Alright! First review for the week. Let’s go.
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Fantasy| YA – M |Character Death, multiple deaths, war, abuse | Love, what it means to be a survivor, going too far, falling back into old habits
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I go into this in hopes that I can get really into it and read it quickly. The last two books I read were easy reads. One was short. The other was short stories. That meant I didn’t have to focus for long but I’ve been avoiding books and I fear that this may be too long for me. I remember liking Children of Blood and Bone, so here is to hoping.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
So, I had to break this into two days of reading because I just couldn’t read it in one sitting as I had hoped I might be able to.
Sitting 1; This book is driving me up a wall.
Sitting 2; I want to strangle some of these characters.
Sitting 3; Well that was an ending. So much happened in that last bit that I’m sitting here in pain. All the characters frustrated me this book so freaking much. They had better get their acts together for the final book.
As a note, because of how many accents and dialect notations there are in this book that my computer can not handle nicely, many of them have been removed for this review. In the future series review, I will note them.
Amari and Zelie are traveling back to the capital after it all. Zelie wants to give up and be free after the events of book one and Amari knows she much be queen. When they arrive they are welcomed, but Amari’s mother soon comes and drives them away. In the time they were gone, a rebellion sprouted and it is headed by people Zelie knows. Roen, turns them in to the rebellion for a bounty, and then is off. Zelie and Amari join and Zelie becomes the head of the Reaper clan.
While Zelie and Amari were fleeing, Zelie had a dream and found out that Inan was alive. Inan survived, and was being taken care of by his mother. He is now in charge of the monarchy. He too wants peace like his sister does, but his mother won’t let him have it (and no one from the magi trust him). He knows he just needs to talk to them, face to face, to show he means the truth. However, he decides to set the capital free, and with his ability, he takes all the magi insurgents captive.
Zelie and Amari fight on what needs to be done and Amari challenges the Connector Elder and becomes the new elder. They then travel to the sacred temple to get their scrolls but Inan and the Queen Mother are there. Fighting breaks out, they burn all the scrolls they can’t carry. Zelie realizes that Amari has the same power as her mother, and Inan saves Zelie’s life (not that she trusts him after it).
They return to the strong hold and Amari uses a spell to speak to Inan. The two agree to draw up a treaty. He brings it and tells only his best friend of his departure. His mother uses is as a way to retaliate. The Maji are attacked and fight back thanks to Zelie but Zelie’s second in command dies. Inan discovers that his mother was the one who framed the maji for the beginning of the raid (and the death of so many). Amari and Tzain say their love yous while Zelie and Roen hit it off more.
Final battle hits. Amari thinks Zelie dies and uses a powerful cloud of magic. Zelie survived and with the help of others is able to bring back all those who Amari killed. Inan betrays his mother and the maji go to attack the capital, in the last bit a strange gas hits them all and Zelie awakes on a boat in the middle of the ocean.
What I Liked:
Zelie progress; She drove me crazy for most of the book. She didn’t listen to Amari, and honestly if she had I wonder if things would have changed. I do understand her decisions, however, and for that I can not fault her. She never wants to bury someone she loves again, and she just wants to be safe. Her speech on what it means to have a home was so perfect. I can not wait to see how she grows in the next book. The first she was vengeful, the second she was remorseful, the third? Who knows?
Amari progress; This girl went from being sweet to twisted in one of the best ways. She was so caught up on doing the right thing and saving everyone that she ended up almost destroying everything she cared for. She almost became her mother (thanks to Zelie she can’t be). I watched as this girl saved the world in the first book, and fought back against the chains and then in this book had to find her way in a world where no one wanted her and no one listened. She tried and tried again to have them listen, only for it to be rejected. Then she was listened to and got the power but a mistake almost ended everything, because she couldn’t choose to strike and to risk it all. The last bit of goodness died in her the moment Inan “betrayed” her (i.e. mother stalked the son to them and attacked). She knew then that she had to risk anything and everything to destroy the throne. When she did so she saw what it caused and the goodness she thought had died came back. She decided to let go of being queen, because she does not deserve to lead, and it is that, that alone, which is going to make her the exact queen she has to be. If book three works the way I think it will, it is going to be Amari’s redemption and refocus arc, where she grows to be the type of leader she should have been all along and I’m all for it.
Roen; I actually liked him a lot and what we learned about him in this book. I hope the next book lets us learn even more.
Inan progress; This boy I want to throttle. How could he not tell that his mother was the big bad (obvious, he loves her and wants to believe the best in her). His mother was so obviously villainous the whole book, but also so kind to him. He breaks my heart because he was just used, used so much, and I wished he had the spine to stand up to his mother. He did at the end and the moment was glorious.
Lots of death; While they did bring back an entire group of people (which was important for theme, so I’ll let it pass) so many MORE people died in these pages. We got named characters, unnamed characters, so much war that it felt like war. Even when the people came back to life (once again for that theme) it felt deserved, it felt right, it felt good. It wasn’t a cop out, because we had so much other death throughout it all. The plot lined up so well for this.
Queen Mother Nehanda; Ohhhh man. She made my skin crawl. Saran made me so angry, I hated him, but I hate her too. She was the reason the Raid happened. She was the reason so many people were killed. And she was OK with it. That’s the worst part. She was okay with it because she wanted the others dead. She also killed Inan’s cousin and best friend. Her she is hating magic the whole book, but having magic the whole book like a wonderful hypocrite. Screw her. If she survived the final attack of this book… Oh, who am I kidding, she did. She is the big bad, the final bad, the last bad they have to face as they come together in the end. How I will savor her ending.
Magic; This was so beautiful in the book. For all of the first book we had little magic but this one was loaded up in it. This book said “see magic?” and ran. We saw all the types, all the ways, all the powers. We had all the magic words, the culture, the beauty of it. I love it so much. My favorite part of the book.
Tzain x Amari; Too cute. I hope they make up. Amari did wrong, but she was fighting a war, a war she had to win to save everyone. I hope he forgives her. In general, however, I liked watching how their relationship progressed.
Zelie, Roen, Inan; Who will it be? The one Zelie is drawn to and can never escape (Inan) or the one who is her home (Roen)? I am not sure which one she will pick and for the first time, ever, I think that’s a good thing. Love Triangles typically drive me mad, but I like the way this one turned out thus far. Neither are perfect options for her, but they are options with their own pros and cons as people. I love Zelie with both of them in different ways, and I will be happy with which ever option she chooses.
Amari and Zelie; I love them and hope the best for them. They can change the world together. Their inability to talk to each other made me in such a fury but I understood it for the tension in their world. I still hated it, though.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Zelie’s Inability to listen; Now, while I did say I under stood it. It did make the book painful for me to read because I was screaming at her the entire time.
Inan’s lack of a backbone; I also understood this, and at the end it was brilliant but until then I wanted to destroy him because I could not stand him.
These two things made me not want to keep going, and its for that reason I rate it the way it is. As a sequel I think this book does really well. It lets the characters grow, change, progress, and become new people. I simply did not like the people they were as they were growing, and that’s okay. I don’t have to like everyone, and it def does not mean it was a bad book. Because when I was reading, I was sucked in. It just couldn’t keep me captured.
“If I’m to die where we stand, then I choose the moon over your ugly face.” – pg 137
“Stay with me. Be with me. Even if it’s wrong.” – pg 311
“Zitsol, you are my home. You don’t get to leave me behind.” – pg 371