'GMA' Book Club pick: Read an excerpt of Tomi Adeyemi's 'Children of Virtue and Vengeance'

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'GMA' Book Club pick: Read an excerpt of Tomi Adeyemi's 'Children of Virtue and Vengeance' originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

"Children of Virtue and Vengeance" by bestselling author Tomi Adeyemi is the "GMA" December Book Club pick!

It's the blockbuster sequel to Adeyemi's debut novel, "Children of Blood and Bone" -- the West African-inspired fantasy series that has taken the world by storm. The 26-year-old Nigerian American writer's debut book spent more than 80 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list.

The series follows Zélie Adebola, who is on a quest to return the magic that was stolen from her people by the ruling class, all while on a journey of her own to embrace her own magic. In this new installment, Zélie has succeeded in returning magic to the land of Orïsha, but finds herself at a breaking point with the kingdom at odds.

"I am so excited that my new book, 'Children of Virtue and Vengeance,' has been selected as your December Book Club pick. I can’t wait to come back on 'GMA' and kick it all off with you next week," Adeyemi said. "So see you soon and happy reading!"

Robin has already read the book and couldn't put it down!

"The captivating fantasy, infused with rich West African culture, digs deep past the boundaries of imagination with a strong woman character at the helm," Robin said. "I could not put down Adeyemi's debut book and same with the wonderful sequel, 'Children of Virtue and Vengeance.'"

Start reading an excerpt now

Zélie and Amari have brought magic back to the land of Orïsha, bestowing powers to not only the maji, but also the tîtáns -- nobles with maji ancestry. The return of magic has thrust the nation into chaos, and as the only surviving royal, Amari must unite the country and restore peace. In this excerpt, she makes a public bid for the throne.

***

When we enter the dome, the sight is so brilliant it steals my words. There are so many people, more than I’ve ever addressed at once.

A sculpted mural fills the dome’s sand walls, carved bodies intertwined in dance and song. A large opening in the dome’s side allows a view of the sea. The tides kiss the sand at our feet.

"Wow," Tzain mutters under his breath, walking by my side. I lift my head to the sunlight spilling in from the large oculus in the ceiling. It bathes the crowd below in its warm rays, illuminating a wooden stage erected by Roën’s men.

The sea of people parts as I march toward the platform in the center of the dome. They part for me the way they parted for Father.

Strike, Amari.

I hear his voice as I ascend the steps of the stage. In Father’s eyes, this was never my destiny, yet it’s almost like he trained me for this day. He was the one who taught me I must cut through every opponent in my way, even if that opponent was someone I loved.

Fight, Amari.

I take a deep breath, squaring my shoulders and lifting my chest. I made Father a vow when I drove that sword through his chest. Now it’s time for me to secure my throne or lose it

"My name is Amari Olúborí." The declaration booms against the curved walls. "Daughter of your fallen king. Sister to the late crown prince."

Someone moves toward me in the crowd and my pulse spikes; I brace myself for their attack. But when the young kosidán kneels, my lips part.

I’m not prepared for him to bow.

"Your Majesty." He dips so low, his head touches the sand. His bow starts a wave throughout the dome as more people fall to their knees. A warm wave radiates through my skin as others bow along Zaria’s coast. There’s something sacred in the way they arc. Something I want so desperately to deserve. I left the palace a scared princess on the run.

Now I’m one speech away from taking the throne.

"Two moons ago I sat at a palace luncheon as my father murdered my best friend. Her name was Binta, and she was a divîner whose only crime was the magic that coursed through her skin." I clear my throat, forcing myself on though the pain of that day returns with each word. "My father forced Binta to awaken her gift against her will. Then, when her powers revealed themselves, he killed her where she stood."

Murmurs of dissent pass through the crowd. A few tears, some shakes of the head. In the back of the dome, a group of maji push their way in. Across the room, two burly soldiers exchange glares.

Our peace feels as fragile as glass, but I cannot shy away from the truth anymore. The maji have been silenced for far too long. If I don’t speak for them, who will?

"You may not have known Binta’s name before this moment, but I know you know her story. It is the tale countless Orïshans have faced, an unjust persecution that has plagued our divîners and maji for decades. For generations the story of Orïsha has been the story of divide. A story of violence and persecution that must end today."

The timbre in my voice surprises me; I can almost see it ripple through the dome. Someone shouts in agreement, and others join in. I blink as more cheers erupt.

The small show of faith emboldens me as I walk the length of the platform. The Orïsha I dream of is within my grasp.

Then I see a member of the Iyika.

The rebel stands in the middle of the room, a thick scar running down her left eye. Unlike the other maji in the dome, her forest of white coils is on full display, spilling onto her soft brown shoulders. Red paint stains her hands, the same color as the paint smeared outside the dome’s walls. Though she stands still, the snarl on her face tells me everything I need to know. She doesn’t want me to take this throne.

Sweat gathers beneath my helmet as I scan the crowd, looking for more rebels like her. I reach to make sure the metal still hides my streak, but looking back at the maji forces me to pause.

She doesn’t hide from my sight. She doesn’t conceal who she is. Why should I?

Strike, Amari.

From "Children of Virtue and Vengeance" by Tomi Adeyemi. Copyright (c) 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.

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