RELEASE DATE: March 08th, 2018
AUTHOR: Tomi Adeyemi
GENRE: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Magic, Adventure.
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children’s Books
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji 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 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 the enemy.
“Reality told us we would fail. But again and again, we fought. We perserved . We rose.”
I wasn’t really excited about this book when I first heard about it but the huge hype lured me into this world and I was hooked till the end. It totally lived up to all the praises and that cover was amazing, I can’t wait to know what the next cover looks like. The world building was exquisite and the magic was totally fascinating. The story was well written but In my opinion, it was more of an magical adventurous read and less of an action packed one. The main characters were great but I had few issues with one of them. The world building was fantastic. This book is a great start to a new series and it was hard to believe that it was actually a debut novel.
“Courage does not always roar. Valor does not always shine.”
Here’s my basic summary of the book. The land of Orïsha used to be hummed with magic, and maji(people blessed with magical powers from the gods) were well respected, but after some events in the past, people started to fear them and hate them. They called them maggots. The king of Orïsha has deep hatred for the maji. One night when magic suddenly disappeared, he sent his soldiers to every corner of Orïsha to wipe out all the remaining maji who’re left alive with their powers. Zélie Adebola can’t forget the night her mother who used to be a powerful reaper of souls was brutally killed in a raid when she was a kid. She currently lives with her baba and her Older brother Tzain. Since the raid, things hasn’t been the same. Her people are struggling to survive while facing the abuse both physically and verbally. A new hope arises when her paths cross with the rogue princess Amari who claims that they can bring back the magic they had lost. Zélie finally has a chance to fight against the monarchy and avenge her mother’s death but her journey is not an easy one when dangers lurks everywhere and they’re chased by a crown prince who’s very much determined to kill her and stop bringing back the magic into this world.
“You have your duty and your heart. To chose one means the other must suffer.”
This book has three flawed main characters Zélie, Princess Amari, and Prince Inan. Zélie is a strong, brave, and impulsive person. She’s a badass character but she also has some vulnerabilities. Although I liked her, She didn’t made it into my favorites list. Princess Amari is without doubt my favorite character in this book. She’s very sweet and a compassionate person. I liked her character growth from the start. I enjoyed watching her grow from a naive princess to a fierce Lionaire. It kind of irked me when Zélie treated her quite harshly at the beginning. Nonetheless, I quite enjoyed the friendship between them. Well, coming to Prince Inan, his character was hard to connect with. He was totally confusing and boy, he has lot’s of inner struggles. He wants to build a new Orïsha with peace between them, and also wants to prove himself to his father who cares nothing but the annihilation of Maji. It was pretty hard to understand what’s really going on in his mind. He was totally brainwashed by his father since young. Just because I had issues with him, It doesn’t mean that I hate him. I really enjoyed his character but some of his actions frustrated me especially that last one. Can someone tell me whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy? King Saran, our villain in this book was totally ruthless and a fearsome guy. The horrors he inflicted on Amira and Inan was brutal. He’s definitely my least favorite character in this book.
“You know how to win,” she says. “Just make sure you know when to fight.”
Tzain, Zélie’s brother is a great addition to the plot. He’s a responsible son, and also a caring brother who loves his sister even though she’s a constant trouble maker. He travels along with Zélie and Amari making a perfect trio in this book. We’re also introduced to an interesting and a charming new character in the second half and I can’t wait to know more about him. The romance between Zélie and Inan was definitely slow burning. They hate each other but after that mysterious bond, I think it escalated pretty quickly. After that ending, I don’t know whether to ship them or not and there’s a small possibility of a triangle in the next book but I’m not sure yet. While this was going on, there’s another love blooming between Amari and Tzain. I wasn’t really expecting two romances in this book, but it’s okay I can handle more romances and their relationship seemed kinda cute so it’s no problem for me.
“Power is not the answer. It will only intensify the fight.”
The plot was engaging filled with magic, adventure, action, and a little romance. The story is a West African inspired tale centering around Nigerian/Yoruba mythology. I slowly devoured the whole thing, It was a large book, but I never felt bored. The pacing was fast but there are some slow parts allowing us to get connected with the characters. Although I loved this book, I need to be honest that some aspects of the story felt a little bit cliched. The twists were surprising but the last one shocked me even though I predicted it. The book was told from Zélie’s, Amari’s, and Inan’s POV. I wish we also had Tzain’s POV, I don’t know why he didn’t get his own POV. The world the author created was totally awesome, It’s the best part of this whole book. The writing was descriptive and stunning. Tomi explained the world of Orïsha in great detail with her beautiful prose. The magical system was very intriguing, I’ve never read books inspired from a Nigerian Mythology. In the world of Orïsha, there are eleven maji clans who are divided by their magical powers. I liked the magical symbols that represent each of its clan, they’re very interesting.
“Your people, your guards – they’re nothing more than killers, rapists, and thieves. The only difference between them and criminals is the uniforms they wear.”
Overall, I loved this book! It was a magical ride filled with lots of adventure but the main theme of this book is fighting against racism. The ending didn’t feel like a huge cliffhanger to me but it was an interesting twist and I can’t wait to know what happens next.
An infinite times YES!
I highly recommend this book to all the YA fantasy lovers! Pick this up ASAP, if you haven’t read it yet.
MY RATING: [4/5 Stars]