trigger warnings:war, violence, genocide, loss, trauma, abusive parents
”Just tell Zélie what you want,” he says. “She’ll listen.”
“No, she won’t.” I shake my head. “None of them will.”
And if that isn’t the entire mood of this book, then I really don’t know! People, buckle up because today I’m going to serve some hot tea and not everyone is going to enjoy it. I’m not here to please though so you either read my honest opinion or you don’t. It’s up to you. ;-P Okay, this out of the way let’s talk about why I didn’t enjoy “Children of Virtue and Vengeance”. To cut it down to the basics there was absolutely no “virtue” in this book and if anything the “vengeance” part was extremely pronounced! Like so extremely distinctive I just couldn’t enjoy the book anymore. Honestly after the about hundredth time these “children” (that is actually a very suitable description for the childish behaviour they showed) couldn’t decide whether to make war or not I kinda lost my patience. And I’m a very patient person…
Don’t get me wrong, the first book was great. I mean I had my issues with it but I was really looking forward to read book two because I believed that the author would learn from the mistakes of the first book. Unfortunately what I got was something totally different than I expected. There was so much potential! We had the tîtáns that suddenly appeared after the ritual and we could have had such great character arcs and a really solid and good story line but this wasn’t what we got. No.
”Marked by white streaks, the tîtáns appeared in the nobility and military after the ritual, displaying magic similar to one of the ten maji clans. But unlike us, their powers require no incantation to come forth. Like Inan, their raw abilities are quite strong.”
What we got were immature protagonists that fought amongst themselves at every opportunity. MCs that were incapable of listening to each other and that were so stubborn and stuck in their way of thinking that they didn’t even ponder the idea of peace. I mean honestly, who needs peace if you can make war and kill each other? Why save millions of lives if you can just send them to death? The maji and tîtáns don’t need peace, no, it’s way easier to annihilate each other and to destroy everything. Way to go! Totally good solution! I hope you notice my sarcasm because urgh, I just couldn’t with them. With all of them!! Every single character! It was so frustrating!! And before I go on and on I’ll just head to my characters section and vent my anger over there! Just in case you didn’t notice: I’m still salty. *lol*
Welcome to the land of doom aka Orïsha, where we all want to kill each other because happy endings are overrated! Who needs peace when you can have war? Oh yeah, and because we’re nice like that we’ll hand you lots of spoilers to deal with! Be prepared to be drowned in them. ;-P
Who is this girl and where did the real Zélie go?! It’s like her character turned around by 180 degrees and I don’t recognize her anymore. I mean she went through a lot in the first book, really A LOT but by the end of the first book she still was nothing like that! I so couldn’t with this new Zélie and I think fame got to her head. Everyone telling her what a special snowflake she is definitely didn’t do her any good and I wish she would have listened to the people that were close to her before she turned into the “Soldier of Death”. I don’t even have a single quote that would describe Zélie’s character because it was all over the place and there was nothing left of the girl we got to know in “Children of Blood and Bone”. I’m so disappointed by her character, I have no words.
”I pick up a navy tunic, squeezing the silk to keep the tears in. What right do I have to grieve when the sins of my family have caused this kingdom so much pain?”
And here we go with the second lead character I didn’t recognize anymore. Amari changed at least as much as Zélie did and I hated to see her blame herself for everything. Where is my strong and determined queen? Where is the girl that always tried her best and never gave up? It’s like Adeyemi set her up for failure from the very first page and the ending was so convenient because by then Amari really became the person every single one of the maji expected her to be. If Adeyemi wanted to destroy Amari’s character she did really well. I’m sure no one likes her after the ending of this book which doesn’t sit right with me because up until the halfway mark Amari tried to prevent a war and then suddenly changed direction just because she felt betrayed by her brother. It was like: I was betrayed by him. I need to answer to violence with violence, it’s the only way. No talk of peace anymore. Sure I mean if I tried to prevent a war for about 1,5 books I totally would change direction from one moment to the next. Wouldn’t we all?! Sorry, I’m getting salty again. But I JUST CAN’T!!
