Seventeen-year-old Zelie Adebola is tired of the injustices against her people. Under the king’s rule, Majis are targeted and killed daily for merely who they are. With the help of her brother, Tzain, and an unexpected friendship with a noble girl, Zelie is determined to bring back magic to all Majis in order to fight back against all the injustices. Will Zelie be able to bring back change for her people in time or be killed by the king’s guard trying?
This book was absolutely terrific and an emotional read for me. For one main reason, this is a West African fantasy novel. I think it’s safe to say there aren’t many books out there in this genre that focuses on black culture or history. Tomi Adeyemi did a fantastic job on presenting the Orisha mythology while weaving together an undeniable truth of African American struggles in a heartwrenching story.
One of the many things Adeyemi does well is the ability to catch the emotions of her readers with her beautiful writing style. There are many parts in this book where the rawness of her description utterly wrecked me. Here’s an example:
” She hung from a tree like an ornament of death in the center of our mountain village . . .” P. 501
Adeyemi doesn’t write to tell a story, in this book, she writes to touch the soul. I cried, laughed, and screamed countless times while reading this book.
Also, Adeyemi brilliantly mirrors the condition of African Americans to that of the Majis people.
“We are the people who filled the King’s prisons, the people our kingdom turns into laborers. The people Orishans try to chase out of their features, outlawing our lineage . . .” P. 27
After magic disappeared, Majis are targeted and killed. They are forced to live in poor conditions, and when they enter the “stocks,” or prison, it’s hard for them to leave. Today, African Americans are facing a similar plight with living restriction due to economic growth within their community and the prison system which is filled with primarily African Americans.
“Those stuck in the stocks toil endlessly, erecting palaces, building roads mining coal, and everything in between . . . It’s no more than a state-sentenced death sentence. An excuse to round up my people . . .” (P. 28)
It’s hard to overlook the significant message Adeyemi was sending to her readers. The hate that separates the people in this novel is the same hate we experience and give in reality. I was entertained and educated. I was made to see how we perpetuate our negativity to justify survival and superiority. You’ll learn, if you haven’t already, why movement matters, why taking power back matters, why change is worth everything you have to give.
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely! This is definitely my first five-star rating of this year! If you’re interested in rich history, power struggles, and fantasy, be sure to add this book to your reading list!