Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the second book in the Children of Orisha series. The novel starts just after the events of the previous book, continuing the incredible tale of Zelie, Inan and Amari and the struggle of the maji. This book was quite different in some ways, since Zelie managed to release magic it means that all the maji now have magic, as well as some of the non-maji, named titans. This changes how the battles are fought , as well as causing resentment as people who have oppresed the maji for so long for having magic now have magic themselves. Tomi Adeyemi artfully weaves religion, culture and magic together to create a brilliant setting for a fantasy novel.
The setting of the novel is like none I have ever read in a fantasy novel before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The use of a different language for the maji added to the sense of a different world, and the source of magic, while quite traditional in being from the gods, was written in a refreshing way including religion seamlessly in the culture. The settings described were beautiful, especially the rebel base, an ancient sacred place.
This story was told from three viewpoints: Princess Amari, Prince Inan and Zelie, a maji. All the characters in this book were very realistic despite it being a fantasy, and having three viewpoints showed three distinct individual ways of thinking and seeing the world, giving the story greater depth than it would have from just one. Not only this, but the main characters genuinely behaved like young adults. They made huge mistakes and refused to listen to reason because they were angry. They gave up after fighting pointless battles and watching people getting killed, they doubted themselves and their abilities no matter how many times things went right, and it wasn’t shallow, silly worries that young adults are sometimes given, but the perfect mix between superficial and deep.
If there is one thing I will always love in a book, it is a rebellion. I love the unity of forces against a common enemy, I love the underdog fighting again and again to right things in a world gone so wrong, I like the struggle to win without becoming the monsters they are fighting. Children of Virtue and Vengeance follows every moment of the rebellion which I quite liked, since sometimes books skip battles or fast forward in time. Showing each battle emphasised the struggle of the rebellion, and having main characters on both sides, desperately trying to reach out and find peace gave an inside view into the heartbreak, humanity and hardship that went into every brutal decision of the war. The aftermath of each battle, not just the whole war was clear, affecting how the battle continued and causing the character’s change to be shown more gradually through the story. But it wasn’t just darkness, hope was also beautifully illustrated, how groups of people facing adversity can come together to find hope in the bleakest circumstance, how they don’t give up.
And the ending? I have just one word for that. WHAT?! Okay, I’m done now. I adored the elegant, sharp writing of this book, and would definitely recommend it (although please start with the first one).
I’ve decided to add to my reviews a new thing where I decide whether I would have survived the novel. So, would I have survived this novel? I’ll be honest, probably not, unless I was a normal person living in another land. Apart from that I would probably be just civilian casualty #135.