”I don’t care what you’ve done.” Ramaya’s attacks subside, a brief reprieve as she catches her breath. “If you want to help the maji, kill your vile family. Kill yourself.“
”Thes idiots bleed for you. They die for you. And all you want is to run away and lick your scars –“
“What right do you have?” I whip around. “You left your home!”
“Because I had nothing!” he yells at me. “I had no one. You’re going to win and you still have so many of the people you love! I don’t feel sorry for you. Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”
Roën was legit THE ONLY voice of reason in this book! Honestly, even Mama Agba was such a disappointment. She saw everything that went wrong and didn’t do anything against it?! WTF?! Oh gosh, I loved Roën so much for giving Zélie a piece of his mind! And he was totally right: At first she goaded everyone into war and then she suddenly didn’t want to be a part of it anymore?! I think Roën was the only reason I read this book until the end, because he was the only sane and reasonable character among a flood of stupid and stubborn warmongers. I really wish we would have gotten so much more of him because he seemed to be the only character that was worth my reading time.
”One victor shall stand at the end of this war. One ruler shall sit on my throne. I can’t hold back anymore. I have to take out the Iyika no matter what it does to Amari and Zélie.
This war ends with me.”
Good lord give me patience! There was so much potential for Inan’s character and… it all went to waste! Instead of forming his own opinion and doing the right thing he let himself be influenced by his mother and the people around him. Inan had absolutely no – I repeat – no character growth and even though he tried to find a peaceful solution for everyone and wanted to avoid a war it felt like he never really wanted to stop it. If you want to stop a war you take the risk and go through with it no matter the cost. No wonder Inan wasn’t successful; all his attempts at peace were just half-hearted and half-assed! You do things properly or not at all. Period! His stance of “I want peace but I still want to be king” was so illogical and it was no surprise the maji didn’t trust someone who held on to his crown like that. Uff…
Zélie & Amari:
„Don’t compare your scars to mine, Princess. You’ll lose every time.“
“I’ll lose?” I charge forward. “I’ll lose? You had two parents who loved you till their dying breath. A brother who stands by your side. Both my parents tried to kill me with their own hands! I took the life of my own father to protect you and the maji!”
All I can say to those two is: WTF?! I mean what happened to their amazing friendship?!!! Did I miss a memo? How did we get from respect, mutual understanding and trust to the sentence above?! I have no idea what I was reading but it definitely wasn’t the kind of friendship I signed up for. I hate what became of those two and I think if Zélie would have just listened to Amari and trusted her they could have found a way to peace. But nope, Zélie decided to be a b*tch and treated Amari like shit. I mean she didn’t even defend her against Ramaya and the things Ramaya said… if someone would say something like that to my friend I’d give them hell for it! And what did Zélie do? Nothing! She let the maji treat Amari like dirt and didn’t care. You know what makes me even more angry is the fact that they all treated Amari so badly and it was so, SO WRONG! And in the end after Amari really steps out of line and does something totally extreme and horrible it’s like: Oh, we were all right and it wasn’t our fault, it was Amari’s because she was wrong from the beginning. Never mind Amari tried to prevent the war from ever happening for about 3 quarters of the book. Never mind that Zélie was a total b*tch and sent so many of her own people to death and actually wanted to abandon them near the ending. Zélie is our precious heroine and she can do nothing wrong. URGH!
”You keep pretending all you want is to kill my brother, but I saw the way you two looked at each other at Chândomblé. I know there’s more in your heart than rage!” I point at her chest. “If you want to lie to yourself about how you really feel, fine. But if you damn us to this warpath, you’re putting innocent lives on the line!”
Zélie, Inan & Roën:
The pit of guilt in my stomach hardens, squashing my fantasy. But that same pit turns to a flutter when Roën slides a hand around my waist.
“Besides, what soul could be better off that far away from me?”
