A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Children of Blood and Bone is a suspenseful, action-packed fantasy set in an alternate version of West Africa, as strong female characters aim to save and keep magic in their kingdom. There's quite a bit of violence in the story, with characters stabbed, hanged, burned alive, and branded. Some readers may be disturbed by scenes of violence between family members and a scene where a major character has the word MAGGOT carved into her flesh. There's some passionate kissing, and teens drink "malt" at a celebration. Swearing is light and limited to "damn," "dammit," "hell," and "bastard."
What's the story?
As CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE begins, Zelie Adebola remembers well the night magic disappeared, her mother was killed, and her people enslaved by the ruthless king. Eleven years later, it looks as if there's a new chance to rekindle magic. Three powerful artifacts seem to hold the key, but they must be used together before a deadline that will banish magic forever. Aided by her loyal brother Tzain, Zelie sets off on a quest to retrieve the artifacts, taking with her one member of the royal family while being pursued by another. By the time all the pieces of her plan are in place, Zelie will discover that magic is more dangerous and unpredictable than she ever imagined.
Is it any good?
This exciting fantasy offers a world full of danger and enchantment as well as vibrant characters with awesome potential. As the Black Panther movie has proved, there's a market for Africa-based superheroics, and this action-packed saga plays like a medieval West African version of the X-Men. Sometimes Children of Blood and Bone debut author Tomi Adeyemi's prose gets a little overwrought, especially during the many battle scenes, but given the high level of suspense, most readers are unlikely to notice. Zelie is a captivating protagonist, but the three other point-of-view characters add welcome alternative perspectives. The story ends with a twist, and readers will be eager for the publication of the next installment. The epic series represents a major commitment, but it's off to a powerful start.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Children of Blood and Bone uses African mythology to power an epic story for modern readers. Why do myth and folklore continue to speak to modern readers?
What role does violence play in Children of Blood and Bone? Is violence shown to be an effective method of change?
How is it possible to love a family member who does terrible things? How far does family loyalty extend in the face of genocide?
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