A Torch Against the Night – Review

 A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night
A Torch Against the Night Book Cover

In A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT, Elias and Laia are running for their lives.

After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Book Review

I read A Torch Against the Night in one afternoon. It continues from where An Ember in the Ashes ended. Elias and Laia are on the run from the masks and need to get out of the city.  Elias is determined to get Laia out and help her save her brother from prison.  Laia needs Elias’s considerable skills to stay alive, and escape a city locked down by masks who are determined to capture Elias.

Helene Aquilla has become the Blood Shrike. She answers to the new brutal emperor Marcus and he has a terrible mission for her.  Track down her friend Elias and bring him back to the city for a public execution.

A Torch Against the Night is an action-packed read.  Laia is stronger this round, more decisive which is grand to see.  She supports Elias as they race to save Laia’s brother.  Helen remains a character caught in a terrible nightmare.  She must hunt for Elias, even though it means killing him.  Her quest is designed to break her and Marcus knows it.  There was no moment of softness for Helene, the Blood Shrike.

The field of battle is my temple.  The swordpoint is my priest.  The killing blow is my release.  I’m not ready for my release. Not yet. Not yet.

Elias Veturius, A Torch Against the Night

Elias, my favorite character, chooses a tough road in this book.  His only wish has been to live a quiet life, one of peace.  But, he has only lived by the sword and been trained to be the best warrior.  His willingness to sacrifice himself is both admirable and something to be sad about at every step. By the end, he has reached a point of no return and makes a choice that will change his and Laia’s lives forever.

The fight against the chains of slavery forged by the martial forces is underlying, growing by each chapter.  I loved meeting Elias’s adoptive mother most.  She is a skilled Kehanni (storyteller) and her tale helps Elias and Laia escape a tight spot.  Her words spark a revolt and I thought that was such a powerful scene.  As with Book One, there are terrible losses in Book Two.  I was happy and sad as I read the last chapter of A Torch Against the Night.  I cannot wait to get A Reaper at the Gates to discover the consequences of Elias’s decision.

Belonging – Review

Belonging by Christine Warugaba

Published by Furaha Publishers, based in Kigali, Rwanda. This book is available in March 2022. I received an Advanced Review Copy from C. Warugaba.

Summary

Belonging by Christine Warugaba is about Keza Rugamba, who was born in Kampala, Uganda to parents originating from Rwanda.  Their tribe is Tutsi and her parents fled Rwanda to escape the genocide of the Tutsi in the early 1960s. Keza grows up in Kampala, Uganda amidst the background of a military regime marked by raids in their home, and deadly robberies that stole her uncle’s life.  Despite the chaos, Keza’s family lives a relatively peaceful life and she completes her primary and high school education.

Two years before Keza’s high school graduation, Rwanda endures a tumultuous period, and soon after welcomes the restoration of peace.  A peaceful Rwanda has Keza’s father thinking of a return to their homeland.  However, Keza’s mother is traumatized by the loss of their extended family and is unwilling to return, so they remain in Kampala. In contrast, Keza’s Aunt Stella, her mother’s sister, makes the decision to return to Kigali, Rwanda.

Fresh out of high school, Keza begs her mother’s permission to go along with her Aunt Stella to see their homeland.  To her mother’s surprise, Keza insists on attending university in Rwanda.  Keza arrives in Kigali to live with her Aunt Stella and attend med school at the National University of Rwanda.

Belonging is a
Conversation Starter

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Rwanda soon becomes Keza’s second home. In a reflective moment, between holiday visits to see her parents in Kampala, Keza wonders, “Where is home?”

When Keza completes her university, she applies for and wins a green card.  A new adventure in a foreign country begins when Keza lands in New York. She finds herself working to survive a fast-paced, alien-biased world.  She is a qualified doctor in Rwanda, but in the United States, she needs to return to school and qualify for an American Medical License.

She works odd jobs to help meet basic needs and afford her new life in New York.  Keza almost drowns in the tedium of shift jobs, paying rent and upkeep, while studying for her medical license examinations.  She catches a break when she lands a job working at a weight-loss clinic in New York and gains a Kenyan friend and boss who does understand her struggle.  Keza strikes a work/school life balance as she works at the Makena Clinic.  She remains at the clinic for six years before she is disillusioned by the American Dream, and she finally decides to return to Kigali with a new dream, starting her own business.

