Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Legacy of Orïsha
aka: Children Of Blood And Bone

Go To

Legacy of Orïsha is a series of young adult fantasy novels by Tomi Adeyemi. Adeyemi has called her work "West African Mythology meets Avatar: The Last Airbender".

The first book, Children of Blood and Bone, was released in 2018. It was followed by a sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, in 2019; a third book, Children of Anguish and Anarchy, is scheduled to be published in 2024.

A Live-Action Adaptation is in the works. 20th Century Studios and Lucasfilm originally planned to work on the project, but Paramount ultimately won the bidding war on the project.


  • Abusive Parents: Saran is horrible to both his children.
  • Accidental Murder: Inan accidentally kills Kaea just before she can tell the others he's a maji.
  • Action Girl: Zélie was a skilled staff wielder even before she got her magic, and while Amari is opposed to violence in general she's a skilled swordswoman.
  • Afrofuturism: In spades, the book takes place in a future/alternate universe Africa (it's never directly stated, but Lagos and Zaria are cities in modern-day Nigeria) and all of the characters are described as black.
  • All for Nothing: Inan is motivated by following in his father Saran's steps and being the best king possible for Orïsha. To that end, he gives up everything that might possibly distract him from that goal: the love of his remaining family members, the love of possibly his life and the lives of hundreds of innocent maji. Saran still kills him the moment he realizes Inan is a maji, ending his hopes of uniting the peoples of Orïsha for good. Or that's what it seems like—it's revealed partway into the second book that Inan survived.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Maji powers can be combined to create centers, either from the same kind of magic, or from a variety of magics. The result is much greater than the sum of their parts, but also incredibly dangerous and volatile with a good chance of killing people. With Oya's guidance, Zélie eventually binds all ten of the maji elders together to give them the power to win the war.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The sunstone, the third artifact necessary for the quest, boosts a maji's powers beyond their normal abilities.
  • Ban on Magic: Magic is made illegal by Saran and most maji are brutally murdered, and much of the book has him even trying to destroy the source of magic.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Lekan certainly believes this, and events unfold too appropriately (an heir of Saran as one of the main party, Amari just happening to run across a divîner, the divîner in question being a Reaper rather than another sort, the scroll being discovered just before the solstice) for Zélie to argue otherwise.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Zelie and Inan for much of the book.
  • Beta Couple: Tzain and Amari.
  • Blood Magic: Maji can use it, although at such a heavy physical cost to themselves that Zélie's mother makes her swear never to do it. Sentarôs, on the other hand, are adept enough to use it safely (although it still drains the maji of their strength). Zélie has to break her promise to save their lives in the arena, and she nearly dies from it.
  • Boomerang Bigot: As revealed in the sequel, a good number of nobility, including the royal family themselves, possess magical abilities which are reawakened when magic returns to the land. This doesn't alleviate their hatred of maji one bit, immediately deciding that it's acceptable for them to use magic since they aren't maji.
  • But Not Too Black: While everyone is black, dark skin is still discriminated against and Amari's mother covers her in make-up to lighten her.
  • Cliffhanger: The second book ends on Zélie and Amari waking up in chains, on a boat far out to sea, not knowing the final result of their attack on the palace.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • If a maji cuts themselves they can harness blood magic to increase their powers tenfold. But the strain it puts on the user's body is so immense that it risks killing them. As such, it's only advised as a last resort.
    • Combining different magics, while not instantly fatal, is highly risky and volatile and requires you to sacrifice someone you love. The last major instance of this killed both of the maji working it and created majacite mines across the land.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A government oppressing and murdering those who look different than them? Children seeing their parents killed by the government? Sounds familiar. Tomi Adeyemi explicitly states in the author's note that she was inspired by instances of police brutality.
  • Fantastic Racism: Maji are hated and feared by the government.
  • Fantasy Metals: Majacite, an alloy that weakens magic. It turns out to have been the accidental creation of a Grounder and Cancer working together.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: King Saran's wife and father were killed by maji, leading to his vengeful quest to end magic and then ensure the end of all maji and diviners. Zélie is unmoved by this when he tells her this, responding that he can't decide the fate of an entire people group all on the actions of a few.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Amari refused to hurt her brother and got badly scarred for it, and when she first goes into battle she freezes and freaks out when she takes her first life. As she progresses through the story she becomes stronger, symbolized by her aversion to then celebration of her nickname "The Lionaire", culminating in the climax where she kills her father for his crimes.
  • Gilded Cage: Amari has been locked in the palace her whole life, to the point where even seeing the outside world had to be done illicitly.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Nehanda, the wife of King Saran, gains prominence in the second book. She hates magic even more than he does and calls for the extermination of all maji while not hesitating to use magic for her own ends, and does all manner of brutal, unspeakable things in the name of the throne. It's also revealed that she's the one who hired Burners to kill the rest of the royal family to convince them maji could never be trusted, and on the eve of a referendum that would have freed them as well, making her something of a Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Inan's obligation to his people, hero-worship of his father, feelings for Zélie, and his own powers lead to him flipping back and forth between the magical and nonmagical sides. He wants what's best for Orïsha, but his idea of what that is keeps changing.
