Review: Children of Blood and Bone


Synopsis: “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 Zélia herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.”


This book was A M A Z I N G. The hype is REAL. Why? The author graduated from Harvard with an honors in English Lit. She was given a fellowship to study West-African mythology. This author knows her stuff. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this book because I wanted to wait for reviews until a few months later. Then I went to see Black Panther and I just needed more Afro-inspired stories. Reading Children of Blood and Bone took me right back.

“In the beginning, our Sky Mother created the heavens and the earth, bringing life to the vast darkness. On earth, Sky Mother created humans, her children of blood and bone.” 

In Children of Blood and Bone, we have the POV of three characters: Zélie, Amari, and Inan. Tomi Adeyemi effortlessly carries you through the story. I felt like I was flying while reading this book. From page one, I was immediately captivated. It didn’t take long for me to become absorbed into this world. The author doesn’t waste time trying to explain every detail of this world. She shows, not tells. The author relies more on action than in-depth explanations, so the reader is engaged with the story and characters immediately.

“Before today, magic didn’t have a face. Not beyond beggars’ tales and hushed undertones of servant’s stories.”

I cannot begin to summarize the dozens of things that happen, but in a vision Mama Agba sees Zélie, Tzain, and Amari on a journey together and it’s realized that they must reach a temple. Once they reach this temple they meet Lekah, who tells the group that they must have all three artifacts (the scroll, the sunstone, and a dagger) in order to perform a ritual that will bring magic back to Orisha. Zélie learns what the gods have destined for her and a series of events occur that change her life forever.


The Story 

The world of Orisha is so captivating. From the different cities/towns to the history and from the origin stories to the gods/goddesses—Tomi knows how to do world building. Furthermore, you may have Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes while reading this. After watching MCU’s Black Panther, I had to read something similar. While Black Panther focuses on Afro-futurism, Children of Blood and Bone focuses on ancient magic and folklore. Black Panther definitely had scenes in which magic was used, thus bridging the gap between magic and science. It’s not difficult to see the similarities between the two Afro-inspired stories

“We are children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue.”

Tomi Adeyemi does exactly everything I need to absolutely love a fantasy book. She includes important and telling dialogue. She doesn’t keep us inside the character’s stream of consciousness the whole time. She doesn’t keep the character’s in the same place. They are constantly in motion, therefore, the story stays in motion. They actually travel within the world that the author created. A lot of YA fantasy keeps their characters in one single place which makes me SNOOZE.

“I won’t let your father get away with what he’s done. I won’t let your ignorance silence my pain.”

Another thing I love about the author’s story were the relationships. I enjoyed how the female friendship developed. I also enjoyed seeing an actual sibling relationship. There is definitely a hate-to-love thing that happens and one insta-love pairing. I’m not sure how I feel about the romance. One of the things I liked about the Harry Potter series is that there was a guy-guy-girl friendship without it becoming a love triangle. J.K. Rowling didn’t immediately pair them off. It wasn’t until they were much older that Hermione and Ron actually develop something. As far as romance goes in this story, I would have preferred if the characters were all “just friends” a little longer.


The Characters

(Warning: The character summaries may contain mild spoilers)

Zélie Adebola, A maji: Zélie reminds me SO much like Arya Stark. She’s ill-tempered, hot-headed, impatient, and is who she is due to a parent dying at a young age. The gods have “chosen” her to save magic. While Zélie is the “chosen one”, she is still flawed. You can tell she really cares, but at the same time shuts people out and trusts few. It was not hard to get attached to Zélie because the author does an excellent job at giving her a character goal and desire that is easy to relate to.

“Nice to see a day of impending death hasn’t dampened your spirits.” 


Tzain Adebola, Brother to Zélie:  We don’t have Tzain’s POV, but he has an important role in the story. He is protective of his sister and cares deeply about his family. Unfortunately, at one point Tzain indirectly implies that Zélie is acting like a whore. I am NOT going to count this scene against the author and bring out pitchforks over it. It just made me dislike Tzain. He has some valid reasons to be angry, but it felt somewhat out of character for him to say that. I thought women in this world were more respected then that. Let me say this AGAIN: This scene did not take away from my experience. I just thought it was worth noting.

