I had heard about this book long before it was published, that it was the next ‘must read’ and that it was different from the usual YA books, I had seen the book online and not clicked purchase on more than one occasion, but when I saw the eyes staring at me across the aisle in Tesco I couldn’t leave it sitting on the shelf. ( you ‘ll probably spot from the picture my shopping wasnt very productive, a book, wine and carrots to occupy the dogs while I read!)
The book is described on Adeyemis’ website as ” the first installment in a YA West African Fantasy about a girl who must fight against the monarchy to bring magic back to her people.” which is a refreshing change from being Americanised as so many books in the genre as these days.
The book is all about magic, fear and loyalty. Our Main character Zélie remembers magic, but not very well. Her mother is no longer around and her dad (Baba) and brother (Tzain) never had the gift of magic and between them they struggle to pay the ever increasing taxes King Saran imposes. A King who is afraid of magic and will do anything to prevent its return.
Fate introduces Zélie to the Kings daughter, Amari and her brother Inan and when the opportunity to have magic again presents itself Zélie must decide who she trusts, and if magic is worth saving.
Throughout the book there is a wonderful journey of development of the four main characters, all in different ways, and it is obvious from the last page that this story is far from over. It’s really hard to talk about this book without spoiling it. The twists and turns are tangled up in each other, and whilst I’m sure I read an article somewhere that the author wanted to write a West African book, with all West African characters partially be in the genre it hadn’t been done, I don’t think
it makes a difference to me, or was something I even would have noticed had I not known. The ritualistic parts which could be considered tribal are also true of many magic worship stories and the odd reference to skin colour, but the rest was as any other YA Fantasy novel is, and should be.
For a book I was waiting to find in a charity shop, ( unless Id found the version with the blood-red pages in Waterstones) I was engrossed. The story doesn’t stop, or slow its pace. Something is always happening and I guess that’s why it’s currently Number one on the Best Sellers List. Its one I anticipates will be around for a while, as the film rights have already been acquired by the same company that brought you Twilight and Maze Runner. Personally I’m more excited for the next book so i can dive back into the Legend of Orïsha.