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by C.T. Rwizi

Pub Date: July 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5420-2382-5
Publisher: 47North

Rwizi has crafted a sprawling, African-inspired world for his debut novel.

Following the death of his mentor, Salo, a young man with an innate gift for the "women's work" of magic, takes the responsibility of his clan's future on his shoulders when he passes the ordeal required to become their much-needed mystic. His new duties lead him across the land, into Yonte Saire: the Jungle City, also known as "the world's beating heart," a place brimming with magic and mysticism. He's accompanied by a handful of allies, including Ilapara, a young woman who also wants to take on a role not traditionally given to members of her sex. Although Rwizi's writing is compelling, the hero's journey—first to becoming a mystic, then to Yonte Saire—loses momentum as he leaves behind family and friends who have played major roles in the story so far and makes hastily forged alliances with new compatriots. Due to the inclusion of several subplots which prove less compelling than, and largely superfluous to, the main story, the novel has nearly come to a close by the time Salo has the chance to redeem himself for the death that spurred him to action.

An ambitious debut that may reach too far for its readers to follow.