“I could screw everything up for the remainder of his days, yet Tzain would still die trying to keep me safe.” 


Amari, Princess of Lagos: She is a rogue princess who witnesses her best friend/servant die simply because she is a maji. On impulse, she escapes her castle to save magic. I do wish I understood why since she would have also been indoctrinated by her father to hate magic. Her call to action occurs after her friend is murdered, but I can’t imagine how everything would have stayed the same otherwise if she had not witnessed something so tragic. She may not have known exactly how horrible her father was. Amari seems timid at first, but she truly surprised me. She doesn’t have the overt strength that Zélie has. Hers is a quiet strength, which I love because I’m probably more of an Amari than a Zélie.

“I see the seeds of a warrior.”


 Inan, Prince of Lagos: I don’t know why we have Inan’s POV when he ultimately doesn’t change. You can see how conflicted is throughout the story. Duty before self is the mantra Inan abides by. On the orders of his father, the King, he must hunt down his sister and Zélie and kill magic no matter what the cost. I can’t go into too much detail, but I do like that Inan is an example of the kind of character who doesn’t just change overnight. This character definitely struggles with a lot, which made his character more layered. There’s plenty Inan does that I don’t agree with it, but his flaws make him more believable.

“Duty before self .”


Roen: He doesn’t show up until the second half of the story, but he plays an important role later on. He is one of my favorite characters because of his witty banter, surprising skill set, and isn’t so serious all the dang time. This character will make you laugh. I can’t wait to read more about him in the sequel.

“It’s not belief, love, it’s insurance.”


Okay, so the ending has a lot of people shook but I kind of both assumed and wondered about the situation surrounding the ending. There was nothing that indicated that it was out of the realm of possibility. I can’t say more than that. I just think it’s super cool and I can’t wait to be with these characters again! What actually made me cry was the Author’s Note at the very end.

I know people are skeptical when they see a book get so many rave reviews, but I have honestly tried to find major issues. Any issues I may have are minor and didn’t ruin my overall experience with this story. It would be nit-picking at this point. Children of Blood and Bone has the death count of A Game of Thrones (don’t get too attached), the camaraderie of Harry Potter, and the world-building of Lord of the Rings. There’s a mash up of all these elements, but still unlike anything I’ve read because there is no Euro-centric world here.

The underlying message of the Black Lives Matter movement exists within the story, a message of resistance to your oppressors. It even goes further than that because Tomi Adeyemi reminded us that when we mourn the characters who died, remember to mourn the mothers, fathers, and children taken away from their families due to police brutality in real life. The author talks about this in the Author’s Note and it resonated with me. Zélie, Amari, and Tzain are a symbol for bravery, courage, and the passion that we all need in order to rise.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Let’s Chat

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone yet? What did you think? If not, are you excited to read it? Who’s your favorite character, so far? I would love to hear your thoughts!


BLOG TOUR: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo | Playlist + GIVEAWAY!


**Thank you to HarperCollins International for giving me the opportunity to review this book and for providing an eArc. All my opinions are my own**


A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.


*If the playlist doesn’t stay embedded in my post, please click the external link.


Release Date: March 6, 2018 (TODAY!!!)

Poet X, told in verseis a moving story about a young Latina girl growing up in Harlem.  The novel is told from the perspective of Xiomara. Her character is instantly relatable within the first few pages. The character’s heart  bleeds into every word and poem. Xiomara is not your cookie cutter protagonist. She’s raw, real, and vulnerable.

“I just needed someone to help me escape / from all the silence.”

From the cover alone, you can tell this book, like its protagonist, is artistic. The novel itself is told in verse form. Throughout these pages, Xiomara expresses her feelings on womanhood, body image, religion, sexuality, and family. Let me put it this way: with Xiomara there’s no BS when she writes about her feelings.

Xiomara is a dreamer. She’s a girl whose mind lives in colors. Her story is as vibrant as her personality. Under her tough exterior is someone who is also vulnerable and yearning to be understood. She is also uncannily self-aware of herself for someone her age. While she does have doubts and longings, she’s perceptive of herself and the world around her.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve liked a character in YA as much as a I like Xiomara. She is always second-guessing herself and her wants.  Because of her upbringing, you see her mind battle with what is right and what is wrong.  She genuinely cares about the people around her, namely her twin whom she calls “Twin” (the reasons why are explained in the story). Twin is her opposite. He’s softer, quieter, smarter, and less confrontational. Naturally, Xiomara is protective over him.

