Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Posted January 27, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

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Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

by Tomi Adeyemi

Series: Legacy of Orïsha #2
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. on December 3, 2019
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Magic, Royals
Target Age Group: Adult, New Adult, Young Adult

Rating: ★★★½

Check out this book on Goodreads

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 could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles 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.

 

I must be completely honest.

I struggled a little bit with Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

It wasn’t a difficult book to read, and I’ll be honest, when I sat down and focused, I read it pretty quickly.  It’s significantly shorter than Children of Blood and Bone… and it’s significantly less organized.  I’m going to discuss it, but this seems like a good time to warn you all of spoilers if you haven’t read the first book.  Also why are you reading a review of book 2 without reading book 1?  Go read Children of Blood and Bone, it’s fantastic.

On most levels, I really do understand why and what’s going on here.  At the end of Children of Blood and Bone, things were uncertain, chaotic.  Magic returned to Orïsha, but that doesn’t mean all was well.  Things did not go according to plan, people died unexpectedly, and results were surprising.  Effective in many ways, but also surprising.  That leaves us with a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book, and a lot to unpack in this one.  Amari and Zélie are in a difficult position as the ones who brought magic back, but both from very different sides and now they have different needs.  Alliances are complicated.

As is often the case with war, there were a lot of people shouting and very little forward progress for the costs incurred.  At the end of Children of Virtue and Vengeance, it didn’t feel like there’d been any progress since Children of Blood and Bone.  Characters did not grow, the plot didn’t make significant progress.  It felt like filler.  Filler is not always bad – the filler episodes of Supernatural are my favorite ones – but after such a startling debut, it was a little more difficult to swallow.

And I’m determined to be okay with all this.  There were romantic moments (no, not the ones the extended fandom wants), and there were girl power moments, but a great deal of hate flowed through these pages as well.  Again, this is reasonable and expected.  It is war.  And more than just war, it’s about oppression and elitism and trust broken.  That much darkness was difficult to read at times.  It was complete understandable from a sympathetic view, but so much time was spent fighting within allies that eventually, as a reader, I found myself going numb.

I know the world doesn’t work like this.  I know that these big issues, ones that Tomi Adeyemi alludes to, do not simply go away because one person has good intentions. There’s intention and blood and reparations to be made and it doesn’t get to be easy.  But I am trying to be honest and the amount of sheer force of loathing was hard.  For a lot of the book, it was hard.  Only extremes.

At the risk of hinting at spoilers (you are being warned! Turn back now!) I really didn’t like what she did with Inan.  It is Adeyemi’s book and her choice and who knows there may be Big Plans… but the choices made around Inan’s character in this book felt too easy and I’m never a fan of rewinds.  The dances between the POV characters in this book honestly felt forced and repetitive.  Yet another factor in the whole “going nowhere” thing.

For those of you who, like myself, have been anticipating Children of Virtue and Vengeance for a while will know that this book was pushed back about six months.  Tomi Adeyemi announced the delay herself on Twitter.  As such, we as readers already know that this sophomore novel had been a bit of a struggle.  As book bloggers and avid readers, we know that book 2 often does not live up to book 1.  And furthermore, when we’re talking series or even trilogies, very often book 2 is simply the glue between books 1 & 3.  A lack of movement and development is not uncommon at this stage, and I don’t think it’s a reason to step back from this series.

I am still so excited to see what happens in the next installment, whenever that may be.  I still think Tomi Adeyemi is a strong author with fantastic ideas.  Her debut shows that in spades.  And regardless of my rather “meh” reaction to Children of Virtue and Vengeance, I’m sticking with her.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★
Characters: ★★★★
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★ 1/2
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★

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Children of Virtue and Vengeance stays on the shelf.

While I didn’t love this book the way I wanted to, it’s a piece that makes up the Legacy of Orïsha and I deeply, deeply loved the first book in the series.  So book two isn’t as remarkable?  So what?  I am here for the whole shebang and I am not going to get rid of the second book just because it wasn’t as good as the first one.  I’m looking forward to having Zélie, Amari, Inan, and Tzain’s complete story on my shelves down the road.

And, as a whole, I know – I know – it will be read again and again.

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Did you feel Children of Virtue and Vengeance lived up to your expectations?  Why or why not? And what did you think about the development of each of the characters?  Let me know in the comments!

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