Book number two in this wonderful new fantasy world is full of non-stop magic, power and adventure.
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer based in California. Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the second book in her young adult trilogy full of magic and adventure. Adeyemi graduated from Harvard University in English Literature. She studied West African mythology, culture and religion in Salvador, Brazil.
In Children of Virtue and Vengeance, the story continues on from Children of Blood and Bone, following Zélie Adebola, who had been chosen by the Sky Mother (the mother of the gods and the creator of all humans) to bring back magic in the country of Orïsha and restore the Maji to their former glory. At the end of the first book we left Zelie just after she performed the incantation to achieve this. In book two we discover that the Maji have had their powers restored but something went terribly wrong and now there is a new group of people with magic. They are called the Titans and many are of royal blood. Unfortunately, they are more determined than ever to destroy all Maji and they now have the magical power to do so.
Zelie is once again joined by her brother Tzain, Amari, the Princess of Orisha, and Roen, the mercenary whose abilities are bought by the highest bidder. Each Maji can be recognised by their white hair and darker coloured skin. The new Titans have one streak of white hair which sets them apart. Heading the Titans is Queen Nehanda, mother of Amari. Unfortunately, her powers seem limitless. She is joined by her son Inan, Prince of Orisha who has betrayed Zelie.
Each character has experienced the incredible personal loss of a loved one. They have all witnessed torture and the senseless taking of lives, just because someone looks different. They are determined to make their world a world of peace. But at what cost?
The characters each have to battle their own demons. Each chapter is written from the viewpoint of a different character, and we move back and forth between the thoughts and viewpoints of Zelie, Amari and occasionally, Inan. We have a window into their fears, losses, love and agony. We can appreciate their despair when all they want is peace.
The story is easy to read and difficult to put down. Adeyemi doesn’t dwell on long descriptive passages. Rather, she allows her characters to describe a scene through their own eyes. Just enough to allow us into their world. Her story is gripping and new. Her world is one of fantasy but with connections to the world we know. It is a world of cruelty and despair, but we are given the choice to give up or work at making Orisha/our world a better place.
In the author’s notes in book one, Adeyemi mourned the loss of unarmed black men, women and children who have be shot by police. She feels we all have the power to change the evils in the world. Children should not fear those who should be protecting them. Children of Virtue and Vengeance deals with issues close to her heart, like racism, colour, lack of understanding others, jealousy, and power. It is a story of hope for a better world.
We are never given a moment of quiet contemplation. Zelie finds herself running from one disaster to another and we are carried along with her. Sometimes it is exhausting and I find myself wishing she could just rest for a minute before having to continue saving the world.
In the first book, the font was quite small. Unfortunately, the publishers have chosen to go with an even smaller font for this book (at least 10 Font) and I found it difficult to read, especially in lower light. At over 400 pages it is a lengthy book but I would trade more pages with a larger font.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance is a worthy second book in this fast-paced trilogy and I for one can’t wait to read the final episode in this thrilling fantasy.
Reviewed by Sue Mauger
Distributed by: Pan Macmillan
Released: December 2019
RRP: $24.99 hardback, $16.99 paperback
- Read our review of book 1 in this series: Children of Blood and Bone