Children of Blood and Bone Sneak Peek

Children of Blood and Bone Sneak Peek

by Tomi Adeyemi

NOOK Book(eBook)

FREE

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

Download a FREE sneak peek of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE!

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut.
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250198914
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Series: Legacy of Orïsha Series
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 84
Sales rank: 34,989
File size: 5 MB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she studied West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil.

Tomi Adeyemi is the #1 New York Times-bestselling Nigerian-American author of Children of Blood and Bone.

After graduating Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship to study West African mythology, religion, and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching BTS music videos, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing on her website. She lives in San Diego, California.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Zélie

Pick me.

It's all I can do not to scream. I dig my nails into the marula oak of my staff and squeeze to keep from fidgeting. Beads of sweat drip down my back, but I can't tell if it's from the morning heat or from my heart slamming against my chest. Moon after moon I've been passed over.

Today can't be the same.

I tuck a lock of snow-white hair behind my ear and do my best to sit still. As always, Mama Agba makes the selection grueling, staring at each girl just long enough to make us squirm.

Her brows knit in concentration, deepening the creases in her shaved head. With her dark brown skin and muted kaftan, Mama Agba looks like any other elder in the village. You would never guess a woman her age could be so lethal.

"Ahem." Yemi clears her throat at the front of the ahéré, a not-so-subtle reminder that she's already passed this test. She smirks at us as she twirls her hand-carved staff, eager to see which one of us she gets to defeat in our graduation match. Most girls cower at the prospect of facing Yemi, but today I crave it. I've been practicing and I'm ready.

I know I can win.

"Zélie."

Mama Agba's weathered voice breaks through the silence. A collective exhale echoes from the fifteen other girls who weren't chosen. The name bounces around the woven walls of the reed ahéré until I realize Mama Agba's called me.

"Really?"

Mama Agba smacks her lips. "I can choose someone else —"

"No!" I scramble to my feet and bow quickly.

"Thank you, Mama. I'm ready."

The sea of brown faces parts as I move through the crowd. With each step, I focus on the way my bare feet drag against the woven reeds of Mama Agba's floor, testing the friction I'll need to win this match and finally graduate.

When I reach the black mat that marks the arena, Yemi is the first to bow. She waits for me to do the same, but her gaze only stokes the fire in my core. There's no respect in her stance, no promise of a proper fight. She thinks because I'm a divîner, I'm beneath her.

She thinks I'm going to lose.

"Bow, Zélie." Though the warning is evident in Mama Agba's voice, I can't bring myself to move. This close to Yemi, the only thing I see is her luscious black hair, her coconut-brown skin, so much lighter than my own. Her complexion carries the soft brown of Orïshans who've never spent a day laboring in the sun. A privileged life funded by hush coin from a father she never met, a noble who banished his bastard daughter to our village in shame.

I push my shoulders back and thrust my chest forward, straightening though I need to bend. Yemi's features stand out in the crowd of divîners adorned with snow-white hair. Ones who've been forced to bow to those who look like her time and time again.

"Zélie, do not make me repeat myself."

"But Mama —"

"Bow or leave the ring! You're wasting everyone's time."

With no other choice, I clench my jaw and bow, making Yemi's insufferable smirk blossom. "Was that so hard?" Yemi bows again for good measure. "If you're going to lose, do it with pride."

Muffled giggles break out among the girls, quickly silenced by a sharp wave of Mama Agba's hand. I shoot them a glare before focusing on my opponent.

We'll see who's giggling when I win.

"Take position."

We back up to the edge of the mat and kick our staffs up from the ground. Yemi's sneer disappears as her eyes narrow; her killer instinct emerges.

We stare each other down, waiting for the signal to begin. I worry Mama Agba'll drag this out forever when at last she shouts.

"Commence!"

And instantly I'm on the defensive.

Before I can even think of striking, Yemi whips around with the speed of a cheetanaire. Her staff swings over her head one moment and at my neck the next. Though the girls behind me gasp, I don't miss a beat.

Yemi may be fast, but I can be faster.

When her staff nears, I arch as far as my back will bend, dodging her attack. I'm still arched when Yemi strikes again, this time slamming her weapon down with the force of a girl twice her size.

