SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):
“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.”
I loved the first book in this series, Children of Blood and Bone, so I was very excited to see this at my library. That being said this book had a lot of ups and downs for me. When I was reading Children of Blood and Bone, I couldn’t put the book down because I was so sucked in, but with Children of Virtue and Vengeance I had to put the book down because I was so frustrated with some of the characters.
I was regularly frustrated with Amari and Inan. Inan is so completely spineless and can’t have a single thought of his own. He had grand plans in the first book and you understand his misguided prejudices. You would think after what happened to him in the first book, he wouldn’t be so susceptible to being pushed around by his mother. Amari, constantly insisting her way is right without any understanding of the situation at hand was frustrating to read over and over. It wasn’t until people died, that she was like “oh I really need to listen to other people”. Even though their actions frustrated the heck out of me, I don’t think they are necessarily a bad thing. Amari and Inan are outsiders trying to solve a problem that they truly don’t understand. They are not apart of the maji culture, and though their intentions are seemingly for the best, they don’t listen. This leads to their downfall.
Zélie’s journey is really incredible. This book handles her grief in a really believable way. She has become this savior to the maji, but magic has also killed everyone she’s loved. She really struggles with the weight of her new role in this revolution. There isn’t a simple, easy fix to her problems.
One big problem I had with this book was the forced romances. None of the romantic relationships felt genuine in this novel. They didn’t add anything to the story. I also wish we weren’t left with such a cliffhanger at the end of this novel. While I loved the cliffhanger at the end of the first book, this cliffhanger just felt like someone forgot to finish the chapter which was frustrating.
Overall, I have some mixed feelings about this novel. I think the pacing was a little too fast at times, sometimes I wished that we could let some actions breathe before we moved onto the next big plan. I really loved the handling of Zélie’s grief and trauma. I’m still interested to see where the next book in the series goes.