Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Finished on: 14 April 2020
Where did I get this book: Borrowed from my daughter
It’s been two years since Children of Blood and Bone came along and knocked our socks off. Ever since we read the story of maji Zélie and princess Amari’s adventures to bring magic back to their homeland of Orïsha, my daughter and I have been awaiting this day with bated breath.
Our anticipation was heightened on a trip to Paris in January. We were having tea in a beautiful restaurant and my daughter had gone very quiet. I looked behind me to see a glamorous lady (in an INCREDIBLE frock) at the table next to us who looked strangely familiar. “Mum, is that Tomi Adeyemi?” my girl asked so, of course, I had to go over and ask.
I was embarrassed and apologetic about disturbing her meal, but she leapt straight up and was SPECTACULARLY kind to my daughter, who’d burst into tears at confirmation that we’d bumped into one of her literary heroes completely by chance. My girl was glowing for the rest of the weekend, and I will love Tomi Adeyemi forever.
This second book doesn’t disappoint. It is an absolute roller coaster. Returning magic to Orïsha has not gone to plan – powers have sprung up in all sorts of unexpected places and unexpected ways. It would be enough if Zélie and Amari were just having to contend with fighting the old royal family, now led by Amari’s mother, the ruthless Queen Nahanda. But that often seems to be the least of their worries – the bigger risk to them all is their own angst.
I shouldn’t be surprised, having seen how gorgeous she was with my daughter’s powerful emotions in Paris, by how insightful Adeyemi is on the dramas of the teenage psyche. But it’s one thing to be crying because you’re faced with your hero in a lovely restaurant, quite another to have the fate of the kingdom in your hands whilst your hormones are raging.
Adeyemi does a stunning job of depicting her complex but delicious magical world. We learn more about all the different classifications of maji, and their various abilities and strengths. Again, it’s wonderful way to hook in the imaginations of teenagers (as well as their 42-year-old mums). And her characterisation is beautiful – we get to know many of our old favourites better, as well as meeting several new stand-out additions to this gorgeous world.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance is a gripping fantasy adventure with plenty to teach us about life in the real world. And a worthy follow-up to its predecessor.