Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi has announced the title, cover, and release date for the final book of her legendary YA fantasy trilogy Legacy of Orisha. The book titled Children of Anguish and Anarchy is set to be published June 25, 2024 through Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan.
Inspired by the Harry Potter series, West African mythology, and police violence against Black people, Adeyemi’s debut novel Children of Blood and Bone (2018) is the first book in the trilogy. Set in the land of Orisha ruled by a tyrannical king, it tells the story of the young Zélie Adebola as she attempts to restore magic to the kingdom and resist the monarchy. The sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance was published a year later in 2019, but there’s been no update on the third book until now.
In the final book, Zélie will find new allies and face her final enemy, the terrifying King Baldur. Read the synopsis below:
When Zélie seized the royal palace that fateful night, she thought her battles had come to an end. The monarchy had finally fallen. The maji had risen again. Zélie never expected to find herself locked in a cage and trapped on a foreign ship. Now warriors with iron skulls traffic her and her people across the seas, far from their homeland.
Then everything changes when Zélie meets King Baldyr, her true captor, the ruler of the Skulls, and the man who has ravaged entire civilizations to find her. Baldyr’s quest to harness Zélie’s strength sends Zélie, Amari, and Tzain searching for allies in unknown lands.
But as Baldyr closes in, catastrophe charges Orïsha’s shores. It will take everything Zélie has to face her final enemy and save her people before the Skulls annihilate them for good.
Just as exciting as the synopsis is the stunning cover that depicts the powerful Zélie directly looking at the reader with dreadlocks in her hair, gold eyeshadow, and a beaded chain mask covering the lower part of her face. The cover is designed by the brilliant Lola Idowu. We love the bold and feminist look that the cover opts for, mirroring the themes of the trilogy.
Adeyemi remarked that she is incredibly proud of the book cover in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
I think what the cover conveys the most is Zélie’s growth and evolution. In every book in this series, she’s been sent on a harrowing adventure, and the finale is no different. When I look at this cover, I feel her power, her beauty, and her strength — the command she’s harnessed from deep inside. I also see a clear homage to the Orisha and Santería — the source of inspiration that found me in Brazil, and started this entire journey. But most of all, when I look at this cover, I feel pride. As my dad says every time he looks at it, ‘Zélie’s all grown up,’ and throughout this series, I feel like I got the opportunity to grow up alongside her.
Adeyemi added that many political events fed into the creative process of the series including police brutality, the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and the persecution of women in Brazil. These continuing issues made Adeyemi decide the key through line of the third book as “the idea of a woman not having ownership over her body, that being violently taken away from her and fighting to take that power back for herself.”
Adeyemi said that these themes of anguish and anarchy were ultimately what led to the title being what it is now:
There is a lot of anguish for the characters in this book. I mean, I put them through a lot throughout the entire series, but I think in this book in particular, the characters are both fighting a conflict out in the external world and also inside of themselves, because they’ve just been taken completely out of anything they ever thought they would be battling with. They’ve spent the first two books in the series fighting maji against non-maji, maji against the monarchy, fighting with the grief of the past and fighting for a new future. But in book three, they have to face a bigger enemy, a larger enemy, and it’s something they never could have anticipated.
When it comes to anarchy, I know that’s a loaded term, but in this sense it means a kind of ‘breaking free.’ It’s not just tearing everything down, but about the beauty that can be born out of the chaos and destruction.
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer who graduated from Harvard University with an honors degree in English Literature. Her debut novel won the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, the 2019 Waterstones Book Prize, and the 2019 Hugo Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. In 2019, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and i 2020, she was named to the TIME 100 Most Influential People of 2020 in the “Pioneers” category.
Congrats to Adeyemi on the ending of her groundbreaking series! Preorder Children of Anguish and Anarchy here.