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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Book Depository
On Sunday night a random man in a bar asked my thoughts on the Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I referenced Edmund Wilson and said how no two people read the same book.
If you’re a fan of the Children of Blood and Bone, you probably don’t want to read further. My thoughts on the book are just that, my thoughts. I don’t want to ruin the delicious feeling you get from reading a book that you adore and I know a LOT of people adore this. I would hate anyone doing that to me. Here, watch a baby elephant learn to use its trunk instead.
Reading the Children of Blood and Bone gave me flashbacks to 2009 and James Cameron’s Avatar movie. I hold the same, unpopular, views on both. The Avatar movie was considered brilliant for the technology used in production (which was pretty amazing), and the “unique” storyline. It was, in essence, white people killing native populations to control land and people. I never understood what was so unique about the storyline. It’s Australia’s history, and I later learned, North American history, and still happens today. It’s also the storyline of many fantasy novels, including the Children of Blood and Bone.
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed reading the book. I just don’t understand the hype. I’m also feeling self-conscious writing this, wondering what did I miss. Jimmy Fallon made it his first ever book club read. Tomi’s author notes make reference to The Hate U Give and I bawled through that. They both have the aim of showing the unfair treatment of race. Maybe it’s the Children of Blood and Bone being fantasy (it uses Nigerian mythology as a base) why I didn’t feel the emotion. Maybe it’s white privilege. I don’t know.
The Avatar movie wasn’t the only other reference. Or even the only Avatar. It’s also Nickelodeon’s faux animé. Zuko was torn between winning his father’s regard and doing what’s right. Oops, that was Iman. The sidekick brother, the friendly beast that got them places. I missed Toph’s sass as they traveled along the hero’s journey. Amani was a sweet kid. I actually thought she was about eight years old until she hooked up with Zélie’s older brother. I think he was older.
I acknowledge I know the Harry Potter books so well it’s hard not to see similarities. But when some elements are nearly verbatim… I even took a photo at one stage. “For one of us to live, the other must die.” Then there was the King’s Cross chapter. In Children of Blood and Bone, I mean. It didn’t have a chapter title, and it was Zélie’s mother, not Dumbledore, but essentially the same.
Maybe it was all the hype that set falsely high expectations of the Children of Blood and Bone. It’s not a bad book. I did read all 525 pages and enjoyed them. Perhaps my expectations were too high.