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A few months back, Adeyemi unveiled the cover for Children of Virtue and Vengeance, the second installment in her Legacy of Orisha trilogy, forthcoming on 3 December 2019. She told Essence that she had difficulty finding the perfect cover, before deciding on the one by the artist Sarah Jones, and that it is important that the cover depicts black people and black women. She added that it was no mistake that [protagonist] Zélie’s hair goes from straight on the cover of Children of Blood and Bone to 4C on the cover of Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

Entertainment Weekly recently published an exclusive from the forthcoming novel. In it, we meet Amari as she prepares to make a public bid for the throne. Here is an excerpt.

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“My name is Amari Asiwaju,” I declare to my reflection in the cracked mirror. “Daughter of King Saran. Sister to the late crown prince.”

As our warship nears Zaria’s shores, I attempt to feel the power embedded in those words. No matter how many times I speak them, they don’t feel right.

Nothing does.

I pull the black dashiki over my head and toss it onto the growing pile of clothes on my bed. After weeks of only living with what I could carry on my back, the excess gathered by Roën’s men feels foreign.

It brings me back to mornings in the palace; to biting my tongue while servants forced me into gown after gown under Mother’s orders. She was never satisfied with anything I wore. In her amber eyes, I always looked too dark; too large.

I reach for a gold-tinted gele on the floor. Mother was always fond of the color. I nestle the headdress along my temples and her voice rings through my ears.

That’s not fit to wipe a leaponaire’s ass.

My throat dries and I set the gele down. For so long, I wanted to shut her out. Now I don’t have a choice.

Focus, Amari.

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? I slide the tunic over my head and return to the mirror. There’s no time to cry.

I have to atone for those sins today.

“I stand before you to declare that the divisions of the past are over,” I shout. “The time to unify is now. Together, we will be unstoppable!”

My voice trails as I shift my stance, inspecting my fragmented reflection. A new scar spills onto my shoulder, crackling like lightning against my oak brown skin. Over the years, I’ve grown used to hiding the scar that my brother left across my back. This is the first time I’ve had to hide Father’s.

Something about the mark feels alive. It’s as if Saran’s hatred still courses through my skin. I wish I could erase it. I almost wish I could erase him—

“Skies!” My fingers flash with blue light. I wince at the burn. I attempt to suppress the navy glow that shimmers around my hand, but the room spins as my new magic swells.

Midnight blue tendrils shoot from my fingertips like sparks from a flint. My palms sting as my skin splits. My scars rip open at the seams. I gasp at the pain.

“Somebody help!” I shout as I stumble into the mirror. Crimson smears across my reflection. The burn is so great, I can’t breathe.

Blood trickles down my chest as I fall to my knees. I scramble to put pressure on the wounds. My magic cuts me from within. I wheeze though I want to scream—

“Amari!”

Tzain’s voice is like shattered glass. His presence frees me from my mental cage. The pain fades ache by grueling ache.

I blink as I find myself on the tarnished floor, half-dressed with my silk tunic clenched in my hand. The blood that smeared across the mirror is nowhere to be found.

My scars remain closed.

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Continue reading HERE.

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Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a Staff Writer at Brittle Paper. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, his work has been published in McSweeneys, Clarion Review, Charles River Journal and elsewhere. He was longlisted for the Awele Creative Trust Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award. In 2019, he was named by Electric Literature as 'One of the Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction' in a feature introduced by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He is a regular contributor with the New England Review of Books and lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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