  • Heroic Suicide: Knowing that they need a Human Sacrifice of someone Zélie loves for the ritual to bind all ten elders together, Mama Agba willingly volunteers for the rite.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Inan re-allying with his father at the end seals his fate when he uses magic to defend himself, causing Saran to realize who Kaea's killer really was and kill his own son.
  • Hypocrite: The nobility and royalty have no compunction with using magic to their own benefit in their quest to exterminate the maji.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each book is titled Children of X and Y, combined with Alliterative Title (Blood and Bone, Virtue and Vengeance, Anguish and Anarchy).
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!:
    • During Amari's climactic duel with her father, she is initially reluctant to kill him because it would feel too close to his cruel methods. She stands down, but when he tries to cut her down anyway, Amari sees he has no reluctance about murdering his own child and thus stabs him through the heart.
    • In the second book, Amari's increasingly immoral and shady methods for winning the war start to make her wonder if she's becoming her father. Once she kills an entire village (with her friend still in it) for a victory that turns out to be All for Nothing, she realizes that she's crossed a line and turns back.
  • Internalized Categorism: Inan hates himself for having magical abilities.
  • Language of Magic: Magic spells are spoken in Yoruba.
  • MacGuffin: Three, the scroll, the sunstone and the dagger that must be used together to bring magic back.
  • The Magic Comes Back: Zelie's ultimate goal is to bring magic back.
  • Magic Is Evil: The official belief of King Saran and the authorities in Orisha. The narration does not back it up - but seeing what can be done with it, maybe Saran isn't fully wrong...
  • Mass Empowering Event: The ritual to be performed by Zélie at the end of the quest is meant to bring about one of these for all the diviners in Orisha. The ending reveals it gave Amari magic too, despite her not being a diviner, with the consequences of the unexpected spread of magic being picked up in the sequel.
  • Mystical White Hair: All maji have white hair or at least a white streak in their hair. Its supernatural connection is so strong that even dying it can't hide its true color for more than a few days. Diviners, AKA de-powered maji, retain their white hair and all the negative societal treatment associated with it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Zélie tells Inan that for all his claims of equality, the kingdom is so corrupt there are people who charge gold for a single cup of water. Inan realizes that she's speaking of Ibeji, giving him a lead on her location when before he had none.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Saran's gambit at the climax, suggested by Inan, to kidnap Zélie and Tzain's father to force their surrender, initially works at getting them to stand down. But then when he kills Baba just for cruelty's sake, his blood repowers Zélie and brings back her blocked magic.
  • Not Quite Dead: The sequel reveals that Inan survived Saran's attempted murder.
  • Offing the Offspring:Saran attempts to murder Inan, and nearly succeeds, when he realizes his son is the maji who killed Kaea. He attempts the same with Amari.
  • Poisonous Person: "Cancers", the same clan that can use healing magic, can reverse it and instead summon literal diseases in a person - rapidly acting diseases. While diseases would ordinarily kill people in weeks or months, these can do it in minutes.
  • Power Corrupts: Throughout the second book, characters repeatedly compromise their morality, break oaths, and kill people in the name of claiming the throne, no matter what side they're on. Inan, Zélie, and Amari eventually realize that the desire for a throne is turning them all into monsters, and that Orisha won't be safe until the monarchy is dissolved.
  • Power Tattoo: Zélie gains gold markings across her face after the ritual to bring magic back.
  • Red Baron: Amari gains the nickname "The Lionaire" from her troops, which she initially hates but slowly embraces. Zélie gains the name "Soldier of Death" from the maji who revere her.
  • The Quest: To bring magic back to Orisha.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Amari. The quiet, withdrawn daughter of Saran still manages to muster enough will to steal the restoration scroll and run away, initially out of vengeance for the death of her handmaiden. As quiet as it's kept, she's also a skilled swordswoman and, in the end, she is the one who kills the Big Bad.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Zélie comes to hate the gods for their plan, since it required her father's death and empowered her enemies, calling them cruel and faithless and renouncing them.
  • Survival Mantra: For Amari, it's "Strike, Amari" whenever she hesitates at one of her own decisions, reminding her of her father's orders to win at all costs. As she slips into more violent and immoral actions, it turns into a Madness Mantra. She stops using it after confronting her mother, deciding she no longer wants to be violent and ruthless.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: Inan can do this, although at first he doesn't realize it's caused by him.
  • Title Drop: Three times. First when Lekan speaks of Sky Mother creating humanity, her "children of blood and bone", next when Zélie is being tortured, and finally when Zélie performs the ritual and realizes that all people are equally "children of blood and bone".
  • Torture Is Ineffective: Saran's torture of Zélie is horrific, brutal, and absolutely breaks her will....but it fails to get anything useful from her. Truth in Television.
  • Villain Has a Point: Saran is militantly and heavily anti-magic. One can obviously agree that this is wrong, but seeing how utterly destructive it is when wielded in battle does make Inan think maybe his dad isn't entirely wrong with wanting to eliminate it - all one needs to imagine is just what would happen depending on the intention of the wielder. Of course, it's ambiguous as to whether or not this is his own thoughts or his conditioning.
  • Warrior Prince: Inan is trained as a warrior.
  • Wham Line: The ending line, which reveals that Amari has grown white hair.
  • You Killed My Father: Saran is motivated to destroy magic by the deaths of his father, the former King, his first wife and their children. Zélie is motivated to bring back magic by the deaths of her mother and several other diviners. Amari is motivated to help Zélie by the deaths of her handmaiden and best friend Binta and, eventually her brother Inan, both of whom are killed by Saran.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Zélie is the youngest child of her family and inherited her mother's Reaper power.

Alternative Title(s): Children Of Blood And Bone