The Book ✯✯✯✯✯
Very rarely do I come across a debut fantasy novel that slows me down, forces me to take my time, and makes sure I still enjoy the ride. Even more rarely do I find that a hyped up book meets all expectations. Children of Blood and Bone does both of these things beautifully.
THrough Amari and Zelie's eyes, we get to view a very broken world. Every character described is described beautifully. I almost imagined being transported to an alternate Earth in a rich and populated alternate Africa. Zelie is part of the oppressed. She has magic, and she is working to bring magic back to others. Amari is the princess of the cruel and tyrannical king and I honestly loved her character arch more than Zelie's.
You see, Amari completely changed from being sheltered, beaten, and scared to being educated, conquering, and brave. She starts to fall in love, and she begins to realize she can make her own decisions and stand against her king. Zelie has pain. SO. MUCH. PAIN. And at one point we get a glimmer that she'll be able to see past it. But every time, some terrible thing comes along to resurface the pain and set her growth back again.
Thankfully these aren't the only fleshed out characters. The big baddie is depicted as a true human, with real reasons to be the way he is without ever giving it as an excuse.