Tomi Adeyemi | Published December 2019
Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the breathtaking second title in Tomi Adeyemi’s YA fantasy trilogy, Legacy of Orïsha, following her ground-breaking, West African-inspired debut Children of Blood and Bone. After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji but also some nobles with magic ancestry. Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as strong and magical as they are. When Amari’s mother forms an army of royals with newly awakened powers, Zélie fights to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath. But with civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must find a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.
When this released in December, I’d finished my 2019 reading challenge of 36 books. But, no way was I going to put off reading the follow up to Children of Blood and Bone (CBB). The story picks up right where we left the group last, on an island right after an epic battle between maji and royals that ultimately brings magic back, but at a huge cost. Lives are lost and Amari’s path to the thrown is murkier than ever expected.
Book 2 focuses heavily on the relationship between our main female protagonists, Zelie and Amari, with lots of fighting between maji and royals, peppered in between for good measure. There are some real life lessons that could be gained from the dialogue and interactions of the 2 young ladies and almost everyone. My favorite scenes would be when Amari attempts to push her way into the maji’s equivalent of high council. Everything won is not something gained..and she learns that, quickly.
Pros: I love the writing in this series. The descriptions around characters, food, action scenes and locations: all beautiful beyond reproach. The imagery WILL transport you to the marketplace, the fights on the countryside and onto the castle grounds. The book cover itself is a work of art. We get to understand more about the Maji and their complicated history. Major uptick in action from the first novel. It gets started and pretty much never stops. The climax you think your headed for comes screaming at you and makes for a hella heart wrenching ending.
Cons: I hate this is YA. Each character seems to have adopted a single note of emotion and Adeyemi doesn’t allow for growth. Zelie is angry and self hating, still. Like, sis..all that you’ve overcome and you are still hiding from your own power? The anger starts to get dangerously close to the rantings of a spoiled child. Amari, plays the privileged royal that believes she’s already queen, her way must be right and her voice should be heard at every opportunity. Tzain, Zelies brother, is downplayed to little more than Amari’s support, instead of the warrior he was in CBB and Inan is the perpetual privileged victim, still attempting to prove himself to his dead tyrant father. Its so hard being him, chile. 🤦🏾♀️
I get the feeling book 2 was used to wrap up loose ends in book 1 and set us up for book 3. Eh, a sacrifice for greater? My attention was definitely captured from sentence one and I stayed interested the entire time but, after awhile, the one note, emotional unintelligence of each character wore on my nerves. I’m going to write that off to a being a byproduct of YA Lit but, its being generous. I’m really looking for character growth in book 3 or else…or else I’ll buy book 4 for the cover art/display only. 😏 #YeaImStillBuyingIt #GoodBook Book 37 of 36. #2019WrapUp