From O’Fallon to Jimmy Fallon
By now, you probably know that Jimmy Fallon picked Children of Blood and Bone for the Tonight Show’s Summer Reads book club. And how cool is it that his audience helped choose a book with strong, diverse characters, the first from crazy-talented twenty-something author Tomi Adeyemi?! My summer YA book club of teachers and librarians who live in the O’Fallon, MO area actually picked this book to read before Jimmy chose it for his show. That’s how on-trend we are! Check out Jimmy Fallon’s interview with Tomi Adeyemi here. She is #goals!
It was no easy feat to choose a #plotdrivenlife experience to go along with this book, but more on that in a sec. Check out my review, first:
What makes Children of Blood and Bone particularly on fleek is that Adeyemi created a FIERCE main female character with the envy of magical powers. Zelie Adebola first appears to be a hot-headed mess-up, someone whose hasty decisions get her in trouble on the regular. She lives in a fractured world without magic, and she’s old enough to vividly recall the night when her mother was brutally murdered for her magical ability to call on spirits, the same night all magic and magi disappeared forever.
But we all know magic didn’t really disappear forever (duh!), and Zelie is, of course, central to restoring magic to the land of Orisha. When she unknowingly helps Amari, the princess of Orisha, escape from her father, the king, it sets off a chain of events that lead Zelie, Amari, and Zelie’s brother, Tzain, across the kingdom, in search of three holy items and the mysterious island where they will perform the ritual to revive magic. Complicating matters, Amari’s father is the evil ruler who banished magic and ordered the deaths of the magi. He sends his son, Inan, in search of Amari and the holy artifacts with the directive to destroy anything and anyone that gets in his way. Inan’s loyalty to his father and country is tested, though, when Inan realizes he, himself, has magi blood and finds himself dangerously attracted to Zelie.
This book includes epic sea battles, steamy love scenes, fantastical beasts, and ratcheting suspense. It reminded me of a cross between some of the darker scenes in Diana Gabaldon’s, Outlander and the survival challenges in The Hunger Games, and A Court of Thorns and Roses. It’s the first in a series, and it ends with a cliff-hanger.
As you can probably imagine, it takes extra imagination to plan a #plotdrivenlife experience based on a fantasy novel. For a while, I gave serious consideration to adding a white streak to my hair (the Orishan sign that someone has magical abilities), but I don’t think I could rock that as well as one of my favorite fashionistas, Stacy London. Stacy London co-hosted a long-ago canceled show called What Not to Wear, one of those guilty pleasure shows you sort of hate yourself for enjoying, but she has a fierceness that in some ways reminds me of Zelie. But, I digress.
Instead of dying my hair, I focused on magic. In the book, there are actually ten magi clans whose powers vary from control of natural elements to the ability to affect life and death. Zelie is a Reaper, a magi with the ability to summon the souls of the dead, just like her mother. If I had to choose from one of these ten powers for myself, I think I would be a Tamer with the ability to communicate with animals, but guess what!? There is actually a quiz you can take to determine which clan you belong to!
Since I don’t have any actual magical abilities, I decided Mike and I would go in search of a real magician. And as luck would have it–and this was kind of creepy/cool– the day that I searched for upcoming magic shows in the area, it just so happened that THE David Blaine was performing at the local Peabody Opera House that very night. I bought tickets, and off we went.
Now, I couldn’t take any pictures of the show, but trust me when I tell you that David Blaine is INSANE. The man encouraged an audience member to sew his mouth shut, and then he somehow revealed her very large engagement ring on his tongue once he was un-stitched. Another (giddy) audience member stuck a foot-long needle all the way through his bicep without producing ANY blood. He blew fire on a candelabra, held his breath underwater for thirteen minutes and regurgitated a LIVE FROG that I never saw him swallow. The whole time, he was cool as a cucumber. He is a total beast, and I could fall down a rabbit hole watching all the videos on his YouTube channel. Take my money, David Blaine!
This is another unique experience for me inspired by a dynamite book, and I loved the last-minuteness of taking in David Blaine’s show. If you read Children of Blood and Bone, what would you have chosen for a #plotdrivenlife adventure?