Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on December 3rd, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
“‘We’re the children of the gods.’ I lift my chin. ‘If someone’s running away, it’s not going to be us.'”
Note: Please check the links at the end of the review in response of what’s going on in the world right now. Remember to educate yourself, and listen and uplift Black voices.
I finally finished this book after starting it in January!
The second book in this fantasy trilogy has Zélie struggling to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.
With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.
So, I didn’t love this book. And I’m not here to fault the author because I think this book suffers from middle book syndrome.
It’s very rare for me to avidly love the second book in a trilogy because I find that they’re often just a setup for the grand finale in the last book.
Side note: the only exception to this that I can remember off the top of my head isn’t even a book. It’s a movie — the second Captain America is miles ahead of the first and third movie.
Despite a tepid reaction from me, there are still things that I enjoyed about this book! I think the pacing was excellent. I didn’t find myself getting bored or wishing that the characters would hurry up and take action already. There is something happening all the time, and it’s almost like you have no time to take a breather. It’s exactly what you want in an action-packed fantasy.
The short chapters kept my attention and I didn’t mind the multiple POVs. I think three POVs is a good number without the reader getting overwhelmed.
The overall worldbuilding and magic system is fantastic. Adeyemi did a great job expanding on what we know from the first book. It really felt like I got a good picture of what the surroundings are like. The descriptions are vivid without getting bogged down by too many minute details.
If you’re going to write a fantasy, the most important part (in my opinion) is the magic system.
In the Legacy of Orïsha books, it’s not complicated and it makes sense. I’ve been reading interviews with Adeyemi and she talks about the Nigerian and Yoruban roots in this universe. It’s fascinating!
But, all this is to say that I think the characters and the romances ruined this book for me. I love Amari, but by the end of the book I grew incredibly frustrated with her. Her decisions made no sense and seemed counterintuitive to who she is.
Zélie has always been stubborn, but she became even more insufferable. I mean, would it kill her to listen to someone?
And to be honest, I couldn’t care less about the romantic relationships in this book. I’d much rather see Zélie and Amari together because they genuinely care for each other! The chemistry between these two women leaps off the page. I’m much more interested in seeing their relationship grow rather than their awkward romantic relationships with the men in the book.
I will be reading the final book in this trilogy because I think Adeyemi has more up her sleeve. And I can’t wait for the movie adaptation!
The best resource for ways to help, where you can donate, and protest FAQs: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/
If you’re Canadian like I am, please consider donating to these places:
- https://www.rainbowrailroad.org/ (Remember, your feminism isn’t valid until it’s intersectional)
Black Lives Matter.