I throw myself to the side, rolling across the mat as her staff smacks against its reeds. Yemi rears back to strike again as I struggle to find my footing.

"Zélie," Mama Agba warns, but I don't need her help. In one smooth motion, I roll to my feet and thrust my shaft upward, blocking Yemi's next blow.

Our staffs collide with a loud crack. The reed walls shudder. My weapon is still reverberating from the blow when Yemi pivots to strike at my knees.

I push off my front leg and swing my arms for momentum, cartwheeling in midair. As I flip over her outstretched staff, I see my first opening — my chance to be on the offensive.

"Huh!" I grunt, using the momentum of the aerial to land a strike of my own. Come on

Yemi's staff smacks against mine, stopping my attack before it even starts.

"Patience, Zélie," Mama Agba calls out. "It is not your time to attack. Observe, react — wait for your opponent to strike."

I stifle my groan but nod, stepping back with my staff. You'll have your chance, I coach myself. Just wait your tur

"That's right, Zél." Yemi's voice dips, so low only I can hear it. "Listen to Mama Agba. Be a good little maggot."

And there it is.

That word.

That miserable, degrading slur.

Whispered with no regard. Wrapped in that insufferable smirk.

Before I can stop myself, I thrust my staff forward, only a hair from Yemi's gut. I'll take one of Mama Agba's infamous beatings for this later, but the fear in Yemi's eyes is more than worth it.

"Hey!" Though Yemi turns to Mama Agba to intervene, she doesn't have time to complain. I twirl my staff with a speed that makes her eyes widen before launching into another attack.

"This isn't the exercise!" Yemi shrieks, jumping to evade my strike at her knees. "Mama —"

"Must she fight your battles for you?" I laugh. "Come on, Yem. If you're going to lose, do it with pride!"

Rage flashes in Yemi's eyes like a bull-horned lionaire ready to pounce. She clenches her staff with a vengeance.

Now the real fight begins.

The walls of Mama Agba's ahéré hum as our staffs smack again and again. We trade blow for blow in search of an opening, a chance to land that crucial strike. I see an opportunity when —

"Ugh!"

I stumble back and hunch over, wheezing as nausea climbs up my throat. For a moment I worry she's crushed my ribs, but the ache in my abdomen quells that fear.

"Halt —"

"No!" I interrupt Mama Agba, voice hoarse. I force air into my lungs and use my staff to stand up straight. "I'm okay."

I'm not done yet.

"Zélie —" Mama starts, but Yemi doesn't wait for her to finish. She speeds toward me hot with fury, her staff only a finger's breadth from my head. As she rears back to attack, I spin out of her range. Before she can pivot, I whip around, ramming my staff into her sternum.

"Ah!" Yemi gasps. Her face contorts in pain and shock as she reels backward from my blow. No one's ever struck her in one of Mama Agba's battles. She doesn't know how it feels.

Before she can recover, I spin and thrust my staff into her stomach. I'm about to deliver the final blow when the russet sheets covering the ahéré's entrance fly open.

Bisi stands in the doorway, her small chest heaving up and down.

"What is it?" Mama asks.

Tears gather in Bisi's eyes. "I'm sorry," she whimpers, "I fell asleep, I — I wasn't —"

"Spit it out, child!"

"They're coming!" Bisi finally exclaims.

"They're close, they're almost here!"

For a moment I can't breathe. I don't think anyone can. Fear paralyzes every inch of our beings.

Then the will to survive takes over.

"Quickly," Mama Agba hisses. "We don't have much time!"

I pull Yemi to her feet. She's still wheezing, but there's no time to make sure she's okay. I grab her staff and rush to collect the others.

The ahéré erupts in a blur of chaos as everyone races to hide the truth. Yards of bright fabric fly through the air while an army of reed mannequins rises. With so much happening at once, there's no way of knowing whether we'll hide everything in time. All I can do is focus on my task: shoving each staff under the arena mat, where they can't be seen.

As I finish, Yemi thrusts a wooden needle into my hands. I'm still running to my designated station when the sheets covering the ahéré entrance fly open again.