The moment Keza lands in Kigali, her cousin Ivan warns her that Aunt Stella will make it a mission to get Keza married.  True to Ivan’s prediction, Aunt Stella embarks on a full campaign to get Keza married, which includes prayers and fasting.  Despite Aunt Stella’s obvious efforts, Keza starts a sincere journey to solidify her roots and create something belonging to her.

Thoughts

Belonging as a novel illustrates a quest to find a home.

Keza is in search of a place she can truly call hers.  She carries on her shoulders a difficult past faced by her ancestors: her parents, grandparents, and relatives in her Tutsi tribe. Because of this past, and an initial loss of her homeland, Keza becomes a woman forged by three distinct cultures from three different countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Western world.

She is highly educated.  Thanks to the experiences she faced in each world, she becomes intensely hardworking and independent.  By the time she is landing in Kigali, her mind is set on a specific goal, that is, building a successful business.  A goal she finds difficult to push aside to accommodate her aunt’s search for a husband for her.

At every step, Keza’s family remains supportive.  From her steadfast Aunt Stella who gives Keza unconditional love and support, marriage plans aside. To her cousins and nieces who help Keza when she is at her lowest and in grief.  They also celebrate with her during her highest moments.

Belonging does showcase impact points meant to start a larger conversation. The most prominent point speaks on the weight of traditional expectations concerning marriage beset on African women’s shoulders.  No matter the extent of their education or accomplishment.

Aunt Stella’s quest to get Keza married before she turns forty serves as a perfect example of this expectation.  In sharp contrast, Aunt Stella does not show the same desperate concern for her own son.  Her quest climaxes in a party with a house full of bachelors so that Keza may try to find someone who sparks her interests.  Aunt Stella’s desperation and concern for Keza’s marriage leads to health problems caused by constant fasting.  Concern for her aunt’s health forces Keza to the extreme idea of getting a fake boyfriend.

It was probably the only way Keza was going to meet someone. The experiences Keza lives through forge her character and her ultimate goals. The events of her life give her the strength to build a successful business in Kigali.  They also make her opinion on marriage different from Aunt Stella’s. I do appreciate the fact that in the end, these life experiences help Keza choose a partner who is right for her, on her own terms.

Belonging unfolds in the form of flashbacks at the start.  Much of the first part of the novel is told in a memory stream.  Keza remembers her past as she packs to return to Kigali. It is not a fast romance read. The story needs time to assimilate, as Keza works to find her place in the many worlds she encounters.

February 2022 Reading List

My February 2022 was filled with ACOTAR. I wonder if a series of books fill other people’s months. I went into ACOTAR with the same excitement I had when I was reading The Throne of Glass Series. I faced some disappointments, however, Sarah J. Maas does write a great epic, with fantastic world-building.


A Court of Thorns and Roses

We started with A Court of Thorns and Roses

Book 1 of the ACOTAR series introduces Feyre and Tamlin.

Blurb: –Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator, and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Book Review


A Court of Mist and Fury

The second week of Feb was filled with A Court of Mist and Fury. Feyre has become the Cursebreaker. She and Tamlin are on the verge of a marriage, but there are complications.

Blurb: – Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

Book Review

This Book is available at Nuria Bookshop.


A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin took up Week Three. This is the last part of Feyre’s main story. Though not the last time we meet Feyre. I loved A Court of Wings and Ruin. I loved the development of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship and their fight at the end was worth the journey.  Their supporting characters are great and I enjoyed getting to know all of them.

There is a fourth book after this one called A Court of Silver Flames. Where you get to follow Nesta, Feyre’s sister’s world.

Book Review


An Ember in the Ashes book Cover
An Ember in the Ashes

The last week of Feb, I jumped into another series by Sabaa Tahir called An Ember in the Ashes. I love, love this series. I’m definitely going to start a club called the Great Kehanni’s Club after getting to the end of this series. I truly love Book One of this series.

Blurb: —Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

Book Review


If you live in East Africa and you’re wondering where to get any of these books, download Amazon’s Kindle on your phone or pad. You can Sign up for Digital Subscription Kindle Unlimited. It is $9.99 per month. Around Kshs. 1,200. You get unlimited access to thousands of ebooks per month. If you like holding a book in your hands, Nuria Bookshop in Kenya allows you to order books with them. Ask them how.


March comes along and We’re starting with Rwandan Author, Christine Warugaba’s Belonging.


