CHILDREN OF VIRTUE AND VENGEANCE – Tomi Adeyemi

In 2018, debut author Tomi Adeyemi spun onto the literary scene with her magi and brilliant sparks of magic. The book deal was phenomenal.  Movie rights have been acquired.  Disney is at the helm.  It’s a big flipping deal.

I  devoured Children of Blood and Bone and encouraged my readers to join in the “magi uprising.”  I did, however, find flaw with the love story, and my April 1, 2018 review reads as follows:

The love story, half-assed and out of place, was an insult. This was not, nor should it have been, a struggle of the heart. This novel would have been stronger without that pesky Romeo & Juliet story line. Trust me. Inan’s conflict should never have been with Zelie. It was always with himself, sweet Amari, and his father. Always. That story is written on their skin, in their blood.

Flash forward to 2019.  The second book of the trilogy was pushed out twice, I believe, before finally hitting the shelves in December.  Having now read Children of Virtue and Vengeance, I have some opinions as to why it was delayed.

In book deals, where there are deadlines, many authors falter.  Tomi Adeyemi likely spent YEARS building what became Children of Blood and Bone.  And then she sold it as part of book deal, which means she had to deliver book two on their schedule.  I think that may be why it is rushed, jarring, incomplete; the magic is simply gone as the half-assed “love” story eats at the plot.

When I posted that Inan’s conflict was with his family, I didn’t realize how accurate a statement that was.  And that conflict had the potential to be absolutely brilliant in this novel.  But it wasn’t realized.  It wasn’t developed.  Instead, hollow characters made hollow decisions with cheap literary tricks revolving around emotions like love, lust, and anger.

All the beautiful world building was lost.  The momentum behind the magi uprising fell flat.  Forced words.  Forced plots.  Empty characters.  And it hurts me to say that, because I loved this world so much.  I’m hoping this book was just a rocky path to get us to book three, which will light up with that magic again.

Despite my less than glowing comments, the novel isn’t all bad – the last quarter of the book gives me glimpses of what I loved so much in Children of Blood and Bone and the ending has me excited for what can be done in book three.  I just wish there had been better character development and building in this one – the characters deserved it.  I will still read the conclusion, currently slated to be published next year, and I hope they get the flesh on their bones I was seeking in this book.

I’ll end this with Mama Agba’s words: “You are the children of the gods. You shall never be alone.”

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