You know, I think this might be the first time I’ve ever done a blog tour?
When I got the email about possibly doing something for the release of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone in its release week, I kind of like got all giddy. What a great opportunity to do something fantastic in order to celebrate one of my favorite books of 2018!
In Tomi Adeymi’s Children of Blood and Bone, the Ìwòsàn Clan is the clan of the Maji of Health and Disease. As a result of this totally awesome “Discover Your Magic” graphic, that clan is… my clan, but my majj power isn’t that of healing, it’s of inflicting disease.
My maji power (Cancer) is the magical equivalent of Typhoid Mary.
Which I find fitting because of my relationship with illness.
I’m honestly always sick.
Or suffering from something.
Right now, I’m actually pretty sure that I might even have the chicken pox. (Though… probably not as I was vaccinated as a child and I think that’s supposed to stop that from happening.)
So for me, there’s something absolutely captivating about the idea of maji whose power centers around causing illness instead of healing it.
Cancers are the flip side of the coin from healers, as their power appears to hurt instead of heal others. I kept kind of fixating on that, as the few references to Cancers in Children of Blood and Bone show them as maji to be feared and their talent as one that, if uncontrolled, can end badly. (Which is kind of how magic works, to be fair…)
But one thing that’s super freaking clear in Children of Blood and Bone, we don’t know everything that the maji can do. We’re in book one – an absolutely brilliant book, by the way – and the magic of the world of the Orïsha is only just unfolding.
In this book, only one character (Imani) is an on the page Cancer and her use of her power is straight up called terrifying in the chapter she first uses her powers in a fight. She’s a minor character – though, one I hope to see more of in later – and I’ve already decided that I love her.
This is book one, and we have no idea what she’ll do in the rest of the series if she shows up. We have no idea how well-trained Cancers can wield their power and I hope that Tomi Adeyemi will give us that chance.
One of the best things about Children of Blood and Bone is that there’s so much potential for awesomeness from the worldbuilding on down. While it should be easy to figure out what Cancers will be like when they gain more control of their magic, I can’t assume anything with this book. I can’t assume that the only things Cancers can do involve spreading illness like… what about providing a rudimentary form of vaccination?
I wanted to celebrate Children of Blood and Bone even more than I already was by like yelling at everyone I know about the novel so I did something special! I made a moodboard for Imani inspired by her appearance in the novel!
In this moodboard, I tried to focus on getting Imani’s image just right in my head. I went with several images of Black women (including one of Queen Ramonda from Black Panther because a) I’m never going to stop referencing that film and b) I needed white locs in this moodboard) and then tried to put together other images that pinged the way I saw the character and imagined the use of her powers.
I went with the green scale pattern and foxglove to represent the way I visualized her power – and the power of other Cancers – as relating back to poison almost. Additionally, I viewed the “silver energy” mentioned in the quote I used as the caption as being kind of smokey and tried to like… put that forward to.
I think my favorite thing about Imani was that even though she had a pretty small role in Children of Blood and Bone (compared to you know… the POV characters, obviously), she’s still a character that I want more of. That I was able to want more of because of how Adeyemi develops her characters.
And that’s just good writing.
And keep an eye out for my upcoming review of the novel at Strange Horizons (it’s currently in progress) where I’ll be talking about several of the novel’s core themes, the relationships that develop across the pages, and how it feels to see Blackness so brilliantly represented in such a work of art!