Series: Legacy of Orisha #1
Published by Henry Holt & Co (3.6.2018)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 525 pages
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Source: I own it
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.
We are all children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue.
The first time I tried this book, I was reading it. I made it 254 pages into the ARC – which is right around halfway through – before I gave up. I was bored out of my mind, and other than the awesome premise (magic!!) and diverse setting/characters, it felt extremely generic. I couldn’t connect at all, and didn’t find the characters very inspiring. I kept getting lost in the switching POVs and forgetting who I was reading because they felt exactly the same. The writing wasn’t memorable, either. (And let’s not even start on the ‘I let out a breath I didn’t realize I was holding’ BS.)
Basically everyone else rated this book 4 or 5 stars. The average rating on Goodreads is 4.28, for crying out loud. People were losing their minds over this book, and every time I saw another raving review talking about how amazing this book was, I got a little bit saltier. Did I read a different book than everyone else had?! Why didn’t I enjoy it?!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Baa, baa, black sheep.
So, I finally caved and tried again. This time, on audio. And while I still didn’t love it, I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by Bahni Turpin’s incredible narrating. She was phenomenal! (More on that in the audio breakdown below.) The audio totally saved this book for me. Like I said, it wasn’t amazing, but I did enjoy it for the most part!
With the audio, I was able to get attached to the characters. I liked how fierce Zelie was, how resilient Amari was. I could have done without the switching POVs, but it did give a little insight into how the characters felt. Especially Inan, who was kind of an enigma. I couldn’t get on board with the Zelie/Inan feels, though. I never really liked Inan and didn’t trust him. View Spoiler »I was right *rolls eyes* « Hide Spoiler I was much more into the fab friendship development between Zelie and Amari!
For a High Fantasy, this book was pretty generic. The gem of this one is really the diversity and Nigerian culture (although I have seen a couple people say that the representation of Yoruba isn’t exactly appropriate). The ending was pretty crazy, though, and I’m interested to see where things go in the next book!
Like I said, Bahni Turpin is P H E N O M E N A L. She brought the characters to life and gave them emotion that just didn’t exist in the book (or at least not for me). I could always tell who she was narrating based on her inflections, so the switching POVs was no longer a problem. She made them seem so real! I loved her narrating so much that I immediately went to Audible and downloaded The Hate U Give! If it weren’t for the audio, I would never have finished this book at all. I’m glad I did, just to cross it off the list since it was basically the biggest release of 2018.
Writing style: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 3/5