"Zélie!" Mama Agba barks.

I freeze. Every eye in the ahéré turns to me. Before I can speak, Mama Agba slaps the back of my head; a sting only she can summon tears down my spine.

"Stay at your station," she hisses. "You need all the practice you can get."

"Mama Agba, I ..."

She leans in as my pulse races, eyes glimmering with the truth.

A distraction ...

A way to buy us time.

"I'm sorry, Mama Agba. Forgive me."

"Just get back to your station."

I bite back a smile and bow my head in apology, sweeping low enough to survey the guards who entered. Like most soldiers in Orïsha, the shorter of the two has a complexion that matches Yemi's: brown like worn leather, framed with thick black hair. Though we're only young girls, he keeps his hand on the pommel of his sword. His grip tightens, as if at any moment one of us could strike.

The other man stands tall, solemn and serious, unusually dark for a guard. I have to wonder if divîner blood runs through his lineage, a secret shame he wears on his skin.

Both men wear the royal seal of King Saran, stark on their iron breastplates. Just a glance at the ornate snow leopanaire makes my stomach clench, a harsh reminder of the monarch who sent them.

I make a show of sulking back to my reed mannequin, legs nearly collapsing in relief. What once resembled an arena now plays the convincing part of a seamstress's shop. Bright tribal fabric adorns the mannequins in front of each girl, cut and pinned in

Mama Agba's signature patterns. We stitch the hems of the same dashikis we've been stitching for years, sewing in silence as we wait for the guards to go away.

Mama Agba travels up and down the rows of girls, inspecting the work of her apprentices. Despite my nerves, I grin as she makes the guards wait, refusing to acknowledge their unwelcome presence.

"Is there something I can help you with?" she finally asks.

"Tax time," the darker guard grunts. "Pay up."

Mama Agba's face drops like the heat at night. "I paid my taxes last week."

"This isn't a trade tax." The other guard's gaze combs over all the divîners with long white hair. "Maggot rates went up. Since you got so many, so have yours."

Of course. I grit my teeth. I fight the urge to scream. It's not enough for the king to keep the divîners down. He has to break anyone who tries to help us.

My jaw clenches as I try to block out the guard, to block out the way maggot stung from his lips. It doesn't matter that we'll never become the maji we were meant to be. In their eyes we're still maggots.

That's all they'll ever see.

Mama Agba presses her lips in a tight line. There's no way she has the coin to spare. "You already raised the divîner tax last moon," she argues. "And the moon before that."

The lighter guard steps forward, reaching for his sword, ready to strike at the first sign of defiance. "Maybe you shouldn't keep company with maggots."

"Maybe you should stop robbing us."

The words spill out of me before I can stop them. The room holds its breath. I grip the fabric on my mannequin so hard my fists ache. Mama Agba goes rigid, dark eyes begging me to be quiet.

"Divîners aren't making more coin. Where do you expect these new taxes to come from?" I ask. "You can't just raise the rates again and again. If you keep raising them, we can't pay!"

The guard saunters over in a way that makes me itch for my staff. With the right blow I could knock him off his feet; with the right thrust I could crush his throat.

For the first time I realize that the guard doesn't wield an ordinary sword. His black blade gleams in his sheath, a metal more precious than gold.

Majacite ...

A weaponized alloy forged before the Raid, created to weaken our magic and burn through our flesh.

Just like the black chain they wrapped around Mama's neck.

A powerful maji could fight through its influence, but the rare metal is debilitating for most of us. Though I have no magic to suppress, the proximity of the majacite blade still pricks at my skin as the guard boxes me in.

"You would do well to keep your mouth shut, little girl."

And he's right. I should. Keep my mouth shut, swallow my rage. Live to see another day.

But when he's this close to my face, it's all I can do not to jam my sewing needle into his beady brown eye. Maybe I should be quiet.

Or maybe he should die.

"You sh —"

Mama Agba shoves me aside with so much force I tumble to the ground.

"Here," she interrupts with a handful of coins. "Just take it."

"Mama, don't —"

She whips around with a glare that turns my body to stone. I shut my mouth and crawl to my feet, shrinking into the patterned cloth of my mannequin.

