Big Book alert. Children of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adyemi (March 2018, Henry Holt)
I like big books and I cannot lie.
This one is a 600 page big book.
I am stating that because as my nerd book friends, you will understand that I could not put this book down. Not figuratively. Literally.
I live in fear of running out of stuff to read. Like on an airplane. Despite having at least 20 e-galleys on my Ipad, on my recent trip to Indian Wells California to speak at the EBMA , I dragged this new ARC (Advanced Reading Copy or since I am old, I usually refer to them as galleys) along.
I adore galleys. Reading a book before anyone else is the greatest thrill. I love reading the new Katherine Paterson before anyone else’s opinion hits the airwaves, the internet, the NYTimes Book Review. If there was one reason to become a reviewer, it was not to be of service to the profession. It was getting to read the book first.
So there I am in sunny California, obsessively tweaking our panel’s power point in the conference hotel lobby where the internet was strongest. No going into the pool for me. I’ve got work to do. And then I have other work to do (U of M work emails and such) and then I have sleeping to do because of the time change.
The next day, I did go wander the the room where the Wholesalers and Publishers were having their one-on- one meetings.There are tables set up with the publisher’s catalogs and a few select titles. And there I saw MY Book, MY galley on a table. And felt very smart that I dragged it with me and as soon as I get a little free time, I am going to start it. Obviously a big book not just in size.
I also picked up Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. (April, 2018, Balzar and Bray.) I knew nothing about it except that the author Ireland graduated from the Hamline MFA in Creative Writing program last year and that she was a fierce advocate for her work and that of others. Also, I was attracted to the cover. (I am that shallow.)
Our panel of librarians and selectors was asked about “discoverability.” How do we discover new authors, illustrators, and titles amongst the thousands published each year? There was an agreement that the ARCs were important. And I waved the one that I had just picked up in the room next door. (I didn’t ask permission but there was a stack of copies.That’s okay right?)
Okay, Where Was I?
Oh, yeah. So the panels were over. The last group breakfast eaten. The books had been packed to be shipped home. And now I am on vacation. I start reading. And read and read and read. I read at our meals. I read at the spa (The Spring at Desert Hot Springs)
I read while the sun rose while soaking in a mineral hot spring (104 degrees, 170 degrees form the source)
I read leaning against the side of the courtyard pool.
When the sun got too high, I moved to an indoor soaking pool.
I read at all our meals. I did not join any activities. I’d rather be reading.
I had about 130 pages left when the Vikings were playing some other team and Mr. Von Drasek was trying to explain why something amazing is going on in something called overtime and something about the Super Bowl and I moved to another chaise out of hearing distance and read by the dim light of a decorative sconce.
That’s when I realized that by the fire pit might provide more light.
The Vikings won in some kind of miracle and the husband wanted to provide a play by play. (for more go here)
No really. What part of I AM READING, didn’t he understand?
Back to the Book
And this is what happens to the galley that was never put down.
What can I tell you?
Zélie Adebola, the protaginist, is of an underclass of people who were once powerful magicians who could harness the tide, create life, heal and repair the sick and suffering. Those who had had those wondrous gifts were called the Magi. They were honored amongst their people. Songs were sung and stories were told.
Then the magic disappeared and the King’s soldiers slaughtered all of the adults who had the visible markings of the gift of magic, white hair.
Teenager Zélie chafed under the brutal actions of the monarchy and the cruelty of those who carried out their wishes including the continued torture of those who showed signs of the Magi heritage. She became embroiled in a conspiracy to bring back the magic and to bring down the oppressive government and free her people.
Zélie is joined on her quest by her non-magical, charming, athletic brother, and a renegade princess determined to right the wrongs of her father. The band of fugitives/heroes is hunted by the Crown Prince who is haunted by his own secrets.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner- Fast action, complicated characters, intrigue.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- World building, the rising of the oppressed with a reluctant heroine to save them.
Did I mention that I couldn’t put it down. Unputdownable. Is that even a word?
Tomi Adyemi from her website
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 4,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.
Her debut West African YA Fantasy novel is CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE (Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan). The CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE movie is in development at Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions with Karen Rosenfelt and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight, Maze Runner, The Fault In Our Stars) producing it.
It really was the best vacation ever. Lots of hot water to sit in and a big fat book that was a page-turner. More please.