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Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi – Book Review

  • Title: Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha #2)
  • Author: Tomi Adeyemi
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • Release Date: December 3, 2019

RATING: 3.5 STARS

Zélie, Amari, and Inan are back in the sequel to Tomi Adeymi’s Children of Blood and Bone. In the next installment of the trilogy, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, the trio confront the fallout of magic’s return with each trying to navigate a new path forward in order to bring peace to Orïsha (and themselves). Yet, scars from their past continue to affect their visions for the future. As Zélie works to help Amari ascend the throne and bring the maji together, Inan sets out to preserve the monarchy and its rule. Still, Orïsha is in chaos and everyone faces new dangers. Zélie, Amari, and Inan must decide what kind of leaders they want to be. Their choices stoke strong feelings, such as shock, inspiration, and disappointment, just to name a few. Those choices also are made as people increasingly choose sides in the brutal war descending upon the land. Both sides weaponize magic in the struggle, and the characters’ decisions on how to wield that power change them – and Orïsha – forever

Tomi Adeymi’s highly anticipated sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, picks up the first novel’s saga and continues with all its thrills, strife, love, and angst. As with the first book, Adeymi skillfully builds a world that although seemingly unfamiliar compared to the one we know actually serves as a searing reflection of it. The ebb and flow pacing effectively balances action with development, engaging readers in a thrilling and emotional tale. The characters’ arcs are realistic in taking readers to the precipice of the darker reaches of their hearts and minds. The conflicts at the center of their struggles are complex and require unpacking, just like any real-world struggle. Unfortunately, the extent to which the author circles back to Zélie’s, Amari’s, and Inan’s internal deliberations about them becomes repetitive over time. Such repetition crowds out the nuances of those internal conflicts, which stunts deeper character development for readers. In the end, though, the book is simply compelling. A captivating beginning creates intrigue that will propel readers through the novel, and the heart-pounding ending will have readers marking their calendars for the release of the third installment. 

Students will no doubt voraciously consume Adeymi’s Children of Virtue and Vengeance. Whether for fun or a classroom novel study, the book will be popular amongst students and teachers alike. Just as Children of Blood and Bone serves as a vehicle to explore societal issues, such as racism and discrimination, this novel can do the same. Plus, since readers have already oriented themselves to the characters and their world own while reading the first book, they can spend more time while reading the second reflecting upon the ways in which the contests seen in Orïsha bring light to the systemic and institutional problems in our society today. The reading adventure continues…

Classroom Applications

  • Book Club or Book Exchange – Share the novel with students that enjoy reading fantasy novels.
  • Literature Circles – Use novel for small groups or choice reading for fantasy books or books about contemporary societal issues.

Nonfiction Connections: The list below outlines topics that will enrich your students’ understanding of the novel.

  • Yoruba Culture and Religion
  • West African History
  • Institutional Racism

Book Companions: The following are great books to pair with Children of Virtue and Vengeance. In parenthesis are the specific aspects students could explore when synthesizing across the texts.

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Character Connections, Themes)
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone (Character Connections, Themes)
  • An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir (Genre, Character Connections, Themes)

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