Coins jingle as the guard counts the bronze pieces placed into his palm. He lets out a grunt when he finishes. "It's not enough."

"It has to be," Mama Agba says, desperation breaking into her voice. "This is it. This is everything I have."

Hatred simmers beneath my skin, prickling sharp and hot. This isn't right. Mama Agba shouldn't have to beg. I lift my gaze and catch the guard's eye. A mistake. Before I can turn away or mask my disgust, he grabs me by the hair.

"Ah!" I cry out as pain lances through my skull. In an instant the guard slams me to the ground facedown, knocking the breath from my throat.

"You may not have any money." The guard digs into my back with his knee, making it even harder for me to breathe. "But you sure have your fair share of maggots." He grips my thigh with a rough hand. "I'll start with this one."

My skin grows hot and I close my eyes, clenching my hands to hide the trembling. I want to scream, to break every bone in his body, but with each second I wither. His touch erases everything I am, everything I've fought so hard to become.

In this moment I'm that little girl again, helpless as the soldier drags my mother away.

"That's enough." Mama Agba pushes the guard back and pulls me to her chest, snarling like a bull-horned lionaire protecting her cub. "You have my coin and that's all you're getting. Leave. Now."

The guard's anger boils at her audacity. He moves to unsheathe his sword, but the other guard holds him back.

"Come on. We've got to cover the village by dusk."

Though the darker guard keeps his voice light, his jaw sets in a tight line. Maybe in our faces he sees a mother or sister, a reminder of someone he'd want to protect.

The other soldier is still for a moment, so still I don't know what he'll do. Eventually he unhands his sword, cutting instead with his glare. "Teach these maggots to stay in line," he warns Mama Agba. "Or I will."

His gaze shifts to me; though my body drips with sweat, my insides freeze. The guard runs his eyes up and down my frame, a warning of what he can take.

Try it, I want to snap, but my mouth is too dry to speak. We stand in silence until the guards exit and the stomping of their metal-soled boots fades away.

Mama Agba's strength disappears like a candle blown out by the wind. She grabs on to a mannequin for support, the lethal warrior I know diminishing into a frail, old stranger.

"Mama ..."

I move to help her, but she slaps my hand away. "Ode!"

Fool, she scolds me in Yoruba, the maji tongue outlawed after the Raid. I haven't heard our language in so long, it takes me a few moments to remember what the word even means.

"What in the gods' names is wrong with you?"

Once again, every eye in the ahéré is on me. Even little Bisi stares me down. But how can Mama Agba yell at me? How is this my fault when those crooked guards started it?

"I was trying to protect you."

"Protect me?" Mama Agba says. "You knew your lip wouldn't change a damn thing. You could've gotten all of us killed!"

I stumble, taken aback by the harshness of her words. She's never yelled at me like this. I've never seen such disappointment in her eyes.

"If I can't fight them, why are we here?" My voice cracks, but I choke down my tears. "What's the point of training if we can't protect ourselves? Why do this if we can't protect you?"

"For gods' sakes, think, Zélie. Think about someone other than yourself! Who would protect your father if you hurt those men? Who would keep Tzain safe when the guards come for blood?"

