One of my most anticipated new reads for 2022 is finally here and let me say the important part first– it did not disappoint!
When we last saw teenaged magic student Tomori Jomiloju Young, he had survived remedial magic summer camp, traveled to the spirit realm, made a bargain with Olokun himself at the bottom of the sea, and gained admission to the premier magic school for practitioners of the African diaspora. He’d also managed to take all the YA magic school tropes made famous by the likes of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter and make them blackity-black and much more fun.
This time around, it’s just as wild. TJ and his friends Manny and Ayo have to figure out how to keep their promise to Olokun, avoid the sinister Keepers, and pass all their exams. There’s also the problem of a love triangle(not the one you’d think) and the Orisha themselves. Divine beings can be tricksy, and TJ and crew have to stay on their toes to keep up.
Like the first, this installment of TJ’s story is a lot of fun. Nigerian international magic school is an absolute joy (once again, I wanted to eat in the cafeteria). I love how West African mythology and ancestral religions are integrated into the story, and once the action starts it never stops. TJ is such a nice kid that the reader really feels his wins and losses. His community is also great–ever wondered how a magical Black mom would handle attacks on her son? (Let’s just say Molly Weasley could never.)
The stakes are much higher than before, and the crew is much more mature. The level of violence and danger made me uncomfortable for a moment until I realized it was art imitating life, in a way. Black kids all over the world have to grow up fast more often than not. They’re still kids but sometimes the stakes are higher than they should be, even if it’s unfair. In the end, I liked that the kids in this book were young but also took on heavy responsibilities, with the adults supporting them every step of the way.
Two final thoughts: the ending of this book shocked me. TJ’s world is about to get a LOT bigger and I really want to see where the story goes next.
Also: (redacted for spoiler) and Shango. Yooooo….!
Go buy and read this series. Five stars, a plate of puff-puff, and some cloud-stepping kicks to The Windweaver’s Storm.
(Fellow readers! The first book in the series was one of my favorite reads and biggest surprises of 2021. The second book keeps the momentum going, so get your hands on it if you can. The book is only available through the author’s Amazon portal at the moment, and like all amazing indie books by authors of color, I invoke a temporary retraction of my Amazon clause. As always, you can support this blog by buying from the Equal Opportunity Bookshop, and most of the links to books on the rest of this site will lead you there. Peace!)