Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha no. 2)
by Tomi Adeyemi
Publishing House: Henry Holt and Co.
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.
Disclaimer: this is book 2! Spoilers for book one are inevitable, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, leave now!
I have two major problems with this book, and both of them stem from Zélie.
Right off the bat I had problems getting into her chapters. I was ready to fully feel her grief over her father, and where she’s at right now after bringing magic back.
And then she brought up Inan. She mentioned him so often within the first fifty pages, it made me want to put the book down. I swear, the amount of times I read variations of the “boy who I loved the boy who broke my heart…”
I honestly never got into their relationship because there was barely anything there. They only spent actual time together for at most, a week or two, and only kissed a few times. And immediately they were proclaiming their love for each other.
It just made Zélie unbearable, and I felt it really undercut the loss of her father, and Inan’s role in that. She seemed to disregard that. It also made her whole reservations on magic hinge on Inan who, again, she didn’t know.
I know a lot of people ship Amari and Zélie, and tbh I’m down for that. I do love Amari and Tzain a lot, but Zélie and Amari are always there for each other and genuinely care for the other. They have some serious potential.
The other issue I had was with the plot.
Zélie had no agency in this book and the plot struggled because of it. Everything happened to her vs her decisions pushing the plot forward. If you compare it to Amari, she’s always making active decisions to push her arc and story forward (more thoughts on Amari to come…because jc).
It ended up holding her character back as well. When she finally went through her character arc (to keep it brief and uncomplicated, we’ll just say she got her motivation back) it fell flat. It was like she suddenly just told me “I’m all better now” instead of showing me. I didn’t see progression I was told she changed. It made me feel like she didn’t really change throughout the novel, and made her one of the most boring characters in the whole novel. My favorite scenes with her ended up being when she interacted with other characters (Amari or Roën or Tzain).
It was also disappointing because I understood her anger and thoughts (minus Inan) in the beginning. In the end I just couldn’t connect with it.
As for Amari, her chapters were definitely the most enjoyable…until the end. I absolutely loved her character, and I still found myself rereading her scenes after I was done.
However, she made some pretty unacceptable decisions in the end, and her motivations for doing so left me confused.
She had a great opportunity to be a foil to Inan, with her own flaws but opposite morals. Showing the difference of someone who has sympathy for others vs someone who can override their sympathy because of how they were raised would have been so good.
But towards the end I wasn’t entirely sure why she was doing what she was doing. She seemed to be following his lead, even after being around so many other influences, and seemingly taking their pain to heart. Also watching him make mistakes and saying that she knew they were wrong… then doing something similar?
Don’t even get me started on Inan’s chapters. I didn’t really see the point of them, and I felt like his character arc was also flat. I still don’t like him, he’s making the exact same mistakes, and his chapters just felt repetitive of the first book. His mother and cousin were more interesting characters tbh.
Overall, I still enjoyed the world, and the side characters. Tzain and Amari and Roën made this book enjoyable for me. I didn’t explicitly hate this book, so I’m rating it above two stars, but I also didn’t necessarily love it.
I’m really hoping the second book syndrome doesn’t last throughout the rest of the series. Second books are notoriously hard, so I’m going to give the last book the benefit of the doubt.
3 stars = it was enjoyable enough, even if I didn’t enjoy all of it. Would still recommend.