“You have three seconds before I cut off your arm.”
“Three whole seconds?” Roën smiles as the cart swings to a stop.
This was the most unnecessary love triangle I ever came across and I read so many books with unnecessary love triangles you have no idea. I mean seriously, what was the point of this?! We all know there’s no way Zélie and Inan will ever get together because they hate each other with a fierce passion. And that’s all the passion that will ever be between them. And after reading this book I can honestly say that Roën is way too good for Zélie. Just to think that he believes he isn’t good enough for her. Like excuse me: WHAT?! But you know: Having read so many love triangles I can already guess how this one might end: Zélie will get together with Inan despite all logic and Roën will most certainly die somehow. Because that is how you solve a love triangle like that. One person has to die. If anyone of you reads the third book please let me know with whom Zélie ends up with. I’d really love to hear about that one. *lol* Am I bitter about this love triangle, yes, yes I am.
Roën’s steps slow as he exhales, pressing his fingers to his forehead. I watch bewildered as he turns back to help her; metal drifting towards its magnet.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers, tears brimming in her silver eyes. One spills out and Roën wipes it with his thumb, his unbandaged hand lingering on the side of her face.
They stare at each other, and it’s as if we all disappear. Unspoken words pass between their eyes. Roën’s shoulders slump when he rises to his feet. “Me too.”
”Your mistake wasn’t falling for a monster, Zïtsõl. It was falling for the wrong one.”
“Are you supposed to be the right one?”
Roën smiles, but it doesn’t hold any joy. “I’ve never been the right anything.”
Amari & Zane:
”Of course.” Tzain grins. “I live to serve, my queen.”
Though he jokes, his words heat my skin. He’s the only one who looks at me like I deserve that title. The one person who believes I can lead.”
I said it after reading the first book and I’ll say it again: Their love story came out of nowhere and it’s still irritating af. *lol* Amari clearly was in love with Binta and no one can persuade me otherwise. I find it weird that she would fall for Zane like that and that he’d become her safe haven in such a short time. Also their love ended as abruptly as it started, which only causes me to be even more irritated by their relationship. At first she is everything for him and the moment she does something horrible and stupid he drops her like a hot potato because that is EXACTYLY what we do with the people we love! We can turn our feelings on and off like a light switch, don’t you know?! It must have been true love! Oh jeez, my sarcasm is showing today. I just can’t with this book! I can’t!
Amari & Inan:
”I only asked for one thing when I joined this fight,” she cuts me off. “All I wanted was to end Inan.”
“He’s my blood.” I narrow my eyes. “You know I could never agree to that.”
I really liked their sibling relationship … well up until the moment Amari didn’t even give her brother a chance to explain himself and decided to go into full war mode. What happened to the benefit of the doubt? I mean of course we wouldn’t even listen to our sibling. Why should we? We want war, so we’ll throw all caution and every reasonable and sensible thought out of the window and just go for it! Despite us trying to find a peaceful solution for 3 quarters of the book! Sure. Totally logical, right?! Can you still follow me? Nope? Well, I guess that might be because I couldn’t follow that logic as well. But here we go!
”Everything that’s passed between us flashes behind my eyes as I run. I see every way we’ve been hurt. Every face that we have lost. Binta. Admiral Kaea. Father. But worst of all, each other.
the moment I place my head against his chest, I don’t know who weeps harder. Me, or him.”
I hate to say it but “Children of Virtue and Vengeance” so wasn’t for me and it was a real struggle to get through the book. I just couldn’t with the constant back and forth between making war or making peace and the fact that the characters themselves just couldn’t seem to be able to decide for a clear path made this impossible to enjoy. The MCs were so inconsistent in their decisions and they were nothing like the characters from the first book. Characters I may add that had a lot of potential and could have had great arcs. I’m sorry but this book really wasn’t for me. I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy it and that’s totally okay. I really wish I would have enjoyed it too, but I just didn’t and I guess that has to be okay as well.