In the post-Potterised world, it comes as no surprise that Tomi Adeyemi’s first book Children of Blood and Bone saw a 24-year-old author make it to The New York Times bestseller list. And that’s where it hung on for over a year-and-a-half. If you were to look at any ‘best book’ list, you will discover it continues to pop up much to one’s astonishment. And while we are at it, it is worth mentioning that it has been optioned for a movie by Disney.
Somehow, her second novel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, was pushed back from its release date of March 2019 to June 2019, and then to December 2019. Apparently, Adeyemi’s publisher offered her two choices: June 2019 and December 2019. Maybe the workload was too much. You find that the author, editors, and publisher agreed to give the second book more time. And extra time does the trick. Naturally, Children of Virtue and Vengeance comes as a sequel where the heroine, Zélie, finds success in her quest to bring magic back to her people, the Maji, in the land of Orïsha. But the nobility and the military now have powerful magic, too.
And as time goes by, one realises that one tends to underestimate the power of institutions. But the establishment is old and powerful because it was set up a long time ago by very rich and powerful people, who seem to have set their minds to neuter you, sort of take your right to expression away, to cut you off at the roots. In such murky waters, civil war looms large.
After battling the impossible, the girl, Zélie, and her ally Amari—a runaway princess, who has joined the rebellion, have finally succeeded in bringing magic back. But the ritual was more powerful than they could have ever imagined. It set aflame not only the Maji, but the nobles with their ancestry of magic too. As Zélie unites the Maji, she reaches breaking point. Can she? Or, can’t she? While the question becomes: Now what? And how will their personal traumas play out in a world where the entire system is against you. So what are you going to do? There’s the Maji clans: Iku clan holds the Maji of Life and Death; the Emi clan knows the Maji of Mind and Spirit, and Dreams; Afefe clan worships Ayao for the Maji of Air and the Imole clan knows the Maji of Darkness and Light.
And the wrestling is not all external. The fight is centripetal—a fight with yourself. Even as you end up asking yourself, who am I? What are you struggling with? What is it you seek? Is what you’ve what you really want? And after the battle royal, are you still on the same page? It’s about kind of how complicated things are—especially when you dip into star-crossed love. You can focus on getting magic, but then you’ll see that magic was never the problem. It’s the rainbows of the mind that say it all.