoid fantasy novels. Why? Truth be told, they intimidate me! As a hardcore contemporary addict, I find entering brand new fantasy worlds quite daunting. Unless the systems, language, traditions, and landscapes of a fantasy world are spelt out in a way that's super easy for this fantasy newbie to visualise, then I find it difficult to fully immerse myself in the world building. For the first 60 or so pages of 'COBAB', I did have this issue. I felt like I needed a glossary to assist me (UPDATE: I FOUND ONE). However, once I let my walls down and paid closer attention, I had it down pat! In a novel that is over 500 pages, eventually, it becomes impossible to not only understand but find yourself lost in, the lavish world Adeyemi has created. It's going to translate fabulously on the big screen. Being a west-African inspired novel set in the fictional land of Orisha, the premise is original and utterly magic! I could spend ages in there. 

> DIVERSE REPRESENTATION: The entire cast of this novel is black! When have we ever seen an all-black character list in a Young Adult novel before? Not only does this provide much-needed representation, but it also allows the plot to feature extremely relevant issues related to race. Sure, it's a Young Adult fantasy, but the parallels it draws with the real world and it's current political climate, are blatantly obvious. Furthermore, not only is every single character black, but we had every shade up in there for once! So often, if an author feels "risky" enough to include a black character as a best friend or sidekick, they're either mixed or super light. Whilst any representation is good representation, such selective and limited representation presents a clear issue when darker black people are neglected and invisibilised in mainstream fiction.

> THE ACTION WAS ENDLESS, THERE WAS PLOT TWIST AFTER PLOT TWIST: Okay seriously, I lost count of how many plot twists were in 'COBAB'. Just when you thought you could possibly like chill for a second, Adeyemi whipped up something you least expected. This definitely keeps you on your toes, but makes you look insane to anybody else in the room who happens to see you freaking the heck out! 'COBAB' just isn't a book you can put down and enjoy slowly, it demands every single ounce of your attention and will never leave you in a dull moment. The pacing was as if I was running high speed on a treadmill, too fast to push the stop button without tripping. SO MANY EMOTIONS!

> MANY DARK THEMES ARE TACKLED WITH EMOTIONAL DEPTH: As mentioned earlier, lots of real and really important issues were explored in 'COBAB'. It's been described as a homage to Tomi’s Nigerian heritage and to the Black Lives Matter movement. It certainly wasn't just, 'let's return magic' or 'oh my goodness I can do magic'. The stakes were much higher than that. Through three different perspectives, 'COBAB' manages to primarily explore racially charged violence and the systemic power imbalances inherent to every society. Further themes explored include death, brutality, poverty, prison systems, inheritance and legacy, culture, history, and colourism - colourism is likely unheard of concept for most readers but is defined as 'prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group'. The level of angst in the novel felt appropriate and not at all over the top because the stakes really were sky high. I hope that readers will enjoy the magical elements of the novel without overlooking the lessons that can be learned from its commentary on race and power. 

> WRITTEN IN THREE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES: Although the lead protagonist is clearly our beloved Zélie Adebola, the story is also shared with royal siblings; Princess Amara and Prince Inan. Each voice was distinctive, offering a valuable yet different perspective. I didn't feel the urge to skip past anyone's chapter and I think the decision to split it between those three characters, was utilised brilliantly. Every chapter was beautifully written (I am in awe of this being a debut novel), and each character was multi-dimensional and achieved admirable character growth and development. I have a soft spot for Zélie because she is the epitome of a strong heroine, badass and courageous, whilst also being selfless and vulnerable. She wasn't afraid to take or give a helping hand when needed yet she also never hesitated to get down to business. However, each character was in their own right, badass, yet despite their heroism, you couldn't help sympathise with the heavy burdens on their shoulders. All three were beautifully fragile and flawed. Not even a fantasy could conceal their human qualities.

> AWESOME FAMILIAL AND ROMANTIC LOVE PORTRAYED: I'm not giving any spoilers away so I'll keep this quiet. But there is romance in this novel. Not the kind that gets in the way of the storyline or limits the badassery of the characters, but the kind that adds that little bit extra to the storyline without taking away from it. I was most certainly in favour, that's for sure! But more interesting than the romance was Adeyemi's portrayal of familial love, particularly between siblings. 'COBAB' forces us to consider what it's like to stand against your family's mission? To draw clear battle lines between you and the people you love, for the greater good. How can two people living in the same household, be so different? Contrastly, it also shows that loyalty in a family can know no bounds and is something to be treasured. PS. I am a sucker for protective older brothers and feisty younger sisters. Shoutout to Tzain, the true MVP.

Diamond White
Rome Flynn
Reign Edwards or Ajiona Alexus
Trevor Jackson

Terrence Howard

PS. In making these choices, I wanted to both be considerate of age and to honour the prescribed skin tones in the novel. Ideally, Zelie and Tzain would be played by darker actors, reflecting their social class in the story. However, given how predominately white and white-washed the acting industry is, I struggled to find dark-skinned young black actors for those two roles. I think that Diamond White and Rome Flynn would be super awesome options but I would love to see the film adaptation welcome some new black talent into Hollywood. 


  1. I've heard such wonderful things about this book! I'm happy to see you enjoyed it, too! I love that you give your characters faces at the end, lol.

    Do You Dog-ear?

  2. That casting Sunny is glorious! Terrence Howard would be perfect especially as King Saran, he just commands the screen doesn't he. This book absolutely blew me away, not only for the celebration of the West African mythology but the strength and depth of characters was phenomenal. I'm so stoked for book two! Absolutely brilliant review Sun, loved it to pieces! <3 <3 <3

  3. omg Terrence Howard. I'm having difficulty picturing it ONLY BECAUSE all I can think of is that meme where they make him say "mayne" for everything. And now I'm cracking myself up. Haha. Prince Inan though, I am 100% behind that. Yes indeed.

    I'm reading this one right now and I'm digging the three perspectives! I think my favorite one is Inan solely because I'm trash for a tortured prince and I can't wait for his character growth.



Thank for stopping by my small corner of the web, I hope you enjoyed your time here. Feel free to leave a comment, I love reading them. Sending you a thousand lovely days x

© A Sunny Spot. Design by FCD. Header using graphics from Freepik.