Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Book - 2019
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After Zélie and Amari bring magic back to the land of Orïsha, the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, forcing Zélie to fight to secure Amari's right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy's wrath.
Publisher: New York, NY : Henry Holt and Company, 2019
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781250170996
Branch Call Number: YA ADEYEMI 2019
Characteristics: 404 pages : color map ; 24 cm


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This one didn’t live up to the feels of the first one for me, but I did enjoy it, despite a few gripes I have. Wavering between 3 and 4 stars - I think we’ll go for 3.5.

Magic is back, but Zélie and Amari now have to contend with a new threat, as their actions have brought magic back not only to maji, but also to those of noble blood. With the throne in question, the girls have less in common than they might have hoped for, and so much more at stake on either side.

I struggled with a plot summary because this one is really focused on one thing, and that is the war for the throne. Normally that's not something I mind, thinking about the fantasy I read and enjoy, but here, it's like this singular quest that ultimately leaves no room for any other kind of subplots or development. There is bountiful action and many scenes of magic that are cool af, but everything serves that one purpose in the story.

And development-wise, I didn't like either Amari or Zélie here, which is SO disappointing because I loved them both so much in book one. Both girls had motivations that were clear and interesting in the first book, but here, it's like they've been reduced to the basics, with Amari sacrificing everything for the throne in what is ultimately a childish bid for power, and Zélie ending up so withdrawn and hopeless that it's challenging to read. Where did my fierce warrior *cough* lesbian *cough* girls go?

And speaking of love interests, that's all Tzain has become here, which is another gripe of mine. He was such an integral part of book one, grounding Zélie and being actually helpful on their adventures, but here, he barely has any page time, and when he does, it's to be with Amari. And Nailah! Where did she go! There was definitely a missing aspect, character-wise here.

One part of this story that I did enjoy was Röen. Any kind of scoundrel character with a secret heart of gold always hurts me immediately, and he kept me flipping the pages by the end. Minor spoilers: I did want more development for him and Zélie, rather than him just becoming her main love interest so quickly. More banter, more denial of feelings, that kind of thing. But that said, I enjoy him, and if I do read the third book, it will mostly be for him.

I think this one suffers from second book syndrome. It had so much to live up to, and then it came out so much later than it should have. Even with a reread of CoBaB, it didn't have that same magic emanating from its pages, and that disappointment definitely colours my opinion of it overall.

JCLJordanY Mar 24, 2020

A powerful middle chapter in Tomi Adeyemi's trilogy, Children of Virtue and Vengeance captures much of what made the original novel so engaging while continuing to build the world and explore relationships between characters. The back and forth conflicts between characters can be emotionally exhausting at times, but the tumultuous finale of the book caught me off guard and has me looking forward to the conclusion of the series.

Feb 13, 2020

They Killed My Mother.
They Took Our Magic.
They Tried to Bury Us.
Now We Rise.

The first book in this planned trilogy (Children of Blood and Bone), marketed in the YA genre, was amazing. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and I feel like this series will be loads of fun for Harry Potter fans as they age. The author, Tomi Adeyemi, born in Nigeria and a graduate of Harvard, is immensely talented. She got the first book in this series, which was also her first book, sold to a huge publisher when she was 19 or 20, and had already secured a movie deal before the first book was even published. Check out her Wikipedia page for more background on this amazing woman and get excited about what she might have in-store for us over the next generation. And a minor note here: the cover art of the first book is out of this world, and admittedly played a part in my purchase :)

I should give some basic details about this world that Adeyemi has created and the plot of this trilogy. The story takes place in Orïsha, a land where some clans (“Maji”) have magic running through their blood but are no longer allowed to use it because it has been outlawed by a ruthless king. One of the main characters, for example, is of the Iná clan, the members of which can conjure fire. They’re called “burners” in the local vernacular and have their own deity among a pantheon of gods. Maji have been relegated to second class status or worse in Orïsha, and a small but powerful minority want them exterminated altogether.

