“CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE” novel. Name the bestseller of 2018, by Tomi Adeyemi, a 27-year-old Nigerian-American writer-creator of the #1 novel of 2018, “Children of Blood and Bone”. it is a “black lives matter inspired fantasy novel” The seven-figure book advance and movie deal bestowed a year ago on a convergence of themes likely to appeal to a very wide audience. Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone” is the first volume of a projected trilogy newcomer to the thriving market of young-adult literature, where demands for a greater diversity of authorship and subject matter have lately been loud and clear. The Nigerian American writer isn’t a pioneer, though. Instead, her high-profile debut calls attention to an unheralded tradition. The creator of a mythical land called Orïsha, Adeyemi taps into a rich imaginative lineage as she weaves West African mythology into a bespoke world that resonates with our own.
“Children of Blood and Bone” also draws on a very different, realist approach that has claimed attention in mainstream young-adult fiction in the post-Ferguson era. Tales of individual trauma were already a 20th-century plot staple of the genre. In her 2017 bestseller, The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas highlights a socially engaged variation on that theme. Her novel, which has sold more than half a million copies, grapples with lives in a black community after a fatal shooting by a police officer. Adeyemi’s story calls to mind that plot arc as she intertwines the actions of her deities with the struggles of the characters known as Maji, who occupy the foreground. “Adorned with snow-white hair,” they are darker-skinned inhabitants of land populated entirely by people of color. Once upon a time, empowered by the spirits, the Maji were magic-wielders who literally presided over life and death, and commanded the fear and respect of Orïsha’s rulers. But as the novel starts, King Saran reigns over an empire in which skin color dictates status and power. The gentry is lighter-toned and obsessed with skin bleaching, and the maji have been reduced to serfdom and slavery. Often referred to as “maggots” and banned from speaking their sacred Yoruba language, the maji have been robbed of their magic and live in fear of genocide.
Adeyemi is aware that she is unspooling a transparent parable of oppression, as her protagonist, Zélie Adebola, fights against the erasure of her identity. After a series of mishaps connects her to the king’s daughter, Princess Amari, and to a mystical artifact stolen by the princess, Zélie manifests a newfound power: Not only can she access her own particular magical birthright as a maji the ability to commune with the dead but she is now galvanized to wield it in a crusade to topple the kingdom. In assigning Zélie the gift of drawing strength from the remembrance of the dead, Adeyemi taps into a capacity that has become so important for black protest today.
Adeyemi was born and raised in San Diego, California. Tomi Adeyemi graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature. She then went on to study African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. Adeyemi” personal website and blog where she shares her writing along with tips and techniques for the craft were listed as one of the best 101 websites for writers by Writer’s Digest