Ahoy there me mateys! This be the second book in me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list. I had been on the fence about this book for quite some time. But the book won the 2018 Goodreads Choice for best debut author and then I read matey Paul @ paul’spicks review and so decided to give this one a shot. Unfortunately I be in the minority for this one. I kinda hated it.
I listened to this one in audiobook format and thought the production values were fantastic. I also thought the world-building was great. I absolutely loved the Nigerian-based setting and the gods and the magic system. I thought there was some beautiful imagery in the writing. I enjoyed the characters of Zelie and Tzain overall. But sadly the plot absolutely failed me on almost every level.
The book started out strong and I also liked the very end of the novel in terms of how Zelie uses her magic but the points in between were just so cliche. The two sets of siblings of course fall in love with each other. Both Zelie and Inan are full of angst and make extremely stupid choices just to further the plot. Over and over again. I hate the enemy to lover trope in this. How the group found the quest items were laughable. Bad people show up time and time again for silly reasons. There is an epic sea battle in the desert that drove me bonkers. Plus the book is at least 150 pages too long. Other than the world-building, the actual book was run-of-the-mill. I was bored for most of the aimless wandering and wanted more action. There was also a lot of torture in this book from both the good and bad guys.
I am glad that the other crew members loved this one but for me it walks the plank. Arrr!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
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.
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