While I LOVED the first book and bought the second book the week that it was published, this second book was a bit of a letdown. My expectations were probably too high. It seems like the entire book should be the first part of another book, but not a book unto itself. There wasn’t much of the character development in the second one that had me mesmerized in the first, which was a disappointment because Adeyemi has created some very compelling characters and I wanted more of (almost) every one of them. This second book centered on some large and important battle scenes, which I’m assuming set the stage for the third and final installment in this series.

As I made my way through this book, I was trying to downplay a parallel discussion happening in my head where I was trying to convince myself that, yes, it *will* be worth my time to finish this trilogy. I got to the epilogue and hadn’t yet decided, but the storyline that begins in the last six lines of the book saved me. These last 6 lines now have me wanting book 3 ASAP, though I know I’ll be waiting for a year or two for it.

2.5 out of 5 Merritt Badges
(4.5 out of 5 for the first book in this series)

Jan 16, 2020

This book was so immersive that I spent all day finishing it instead of playing with my new VR headset.

sjpl_rebekah Jan 15, 2020

It pains me to write this review because I had such high hopes for this book. I LOVED Children of Blood and Bone and checked this book out the day it was available at our libraries. I immediately dove into it and then….stalled. No matter how many times I picked it back up, I just couldn’t get into it. It quickly became apparent that the characters I loved from the first book were gone. In their place were characters I didn’t even recognize or like. The relationships that I had hoped would be fleshed out more in this book still felt forced and lacked substance. The action was sporadic and when I should have felt devastated, I felt nothing. There was no character development that made me feel invested in the story, so the betrayals and atrocities made very little impact on me. There had been great potential for character growth after such an epic conclusion to the first book, which leads me to believe that the author rushed this book to meet some deadline. I read in one of Adeyemi’s interviews that she did not have a break between completing the first book and writing this one, but I had hoped that this would not effect the quality of her story development. Though these hopes were quickly dashed, I am clinging to my sense of optimism for the next book, which is why I could not bring myself to give this book a lower rating. Hopefully she takes her time with it because despite it all, I still believe in this story. The way the book ended, I highly suspect she will be taking a page from history and incorporating elements of the slave trade and African diaspora. Only time will tell where she decides to go from here. Until then, my fingers are crossed!

Jan 06, 2020

Another amazing book by Tomi Adeyemi!! There was a lot more action in this book!

Suspenseful, more politics, some revelations that illuminate the start of the war, and realizing one's limits-- and the limits one is willing to overreach in order to reach a goal!
5/5 stars and i'm devastated i have to wait a year for the next one!

Gina_Vee Jan 03, 2020

I really like this sequel. So much more action. The cliffhangers are driving me crazy, but in a "when is the next book coming out?!" way. I think I need a second read to really dig into the message she's writing on.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Dec 20, 2019

Roller coaster of a follow up to Children of Blood and Bone...can't wait for the next installment!

STPL_JessH Dec 12, 2019

OH MY WORD! That ending!!!!! I did not see it coming at all. Don't worry, no spoilers here.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the second in Tomi Adeyemi's fantasy Children of OrÏsha Series. If you haven't read Children of Blood and Bone, you really need to do that first. I'll wait :)
While I enjoyed CoVV, I will say that I preferred CoBB. Parts of CoVV were repetitive and I wondered, wait, didn't we just have this scene a few pages ago? That said, the cliff hanger that will take us into book three is outstanding. I was really surprised by the twist and was immediately recommitted to this trilogy. I have so many unanswered questions so I cannot wait to see what Adeyemi has in mind for book three. Of course, who knows how long we'll have to wait? That's the one problem with reading book two the day it comes out. Seriously, I started listening on cloudlibrary on pub day. What can I say?! I'm a fan! Obviously I love almost anything Bahni Turpin narrates so it's a pretty excellent coincidence that she is the narrator for both CoBB and CoVV. I highly recommend this series.


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