Reading guide for Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Children of Blood and Bone

Legacy of Orisha

by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi X
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2018, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2019, 560 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. Describe Zélie's background and personality. What are her strengths and weaknesses? How does she change over the course of the book, and what causes the changes? Discuss why she characterizes her past as a "lifetime of mistakes" (p.375). Do you agree with her assessment of herself?
  2. Talk about Tzain, specifically his personality and his relationship to Zélie, using evidence from the text. How does he contribute to their quest? What does Amari like about him? Discuss Tzain's statement, "I'm tired of paying for everyone's mistakes" (p. 395).
  3. Compare what Amari is like at the beginning of the novel and what she is like at the end. What brings about the changes in her character? Discuss her relationships with her father, mother, and brother, and explain how those are part of her transformation.
  4. Amari embraces Zélie's cause wholeheartedly but Inan wavers. What makes the siblings different in this regard? Talk about Inan's characteristics and how his father influences him. Analyze the symbolism of Inan carrying his father's pawn. Why is Zélie attracted to Inan? Discuss the important choices he makes, especially those near the story's end.
  5. Summarize the history of Orïsha in regard to the maji and kosidán, including the Raid. What is King Saran's approach to ruling the kingdom and how is it different from his father's? Why is Saran so violent? Discuss his exchange with Zélie before he has her tortured.
  6. The gods are a key aspect of the novel. Describe them and the characters' encounters with them. How do the gods affect the plot? Why are they so important to Zélie and her friends?
  7. Point to times and relationships in the novel where trust is a significant issue, especially among the four main characters. When is trust justified among the characters? When is trust betrayed? Why is trust such a central issue under a tyranny like King Saran's?
  8. Anger is also heightened under a tyranny. Who is angry in the novel, and why? Is the anger justified? How does anger fuel some of the important action in the plot?
  9. What challenges do Zélie, Amari, and Tzain face in their quest to save their country? What physical obstacles do they have to overcome on the journey? What are their worst setbacks, and how do they deal with them?
  10. Talk about the world building in the novel, which draws on West African history and culture but transforms them and adds magic. What kind of information and descriptions create the convincing, multifaceted fictional world? Find places where the author effectively weaves in information about the setting without slowing down the story.
  11. Why do you think the author tells the story from three viewpoints with three different voices? How are the voices different from one another? How would it be different with a single narrator? Why use first-person voices? Discuss why Tzain doesn't narrate part of the story.
  12. Analyze the prologue and epilogue, and think about why the author chose to include them. Discuss the first line of the prologue and that of the first chapter. Discuss the last line of the last chapter and the last line of the epilogue. Explain how the lines relate to the novel as a whole.
  13. Discuss the Author's Note at the end of the book. What real-world parallels can you draw between the challenges in this book and the challenges minorities face today? Why do you think the author chose to portray these challenges through a fantasy lens?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Square Fish. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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