Mayali is a fugitive from her home world of Zolpash, which is ruled by the Spider gods and their armies, who now have plans to invade Earth—it’s up to Mayali to thwart them.
She risks all to seek her father, who escaped years ago, ending up in Guyana. There, she meets Joseph, an astute, tech-savvy, deaf-mute young man who shares a connection with her neither of them could have predicted and turns out to be more helpful than Mayali could’ve imagined. Together, Joseph and Mayali embark on an adventure that finds them making new friends and foes, unraveling lies and cover-ups, and learning repeatedly that, even with the potential dangers, knowing whom to turn to can sometimes be as simple as trusting your gut. In trying to free herself and her people, Mayali navigates this new world with wit and moxie that make her an admirable protagonist. Brisk pacing and third-person chapters that alternate between the two Amerindian teens will have readers rooting for this duo and their allies—whoever they may really be. This Jamaican import, winner of the 2015 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature, is notable for the author’s fresh and clever take on Caribbean and Greek mythologies. With dialogue that deftly stays authentic while bridging the worlds of Guyana’s colonial past and its modern state, this story is magical realism at its best.
Guyanese author Baksh weaves a mesmerizing web in his debut. (Fantasy. 12-16)