Okay, I found my first wallbanger of the year.
When I started the book, I was like: not bad, it’s an improvement from the 1st book, I’ll give you 3 stars. Oh hey, things are getting more interesting, maybe 4 stars. Then, oh no, why are you like this, Zélie? Back down to 3 stars, you go. Wait, what now? WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT, AMARI?! 2 stars! You get only 2! Then, when I read the last page, it took me all my restraint not to throw the book across the room. You are a sub-1 star read, Children of Virtue and Vengeance!
The pacing is choppy—some chapters are like three pages long. I almost got whiplash from the rapid changes in POV’s, and since some of the characters are basically in the same place most of the time, I sometimes lose track of whose POV I was reading. One of the major characters from the first book basically has nothing to do in this entire book. None of the characters are sympathetic by the end. Our protagonists now commit war crimes, stand by feeling conflicted while atrocities are done, and and even practice ritual human sacrifice to gain power. If you think the romance in the first book is bad, Adeyemi doubled down on that badness in Children of Virtue and Vengeance. And that fucking ending. I know where Adeyemi is going with this, and I am not even necessarily opposed to it—but to just slip that in there in the final page for a cheap cliffhanger? Cripes.
P.S. Also, I am pissed that the art style of the cover changed between Book 1 and 2.