One of the ongoing storylines is that Xiomara has been considering joining her teacher’s poetry slam club, but the meetings are held the same night as the Catholic Confirmation classes that her mom makes her go to. You can tell she feels like her life is divided, split in two between her duties and her desires.

“When I’m told girls / Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t. Shouldn’t / When I’m told / To wait. To stop. To obey / When I’m told not to be like / Delilah. Lot’s Wife. Eve.”

Womanhood and body image is prevalent theme. Because Xiomara’s body is curvier, her full-figure is something of a topic in her neighborhood. She receives attention from older men on the street. At one point, Xiomara is caught making out with a boy and her parents call her “cuero” which is slang for slut/ho.

Here’s an excerpt in which Xiomara talks about the unwanted attention:

“It happens when I wear shorts
It happens when I wear jeans
It happens when I stare at the ground
It happens when I stare ahead
It happens when I’m walking
It happens when I’m sitting
It happens when I’m on my phone. It simply never stops.”

It doesn’t help that she is slut-shamed by her own parents. You can feel the shame creeping in. Xiomara can’t help what her body looks like and she can’t help who she likes.  Her strict environment begins to crush her.

“I can’t fight today / Everything inside me feels beaten.”

I, too, grew up with a strict religious, immigrant Caribbean parents. My parents were pragmatic and realistic. Like Xiomara, I was a dreamer. I wanted to stretch my wings and test the limits.  I felt like if I ever spoke my mind, no one would understand. I have a thick binder full of poems and thoughts from my high school years. While I can’t speak for the Latinx experience, I definitely know what its like to live under religious immigrant parents. I wanted freedom. I wanted to be understood. I didn’t want to have to be strong. At fifteen, I wanted someone to fall apart on. That’s what parents are for, aren’t they?

I feel for Xiomara. It’s not hard to emphasize with her. She’s a strong character. Not in the sense that most people think of. She’s far from one dimensional. She wears her heart on her sleeve, but trusts few. She’s smart and curious about the world around her, but doesn’t believe in herself. Something about that dynamic made it easy to connect with her.

The form in which the story is told may lead some to believe the story lacks substance or complexity. This is far from true. If anything Poet X in verse form made the story even more phenomenal. It delivered the message in a medium that makes sense for both the character and the story. I doubt many authors could tackle telling such a remarkable and emotional story through a YA Contemporary in verse.

If I had to sum up Poet X in three words, I would say: impactful, feminist, powerful.

“…no one will ever take care of me but me.”

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars  

Find Poet X at these retailers: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

About the Author


ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.


***Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE for a chance to win!***

(This giveaway is sponsored by HarperCollins International. It runs from February 26th to March 26th. No purchase necessary. The winner must reply to email within 48 hours. Open internationally.)

Tour Schedule 

Date Blog
Week 1
February 26 Afire Pages – Author Guest Post | Top 5 Poetry Influences
February 27 In Tori Lex
February 28 Life of A Simple Reader
March 1 Stay BookishArt
March 2 The Clockwork BibliophileBook Look
Week 2
March 5 Pretty Little Memoirs
March 6 Through Prose Tinted PagesPlaylist
March 7 That Bookshelf Bitch
March 8 A Book and a Cup of CoffeeOn Latinx Rep in YA
March 9 Book Huntress’ World
Week 3
March 12 WOC ReadsAuthor Q&A
March 13 Descendant of Poseidon Reads
March 14 Dani Review ThingsFavorite Slam Poetry Performance
March 15 The Cursed BooksMood Board
March 16 Book Freak Revelations
*All blog tour stops contains a review.

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas


“The world will be saved and remade by the dreamers.”

Guys, I almost didn’t start this book. I almost DNF’ed this book. I’m just not a patient person. Reading a Sarah J. Maas book requires investment. First, I’m assuming you have at least read Queen of Shadows. I won’t mention major plot twists, but there will be some light spoilers. This review is incredibly difficult to condense because so many story lines, plots, and minor characters all come to the forefront and every small detail weaves together intricately to create a larger story.

