A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Contains elements based on West African mythology. Themes include genocide, civil rights, the process of liberation.
People can combat discrimination through collective action. It is possible to treat your enemies with compassion.
Positive Role Models
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 & Scariness
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
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of the main characters are attracted to each other, and two individuals indulge in passionate kissing.
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Swearing is infrequent, limited mostly to "dammit" and a few uses of "damn," "hell," and "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink "malt" at a celebration. One adult character smokes.
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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."
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.