Book Review Date: October 2nd, 2019
Written By Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orîsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames. Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed once magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, the mani were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orîsha, where snow leopanaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest threat may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for an enemy.
I have taken to writing my reviews quite a long time after the books have been read, but I’m starting to wonder how wise that move was. Int he past, I would review books the very same day I finished them, if I could, because I wanted my reaction to be fresh. But I would find later, looking back, I barely remembered the story at all and the review felt a little false. So I started waiting. And then I got busy. And then the wait lasted months. This is my current problem. I have over 30 reviews to write, and only three of those books were read in the past two months. Everything else has been waiting a much longer time. This book, for example, I read in preparation for one of my Nerdy Post box themes: YA Fantasy. The problem was that was in the early spring. It’s early fall, now. Both my kids celebrated birthdays, we lost a pet, I got in over my head in freelance projects on top of the work I had for my own box. I have forgotten things. In this case, the plot of this book.
What I remember about this one, is that I really enjoyed it. I know I have a strong reaction to fan art of Zélie, where I just want to hang it all up on my wall. But for some reason, as I’m trying to recall the actual story, I’m drawing a blank. I read Black Leopard Red Wolf right around the same time as this one, and I think, in the passage of time, my mind has warped the two stories together in spots. I suppose that is what I get for reading two fantasies set in Africa (or African-like places) in close succession. These stories are so refreshing, being set in a culture and place you honestly never see in fantasy, so I’m bummed that this has happened. Every time I try to point out a moment I know is in this book, it starts to merge into the other one, and I second guess what I know about the story. What I know for sure is that I look forward to the next book, and will likely be able to iron out what was from which book once I’ve started reading book 2. I also know that this cover is beautiful and the lettering makes me happy.
My advice for you is that if you are interested in reading a story set in a world that really stands out from the YA fantasy pack, don’t read a similar one from the adult fantasy
I try not to think of her.
Strength cannot always roar … Valor does not always shine.