I'm not usually a reader of teen fiction or fantasy, but Tomi Adeyemi's debut novel Children of Blood and Bone thrilled and excited me. Built in a fantasy world where magic and mages have been exterminated by a brutal totalitarian king, one young woman named Zelie must go on a journey to find herself and restore magic to everyone. Accompanied by her brother Tzain and the princess Amari, Zelie faces numerous obstacles and challenges on her quest. These obstacles challenge her preconceptions as she forces others in the world to examine themselves. Adeyemi skillfully weaves a tale and world that are wholly engrossing. From the very first chapter, Adeyemi creates a world that is lived in. There is some extraordinary world building on display, and while there may be similarities to Avatar: The Last Airbender, Adeyemi makes something truly new by wrapping in heavy doses of modern symbolism. The undercurrents of racism, police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement are unmistakable, and placing these ideas inside a fantasy world gives them a new, fresh dynamic. The novel burns through a lot more plot than I expected, but I can't wait to see what Adeyemi does next.
Z?elie, her brother Tzain, and princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy.