Zélie’s world, the kingdom of Orïsha, has been stripped of magic by the merciless King Saran, who ruthlessly tracked down and slaughtered magi throughout the land. Descendants of the magi–the diviners–now live a life on the margins, routinely terrorized by the authorities. Although her magic is dormant, Zélie can’t stand by and watch her people endure such abuse, and she resolves to fight. What she doesn’t know is that far across the kingdom, other forces have been set into motion, raising the possibility that magic could return and the diviners could awaken their own magical powers.
A series of horrifying events brings Zélie and her brother, Tzain, together with Princess Amari, who has escaped from the king and hopes to join their cause. This unlikely trio is pursued across the country by Amari’s formidable brother, Inan, who harbors a deadly secret of his own. If they hope to restore magic, Zélie and her group must track down three ancient artifacts, but time is running short, and Inan’s forces are drawing ever closer. Vicious battles, heartbreaking betrayal, and nail-biting tension combine to make an utterly unforgettable and thought-provoking story of epic proportions. This powerful book will fuel discussions about race, class, and injustice, making it both compelling and timely.
Narrator Bahni Turpin is no stranger to the Odyssey Award, having won the 2011 Odyssey Award for The True Meaning of Smekday and the 2018 Odyssey Award for The Hate U Give. In addition to these accolades, she has also won several Audie Awards and Earphones Awards. Winning a single Odyssey Award is a considerable achievement; winning two is truly remarkable. Is it possible that Children of Blood and Bone could result in a third award for this amazing narrator?
It’s a little early to start making predictions, but I think that this audiobook is a real contender for next year’s award. Turpin is completely in her element, conveying breathtaking passion and a phenomenal command of character voices, accents, and pitch. Zélie’s voice rings with purpose and determination, captivating listeners with its piercing authenticity. Songs and incantations thrum with power, and the deepest of emotions will resonate with all listeners. Turpin’s control of pacing and timing is outstanding, deftly maintaining exquisite tension and proving that she is a master storyteller of the highest rank.
This is a rather hefty audiobook, clocking in at just over 18 hours, but listeners will be sorry when the audio comes to an end. Honestly, it’s just so good that some listeners may want to start over again. If anyone ever asks if this book should be read or listened to, the answer is clear–listen, listen, listen! This commanding and intensely moving audiobook is not to be missed.
Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi, read by Bahni Turpin. 18 hours, 9 minutes. Macmillan Audio, 2018.