I open my mouth to retort, but there's nothing I can say. She's right. Even if I took down a few guards, I couldn't take on the whole army. Sooner or later they would find me.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Children of Blood and Bone"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tomi Adeyemi.
Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Children of Blood and Bone Sneak Peek 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was so upset when I ran out of pages to read. Someone let me know when the rest will be released.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. The author builds a new world that is at the same time familiar. The characters have the flaws and strengths, which I realy liked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! Tomi wove an intricate tale with characters and their flaws that we could all relate. This goes beyond the sci fantasy genre
Julianna Mendez More than 1 year ago
The book I will be reviewing is called Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Children of Blood and Bone is a Fiction novel about a diviner named Zelie. After the Raid Zelie’s mother disappeared and with her magic did as well. Zelie finds herself in a journey with a princess and her brother to restore the magic in Orisha. As they begin their journey they encounter various obstacles and are forced to overcome them to bring back magic to Orisha. Children of Blood and Bone is written in the point of view of Zelie, Tzain, Amari and Inan. The book was written in a fast pace, in the first couple of chapters we get to know the characters and one of the characters even dies in the third chapter. The antagonist of the book is King Saran because he is a hostile adversary, he opposes to the diviners, his own children and even Zelie. He is determined to destroy magic, no matter how many people he kills in the process. The protagonist of the book is Zelie because she tries to save the diviners from the reign of King Sanan. She is determined to fight against Sanan to prevent horrible things like the Raid or the Stocks to happen. She fights against Sanan to prevent more people from dying. A major conflict in the story is when Zelie, Tzain and Amari are being ‘hunted’ down by Inan. Amari is my favorite character because she was able to evolve from a fragile princess to a warrior. I love her character because even when she feels like giving up she doesn’t. Because of the journey with Zelie and Tzain she is able to see the horrors diviners live every day and is determined to change it. If I was given the chance to change something about the novel it would be the death of Inan. Although he committed many atrocious mistakes he still tried to become a better person because of Zelie. If I could change this I would because Zelie loves him and is very important to her. I really enjoyed the novel, I loved the evolution of the character’s way of thinking and acting throughout the book. I would recommend this book to readers who like to read thrilling fantasy novels. This could be great for young adults, because it could teach them determination and perseverance.
Julianna Mendez More than 1 year ago
The book I will be reviewing is called Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Children of Blood and Bone is a Fiction novel about a diviner named Zelie. After the Raid Zelie’s mother disappeared and with her magic did as well. Zelie finds herself in a journey with a princess and her brother to restore the magic in Orisha. As they begin their journey they encounter various obstacles and are forced to overcome them to bring back magic to Orisha. Children of Blood and Bone is written in the point of view of Zelie, Tzain, Amari and Inan. The book was written in a fast pace, in the first couple of chapters we get to know the characters and one of the characters even dies in the third chapter. The antagonist of the book is King Saran because he is a hostile adversary, he opposes to the diviners, his own children and even Zelie. He is determined to destroy magic, no matter how many people he kills in the process. The protagonist of the book is Zelie because she tries to save the diviners from the reign of King Sanan. She is determined to fight against Sanan to prevent horrible things like the Raid or the Stocks to happen. She fights against Sanan to prevent more people from dying. A major conflict in the story is when Zelie, Tzain and Amari are being ‘hunted’ down by Inan. Amari is my favorite character because she was able to evolve from a fragile princess to a warrior. I love her character because even when she feels like giving up she doesn’t. Because of the journey with Zelie and Tzain she is able to see the horrors diviners live every day and is determined to change it. If I was given the chance to change something about the novel it would be the death of Inan. Although he committed many atrocious mistakes he still tried to become a better person because of Zelie. If I could change this I would because Zelie loves him and is very important to her. I really enjoyed the novel, I loved the evolution of the character’s way of thinking and acting throughout the book. I would recommend this book to readers who like to read thrilling fantasy novels. This could be great for young adults, because it could teach them determination and perseverance.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I don’t know why I did it but I did and I don’t think I will ever do it again. This was my first and instead of calling it a sample, I will call it a teaser because that is exactly how I feel, teased. When I first laid eyes on this novel, I wanted to read it and when I saw the opportunity to read a portion of it, I jumped on it. Big mistake! From the beginning pages where Mama Agba picks Zelia to fight Yemi with the staffs, to where the King’s men enter the arena, which has now been transformed into a seamstress shop, I was hooked. As Mama Agba tells the girls about the rise and fall of the Maji, who the Diviners are, and why these girls are training with her, I knew the confrontations reached way beyond the walls of their room. The novel started on a journey and then since this was a sample (teaser), it stopped. There was a cliffhanger on the final page but I didn’t need it, I was already hooked. So now, I am left hanging until I can get a copy of this novel and finish reading it. For now though, I need to read some other novels that have been calling my name before I bring another novel into this house. I will be picking up Children of Blood and Bone and giving a full review in the near future. I received this sample (teaser) from NetGalley Macmillian Children’s Publishing Group and in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait to get my hands on the full version
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow this is amazing. I can't wait for my pre-order to come in!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago