Children of Blood and Bone: Legacy of Orisha, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Children of Blood and Bone: Legacy of Orisha, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Young women aim to save magic in exciting African fantasy.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 26 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Contains elements based on West African mythology. Themes include genocide, civil rights, the process of liberation.

Positive Messages

People can combat discrimination through collective action. It is possible to treat your enemies with compassion.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zelie is focused on returning magic to her people. Although she sometimes doubts her own abilities, she never loses her passion for her campaign. Her brother Tzain is more focused on their immediate safety. Prince Inan is conflicted by his loyalty to the royal family and his understanding of their cruelty, and Princess Amari pledges her loyalty to her new friends and protectors.


Violence plays a large part in the story. Characters are stabbed, hanged, burned alive, and branded. Hundreds perish in scenes of warfare. 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


A couple of the main characters are attracted to each other, and two individuals indulge in passionate kissing.


Swearing is infrequent, limited mostly to "dammit" and a few uses of "damn," "hell," and "bastard."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink "malt" at a celebration. One adult character smokes.

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."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStudiousStudent April 10, 2018

One of the Best Books This Year

I loved this book so much. Everything about it was spot-on for me. The book itself is told from three perspectives: Zélie, Amari, and Inan. There is a lot of vi... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 11-year-old Written bymayabrennan April 16, 2021

Compelling wondrous plot with intense danger

This book and author are gems for young adult literature. The world Tomi Adeyemi builds has depths of danger, resistance, power, fear, and wonder that are rare... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byitsrainingpinne... January 28, 2021

A little violent but not too bad

Children of Blood and Bone is an amazing book with a great plot and characters. I’m a pretty avid reader, and this is one of my favorite books ever. It is a lit... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 20, 2019

Best. Book. EVER.

This book is SO good. Everything about it was (for me) awesome. This book had me on the edge of my seat as I zoomed through the pages to find out what was going... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate