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.
I loved the premise behind this book and it lived up to the hype. Zélie is an unwilling heroine and a character that was easy to relate to. She is by no means flawless, at times she can be stubborn and unpredictable but this makes her all the more interesting. On the opposite side we have the second main character Amari, another female POV! Amari is shy and reclusive but throughout the novel we see her come out of her shell and prove to be just as much a hero as Zélie.
The world and folklore Adeyemi weaves are incredibly magical, with a female centric plot, it was such a breath of fresh air to read after male driven fanatsy novels. The one character I disliked was Inan the son of the King, I felt he was overly predictable with his motives and I didn’t like his relationship with Zélie. It was almost an obsession on his part and the Romance just seemed off to me.
This has been praised as a breakthrough novel when it comes to representation and you can understand why, two lead female POV’s and are both described as Black. Something that has been seriously lacking in not just YA but all genres of novels.
This was a 4.5/5 for me. I loved the story and the characters I just could’t get into the relationship between Inan and Zélie and felt like it took up too much of the novel. I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series though and will be pre-ordering it as soon as its available.