Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pulling Magic into the Light a Quest to Restore a Powerful Force to the World

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pulling Magic into the Light a Quest to Restore a Powerful Force to the World

Article excerpt

"As long as we don't have magic, they will never treat us with respect. They need to know we can hit them back. If they burn our homes, we burn theirs too."

These are the words Zélie's father, Baba, shares with her moments before she sets off on a fantastical journey across the land of Orïsha. Tomi Adeyemi's debut novel, "Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha)," puts us in the shoes of Zélie, Amari and Amari's brother, Inan, each of whom has a unique relationship with magic.

Zélie -an Orïshan with magic potential known as a "divîner" -saw magic stripped away from her people, resulting in the death of her mother and ultimately the oppression of all divîners.

Amari's only exposure to magic came from her best friend and servant, and for most of her life, she remained ignorant of the atrocities committed by her father, the King of Orïsha. Inan, on the other hand, had always embraced his father's hatred for magic and constantly works for his approval.

After a cataclysmic event in Orïsha known as "The Raid," magic was thought to be lost forever -that is until the discovery of three mysterious objects seems to be bringing it back in sparks.

The gods believe that Zélie is the one who can fan those sparks into a flame, but she can't do it alone. Amari must turn her back on everything she knows and join Zélie -along with Zélie's brother, Tzain -to travel across Orïsha, find the three objects and bring magic back once and for all. However, Inan is hot on their trail, and he'll do anything to stop them.

"Children of Blood and Bone's" world of Orïsha is both inconceivable yet uncomfortably familiar in many ways.

A product of West African culture, mythology and well-known fantasy tropes, Orïsha is plagued by issues similar to those in our own world; those with magic heritage exist on the margins of society and must live under the rule of a tyrannical monarch.

Through three alternating narrators - Zélie, Amari and Inan - Ms. Adeyemi navigates the dangerous and often complicated dynamics of privilege and power with wit and nuance. …

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