Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

The title of the post is in black letters with the book cover on the right side of the image. The background features smooth orange rock formations.
Cover of Children of Virtue and Vengeance. It features a black woman with a white afro, held back from her face by a red and blue head band adorned with conch shells and beads. She has gold scars on her face.

This book is the second installment in the Legacy of Orïsha series, which I’d been meaning to read for a while since it came out a few years ago. This series takes place in the land of Orïsha, a land that is based on African mythology. In this world, there are people who are born with magical gifts related to the diverse gods of Orïsha, which rule different aspects of life and death, the four elements, healing, animals, spirituality, etc. This magic has brought a lot of conflict between the people of Orïsha since the King killed all the maji as a way to control the kingdom. Now, in order to continue with this review I must spoil the first book so I’ll put a divider next, proceed with caution!

Map of Orïsha

Alright! Spoilers start now. Book one, Children of Blood and Bone, ends with Zélie bringing magic back to Orïsha except the magic is not brought back only for the maji, it also comes back to the nobles. The mythology of the series gets complex since now there are maji who have the inherited ability passed down from each clan elder, generation after generation and then there are the tîtán, or nobles, who just acquired magic from one of the gods but their magic is raw, uncontrolled, and overall seemingly more powerful. The way that the magic has evolved in the second book is what was most interesting to me. We get to see how Zélie is able to develop how the maji are able to use their magic in order to try to bring down the monarchy that has been oppressing the maji for so long.

Now, Zélie is not alone in this story of course, let’s take a quick look at the other characters:

  • Inan: The son of the king and heir to the throne. In the first book he learns that he is a Connector, with the magic to connect to people via their dreams. (The other parts about the connector magic was a bit fuzzy for me I have to admit) Inan and Zélie develop a relationship throughout the first book that is quite tense since they are fighting for opposite sides. Inan for me was frustrating, I had big hopes for him but he always came short of meeting those expectations.
  • Amari: Inan’s sister who actually started the events of the first book when she stole a scroll that was the first item that would bring magic back to anyone who touched it. In the first book Amari helps Zélie bring the magic back and, when everyone believes that she is the next in line for the throne, she does all she can to get back to the throne, no matter the consequences. Amari and Zélie seem to have something of a romantic relationship as well but it never goes further than intense friends, which was so disappointing! (To me this was a better match than Inan….that is until we get to the next character…)
  • Roën: Possibly one of the most interesting characters in the series and one I wish was featured more! He is a mercenary who takes no sides except for those who are able to pay him and his band of rogues. He is a tough guy who has fallen in love with Zélie and my absolute favorite scene in this series so far is between the two of them. He does not have magic but he does not need it, he has a heart of gold.

As you can tell, there are complex relationships, politics, war, magic, and characters who are willing to do just about everything to win. There are definitely some high risk moves and at times I was confused about the characters’ core beliefs since they seemed to go back and forth a lot at times. Of course, they are under immense stress but as the reader it was a bit confusing.

I do want to read the next (and final?) installment, which is still in the works, so hopefully it will come out soon. The ending of this second book left me a bit concerned about where the series is going but I’m hopeful that Adeyemi will wrap up the series and give me more of Roën, please! If you haven’t checked out this series yet, I didn’t completely spoil everything in this review so do check it out if you are interested.

~Paulina~ signature in casual purple cursive with purple background

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