Wow, I’ve had such a crazy busy week!
I wish I could say it was crazy busy getting my writing done, but that would be a lie. I still need to finish my first draft of Peace in Flames and then start the second draft of Summer of Peace. I’ve got a deadline and I’m really hoping I can meet it!
But no, there was no writing to be done this week. This past Friday was my 10 year wedding anniversary. (That’s ten years of managing to not annoy each other enough to smother the other while we sleep!) We figured that was good cause for a celebration, so The Husband and I ditched the kids with my sister and took a 3 day trip up to Duluth, Minnesota. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Harborview, only a 15 minute walk to Canal Park, which is the cutest little boardwalk area of Lake Superior. We spent one of the days of our trip touring the Glensheen Mansion (SO beautiful! And book research!), then driving along the scenic North Shore, eventually stopping in Two Harbors for lunch, then on to Split Rock Lighthouse (fun fact: my FitBit calculated the steps from the waters edge up to the top to be 9 flights! My legs were burning!), and finally on our way back to Duluth we stopped at Gooseberry Falls and checked out the waterfalls. If we’d planned ahead we would have worn our swimsuits and gone swimming under the falls! (Next time.)
All of the pictures are still on my camera (boo!) but I’ll probably share a few when I pull them off. Until then, here’s one of the shots I took on my phone of the upper falls at Gooseberry. Hubby and I parked ourselves on a bench (our legs were still burning from the light house steps!) and just took in the scene. You can’t find this kind of tranquility in the city, that’s for sure.
Did you guys do anything new/fun last week?
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Akata Witch #1
Read: June 14 – July 19, 2017
My Book Rating: 2.5 Stars
Release Date: July 11, 2017 (originally published April 14, 2011)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Reading Challenge(s): Beat The Backlist 2017, Flights of Fantasy 2017
ABOUT THE BOOK
Affectionately dubbed “the Nigerian Harry Potter,” Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world.
Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.
Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?
I received a copy of this book from Penguin First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
This is a really difficult book for me to review. There were pieces I loved as well as pieces I didn’t. On a whole, the story just never came together into a coherent storyline.
The setting of this book is very cool. It takes place in (what I imagine is) modern Nigera. I know absolutely nothing about Nigera, so it was a little bit of a culture shock for me to read about this area, but it was also cool and enlightening. As Sunny discovers her Leopard (their word for magical people) abilities, we get to know more about that sub-world, which was also cool, if a bit…odd.
The writing of this book feels middle grade, but there are so many situations the characters find themselves in that are beyond the maturity level of middle grade readers. Being touted as “the Nigerian Harry Potter” I feel like they missed the mark a touch. The first two Harry Potter novels, which I would consider to be lower YA/Middle Grade, did not have themes as dark as the later books. Akata Witch dove right in with the very dark themes.
So much of this book is spent building the world and magic system that the plot seems mostly forgotten. At one point we learn that Sunny and her Leopard friends are supposed to take out a Leopard man who has been kidnapping and murdering children. Instead of, you know, training the kids to take on this task… they’re given little tasks that don’t really do a whole lot to train them.
The book starts out with Sunny having a vision. And then that vision is pretty much forgotten throughout the whole book. It’s kind of a big deal, especially if it were to come true, but everyone just brushes it off.
All of the adults/mentors/leaders in this book are pretty useless. They’re mostly mean and more often than not, NOT helpful to these 12/13 year old children.
There’s also talk of Sunny’s mysterious (dead) grandmother. There’s very little talk of her throughout the story until the end. I feel like there was a missed opportunity, not making more use of her. I’d actually rather read her story than Sunny’s!
Do I recommend this book? I don’t know… this book was just all over the place for me. I liked the idea, but I think the plot needed to be tightened. Unfortunately it’s a miss for me. If you want to explore a magical world / culture that is pretty unique, this might be worth reading for you.
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But it was what I saw in the candle that stayed with me most. I’d seen the end of the world in it’s flames. Raging fires, boiling oceans, toppled skyscrapers, ruptured land, dead and dying people. It was horrible. And it was coming.
“Let me tell you something Chichi and Sasha have a hard time respecting,” Orlu said, putting his fork down. “Leopard People—all our kind all over the world—are not like Lambs. Lambs think money and material things are the most important thing in the world….Leopard people are different. The only way you can chittim is by learning.”
Realizing what she was was the beginning of something, all right. . . But it was also the end of something else.
“This is crazy.” Sunny couldn’t stop grinning. Life was getting weirder and weirder. But this weirdness she really liked. If she could do this at will, nothing could harm her. Not even her father when he was angry.
“You guys never had a chance,” Ibou said. “Girls belong on the damn sidelines.”
“Do you know what century it is?” she asked.
“Sunny, you have friends and enemies in the spirit world, for before you were born you were a person of importance there. What kind of person were you? Well, that is something you’ll have to figure out.”