The Atlantic

Where Fantasy Meets Black Lives Matter

A much-anticipated young-adult debut taps into a tradition of speculative fiction rooted in African culture.
Source: Daniela Yohannes

If a “Black Lives Matter–inspired fantasy novel” sounds like an ungainly hybrid—a pitch gone wrong—think again. The seven-figure book advance and movie deal bestowed a year ago on Tomi Adeyemi suggest the opposite: a convergence of themes likely to appeal to a very wide audience. Adeyemi, whose Children of Blood and Bone is the first volume of a projected trilogy, is a 24-year-old newcomer to the of young-adult literature, where demands for greater diversity of authorship and subject matter have lately been loud and clear. The Nigerian American writer isn’t a pioneer, though. Instead, her high-profile debut calls attention to an underheralded tradition. The creator of a mythical land called Orïsha, Adeyemi taps into a rich imaginative lineage as she weaves West African mythology into a bespoke world that resonates with our own.

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