Finished Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“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.”
As a rule, I am not a huge fan of fantasy. I like things that are real and situations that could really happen. But more than that? I like great stories. And because of that, I am a huge, HUGE fan of this book.
And yes, obviously this is rooted in social justice. In the author’s note, Tomi Adeyemi asks us to care as much about Philando Castile’s death as we do about fictional characters’. This story is incredibly plausible because, while majii aren’t real, we see people killed by a system that’s theoretically in place to protect them on a regular basis. We don’t see discrimination rooted in hair color, but we see police called because “the wrong people” were barbecuing in a park.
This book is fantasy but it’s also a reality we see every day.
An Entertainment Weekly article said this is Black Panther with magic and compared Tomi Adeyemi to JK Rowling. These are bold statements, but they’re deserved. This is the kind of book that can shake the world.
I am in love with it and I cannot wait for the sequel. (Out just before my birthday next year.) You need this book; we all need this book.