Empire of Storms is almost 700 pages. I stopped at the 50% mark late last year because after an intense fighting scene, Aelin and Rowan decide to have a steamy, love making scene on the beach… and right after Aelin almost destroyed an island full of people. Yes, really. I read the ACOTAR series and there were so many steamy scenes, so I was a bit tired of reading about them in this series. Because of this I decided to put Empire of Storms down and I returned to it last month.

If only I had waited just a few more chapters because this book hits the ground running in Part II. I’m actually glad I waited to get back to it because I had to emotionally process the second half.

No crown adorned her head, for all who breathed, even the dead who slumbered, would know her for what she was. Dreams and nightmares given form; the dark face of the moon.”

Firstly, I feel that Empire of Storms is way better written then her previous books in the series. The only other book in the series I rated 5 out of 5 stars is the second one, Crown of Midnight. I almost stopped having love for this series after Queen of Shadows I didn’t think the series could get better (QoS, while entertaining, felt a bit sloppy to me and the ending a bit underwhelming).

Empire of Storms starts of with Aelin returning to Terrasen but unable to claim her title as Queen of Terrasen. She waltzes into Terrasen expecting to take back her kingdom easily. Nope. She must set out to prove herself as worthy to ascend the throne. At the same time, she is on a mission to find the wyrdkeys that are the solution to saving her world. From Terrasen to Skull’s Bay to Eyllwe to the Stone Marshes…. Aelin’s journey is not without its challenges.

Would that be the cost? Not just in blood shed, but in dreams yielded? To be a princess eternal, but never a queen?”

Every time I think I’m tired of the Throne of Glass series, SJM does something to surprise me! While her books are incredibly action-packed, I find that sometimes the story is slower in the beginning but picks up by the second half. SJM takes her time with world-building and bringing plot points together. PART TWO had me shook. I don’t even think I could summarize or review all of that.

I will say that, as usual, I enjoyed each and every character. Ultimately, that is why I continue this series. Say what you will about the author, but she writes some of the best characters. I didn’t vibe with Manon early on, but I can’t even begin to describe my love for her as a secondary character. She deserves her own book series. It was interesting to see the characters from The Assassin’s Blade make an appearance even though I didn’t read the prequel novella. You don’t have to read the prequel to read Empire of Storms, but I definitely recommend it.

An interesting aspect to this book is that it seems that every character that is supposed to be the enemy of Aelin ends up assisting her. Every single character bent on murdering her and obliterating her from existence wants to fall to her feet and follow her lead. Even to the point that some characters basically desert their own leaders or cause to help Aelin. It shows that whatever all their differences may be, there is a much bigger problem. A problem so monumental that they’d be willing to follow Aelin into the fire.

You will find…that one does not deal with Celaena Sardothien. One survives her.”

My main complaint is that the author feels like she always has to have ships… as in relationships. There are SO many pairings in this story. Examples: Manon/Dorian, Lysandra/Aedion, and even Elide/Lorcan. The Elide/Lorcan thing is just so weird. Another complaint is that Elide, while an important character, didn’t need her own POV. I think that’s what made the story feel prolonged for no good reason. The reason why I’m okay with it is because it makes the ToG universe feel more expanded, but…it still felt like filler.  I also have felt since Queen of Shadows, that some of her material is rubbing off from ACOTAR. I don’t know if that’s a complaint, but it’s something of note. It’s subtle, but  I noticed some similarities. It’s arguable that it’s just part of the author’s signature though.

Since there are SO many players at large, I plan to reread the entire series because some very minor characters from previous books end up becoming really important later. I have a terrible memory, so I often scramble trying to keep up with every character.

Fire against darkness makes for a better story.”


Final Thoughts

I didn’t see that ending coming AT all. I can’t begin to explain it. I was pretty stunned when I read it. Everything, everything was worth this book. Sarah J. Maas has won me over again at last. I still need to read Tower of Dawn, but the final book (releasing in October this year) better be the best damn thing I’ve ever read. There’s nothing like a shitty last book to ruin a series.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars