Pages: 531 pages
Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction & Literature, Fantasy
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were 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 Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
Am I missing something here? Is there something wrong with me since I don’t consider this book to be the most spectacular thing I have ever read? The worst part is that I really wanted to like this one. I mean, what is not to like? The premise had everything a reader dreams of: fictional characters of colour, the main protagonist of a fantasy novel a POC character. These are the type of elements the publishing world needs. This novel was so unique compared to other fantasy novels that the chances of me not being amazed by this one were slim.
But once again, the evil clutches of book hype grabbed a hold of me and tricked me away from my instinct.
Where shall I begin with this book? One, this book was too long. I cannot think of any plausible reason that would justify the reason for the current length of this book. It was torture trying to get through this, and I was reading it bu using two different formats: an e-book and an audiobook. My annoyance increased when I noticed how repetitive the author was. Her repetitiveness was not a literary technique but a practice that just frustrates the reader. I get it. Each of the characters’ either had a motive for embarking on this journey. However, the constant reiteration of that emotion made me lose my interest not only in the story but also in the characters. There was very little connection between me and the characters, which leads me to my next issue.
Readers always feel a relationship with a book’s characters. It cannot be said about this one. The character development of this novel was atrocious. For a book this long, you would think that the development of the characters would take the time and precision it deserves. That was not the case here. It felt rushed and underdeveloped. I eventually stopped caring about what was happening to them and that is something you don’t want in a fantasy novel. The only character I had lukewarm feelings was Amari. However, she gets the little stage time that she wholeheartedly deserves. There was just no time. The multiple personalities didn’t help matters. It was an unnecessary aspect and something, I feel, hurt the book.
It is not that Adeyemi is a bad writer. It is just that her style was not engaging and doesn’t, I think, make a reader engrossed in the story. It had a pompous sort of type of writing attitude. It felt unnatural and she had to prove how much smarter she is compared to the general public. She created a great fantasy world, but unlike other fictional magical worlds, I had a hard time picturing it. I just couldn’t picture myself there and I am not saying that because of the setting of the political environment in the book. I just could not imagine it as a real place and I think that was the fault of the writer.
I’m sorry but this fantasy didn’t grab me as it did for a thousand readers. This was neither compelling or engaging and completely missed its chance on being revolutionary. Please…please don’t put this book on a pedestal. There are much better fantasy novels that do and will eclipse this one.
Overall rating: 1 out of 5 stars
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