[Minor Spoilers Ahead]
Everything that I loved and disliked in this installment was similar to what I pointed out in my review of Children of Blood and Bone: The pacing was too quick with little build-up between events that were meant to be climactic, the storytelling was too linear, and there were hardly any rules or structure to the nature of magic in this universe. Still, I enjoyed the variety and vibrance of the way magic manifested in characters, and overall it was a fun ride.
Much to my pleasure, the scale of magic usage increased quite a bit in Children of Virtue and Vengeance; something that I mentioned wanting to see in the first book. Author Tomi Adeyemi introduces new ways in which magic can be used, and we see the full variety of clans and their respective abilities in action. But while other clan abilities came to the forefront, my favorite clan — the Connectors — seemed to fall to the backburner in terms of what they were capable of. A minor annoyance at most.
My favorite character shifted from Inan to Amari, but only briefly because it didn’t take long for her to do something so ridiculous that I was left with no favorite characters for the rest of the book. Indeed, it definitely played into the theme of power and corruption in the story, but it was disappointing nonetheless.
Unfortunately, I found even more to gripe about in Children of Virtue and Vengeance than in the first book. Most of the tension and conflict introduced into the plotline were produced by frustratingly trivial misunderstandings between characters. This made the flow of events feel a little forced. Also, the intensity of conflict within the story seemed to plateau early in the book, to the point where seemingly climactic events thereafter delivered no shock value or emotional response from me. It wasn’t until the very end that my jaw slackened as I was slapped with a sudden cliffhanger. And I’m still not sure if this was due to surprise or disappointment. Probably a mix of both.
Hopefully the next installment of the series slows down a bit in order to allow for more depth and build-up.
Regardless of my mounting gripes with the series up to this point, I’m still very excited to see how this all translates onto the big screen. Adeyemi really has created a unique and enchanting world (with characters that are all PoC!) and I know it’ll at least be visually stunning.