Isn’t it so satisfying to find a book that looks fabulous, seems interesting, and actually IS insanely good?
It’s one of the best feelings in the world.
I will admit that I went into CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE with high expectations. How could I not have? It’s been hyped quite strongly, the synopsis sounds like a challenge, and high fantasy is my favorite genre and the one I judge the harshest. There are a lot of good fantasies out there, so CoBaB (I just looove how that acronyms) had expectations to live up to, and a reader to satisfy.
I must say, I enjoyed this immensely.
One of the aspects that stand out is the super-detailed world-building. I’m not sure if the final edition will have a map, but the settings were described so fluently, so effortlessly (and without any info-dumps, may I add. *cough*TomiAdeyemiIsAMasterWriter*cough*) that a map was simply not necessary. I could truly see all the places that the characters were going, and it’s extremely rare that I find this feasible without a printed map to guide me. In short? I’m impressed. Much-ly.
Zelie, Amari, and Tzain made a delightful trio. I love fabulous squad dynamics, okay? I love ’em. Zelie is the ‘main’ main character, the one who starts us off, and I liked her POV, I did. Amari is the ‘rogue princess’, a softie who can wield a sword, defy her father, and still be soft-spoken and kind. Amari was my absolute favorite in this, honestly. And the last narrator is Inan, Amari’s brother, who embodies the whole ‘nature-vs-nurture’ conflict, and all that entails. He and Zelie had a Nina/Matthias-style relationship, and that’s all I’ll say about that.
The pacing was marvelous, marvelous, marvelous. Tightly-packed, fast-paced, one action sequence after another after another. I love this. Yes, characters had ample time to be developed, and scenes were lushly described, and yet this never happened at the expense of the pacing. This is undoubetly the trickiest part of any book, and the fact that it was handled this professionally, and in a debut (!!) at that, is fascinating. We start off with adrenaline pumping and end the same way, making a 500-ish page beast of a book go much faster.
So why the missing star? This may be a case of me being overly nit-picky (I warned you about me and high fantasy!), but because three characters all narrated in 1st person, I found the three voices a bit too similar to each other. There were times were I really need to flip back to the opening chapter page and double-check the name at the top. Again: I may be nit-picky, and this may never be an issue for you, but I pay really close attention to characters, and I couldn’t help but notice.
But all in all? Guys, this was a monster of a book. I devoured this and am still wanting more (that cliffhanger! *shakes fist*). I love this, I do, and you bet I’ll be buying myself a finished copy when this releases in March.
Thank you, Henry Holt, for the ARC!