They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
Why I Read It
In total honesty, I wasn’t planning on ever reading this book.
The first time I heard about it was from Jimmy Fallon when he started his summer book club on his show. He gave descriptions of a few books and the audience was supposed to vote to choose which one we were all going to read for the summer along with him. I didn’t vote for this one. It just didn’t sound like my kind of thing at the time. But, of course, it won. I debated whether or not to buy the book anyway, just because I wanted to partake in the book club action. I’ve never done a book club, and it sounded fun. But I decided against it, because I didn’t want it to be a waste of money if I didn’t end up enjoying the book. (This was also long before I started my blog, so the idea of reading it and reviewing it wasn’t an option yet.)
The hype over this book was R E A L. Wow. It seems as if everyone who reads it loves it? So after many a trip to Target, where I would wander down the book aisle and pick this one up and look at it for a few minutes before putting it back and walking away, I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon and give it a shot. And boy am I glad I did.
This book is a treasure. Truly. I read the author’s note in the back before I started reading the book, so as I read it I could find moments where her message really came through. But it wasn’t done in an in-your-face way, where the whole book was quite literally just a reflection of today. It was done creatively, so you can still enjoy the actual story happening while learning from it and comparing. Which is the way I prefer to read. I think the story should come first, because without a good story people won’t want to read it and then the message will go nowhere.
The girls were my favorites, but I may be a bit biased in that regard. I want to be a warrior and a princess. They’re amazing, don’t fight me on this. Tzain and Inan pissed me off the entire time, because they’re dumb guys who don’t understand the oppression the girls get and Zélie gets for being who she is. It’s just such a real reflection of white men today, a lot of them failing to understand what it’s like to be oppressed in our society. Not only do they not get what it’s like to not be male, they don’t get what it’s like to not be a white male. Zélie has to point out to Tzain at least twice that he doesn’t actually understand what it’s like to be in her position. And I love how we slowly get to see Inan’s transformation as he starts to realize what it’s like to be oppressed the way Zélie is.
There’s not much I can say about this book without giving away spoilers, because there are so many??? So much happens in this book from the very beginning that I just don’t want to spoil any of it for anyone who hasn’t had a chance to read it.
BUT IT’S SO GOOD PLEASE JUST READ IT I HATE TRYING TO BE VAGUE.
Sorry. Ahem. Anyway.
The story is beautifully done, the details are amazing, and the magic is definitely my favorite part. It sounds so beautiful. Ugh. The entire time I read this I kept pausing to imagine what it would look like as a movie. The colors, the special effects, the beautiful people and the fact that there would be no white people included. I want a movie. I need a movie. But I need it to be done well. Like, perfectly.
Someone hire me to make this into a movie.
I would actually rate this higher if I gave myself the opportunity, but I have to stick my 5-scale. Also, I literally only noticed 1 grammatical error and that was because a quotation mark was missing in one spot. I normally don’t even bring up grammar in books because there is an annoying amount of errors in every book and I want to scream, but THIS ONE ONLY HAD LITERALLY 1 ERROR AND I FEEL LIKE I JUST NEED TO MENTION THAT BECAUSE IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY OKAY. Like yessssssss, please keep it up. I love that.
So the verdict here is: I love this book, I can’t wait for the sequel, I want to be a warrior princess, I hate men, I love magic, and you need to read this book too.