Belonging by Christine Warugaba Book Cover
Belonging by Christine Warugaba
After an unsatisfactory stay in the United States, Ugandan-born Keza returns to Rwanda, her country of origin, and becomes a successful entrepreneur. However, her family believes something is missing in her life: a husband. When her old aunt embarks on a forty-day fast so that Keza may get a partner before she turns forty, Keza makes a desperate move: she decides to hire a fake boyfriend. Things take an unexpected turn after Kampala’s most eligible bachelor takes on the role.

Will she ever find true love, and is marriage the measure of a woman’s worth? This multifaceted story traces Keza’s struggle to belong as she walks the fine line between preserving her independence and meeting cultural and societal expectations. 

Wishing you a Wonderful March 2022!

An Ember in the Ashes – Book Review

An Ember in the Ashes book Cover

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Book Review

Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing.  Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.

Laia, An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in a series of four books.  It starts with Laia who lives with her grandparents and her older brother Darin.  They are scholars living in a world ruled by martials.  Scholars are classified as slaves in the martial world.  Laia learns the healing arts from her grandfather, and her family has chosen to live without standing out in a world that views them as slaves.  They are happy until Darin, Laia’s big brother, chooses to stand out and a mask, the cruelest of the martial soldiers, comes to their house to arrest Darin.  Laia’s quiet world changes and she is thrown into a new path.  One where she needs to survive and find a way to get her brother released from prison. Laia is not privileged, and she is not free. Her greatest wish in this book is to find a way to save her brother Darin from a cruel prison ran by the martials.

Elias is the son of the powerful ruthless commander who rules the martial military academy called Blackcliff.  He is the best of his class, a prince of the silver masks training at Blackliff.  Problem is, Elias does not subscribe to the cruelty and ruthless nature beat and drummed into him at the academy.  He wants out and can’t wait to escape the military life he hates.  He just needs to escape without anyone knowing, otherwise deserters face death by his own mother’s hand.  Elias is privileged but he is not free. His biggest wish is to live a life of his own choosing, away from Blackcliff.

When these two characters meet, Laia must get over the fact that Elias is a mask.  His people oppress hers and one of the masks killed her grandparents and imprisoned Darin.  Elias must deal with the fact that Laia looks at him and sees a martial who oppresses her people.  She only sees the nature of a mask: cruelty, ruthlessness, murderer. Even if Elias secretly rejects all these things and wishes to do right by the innocent.

An Ember in the Ashes is about these two characters finding each other at Blackcliff Military Academy. Laia ends up serving The Commandant in a strange twist of fate and survives her brutality.  In a way, Elias fights to hold on to his soul despite his mother, The Commandant, and survives her too.

I loved the contrast of these two characters most.  Their realities are different, but their thoughts align.  They both want freedom, even though it is not obvious to them, which makes the atrocities they endure apart quite profound.  Blackcliff comes close to what I imagine hell to look like, Elias goes through brutal training.  It is made even more rough because the head task master is his mother, The Commandant.  She is frightening and cruel.  Laia gets to see and endure the Commandant’s cruelty, which gives her a strong resolve to survive, to fight and find a way to get her brother Darin out of prison. Laia’s daring resolve brings this novel to a stunning ending that makes you want to get to the next book.

An Ember in the Ashes has a host of unforgettable characters.  Of note is Helene who takes on a role of righteous martial.  She believes in the martials orders and the rule of law laid down by the martials.  She is the character Elias is fighting not to become and the character Laia is fighting against.  Their world from Helene’s perspective is quite severe, there is no room for the gray parts, only black and white and no changes or deviations allowed. She is the product of the current system, and comparing her to Elias, I was excited to see him break away from the expected mold.

The world in An Ember in the Ashes is harsh and full of characters on the cusp of a revolution.  Slaves (Scholars) fighting back against the Martials.  The Martials meting out their version of justice in the most harsh and cruelest of ways. In the midst of the chaos, Laia never stops trying to free her brother, Darin from prison.  At the same time Elias seeks a way out of the madhouse he calls home even when he knows the path is not easy.  As Cain tells Elias, “You’re an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius.  You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it.  You cannot stop it.” Book One is a great introduction of these amazing characters who are all thought to be An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa Tahir is a a brilliant kehanni.

A Court of Wings & Ruin- Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre will bring Vengeance.

She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.

Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin is Book 3 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.  Feyre has sacrificed herself and returned to the Spring Court with Tamlin in a bid to protect her chosen family from the villainous King Hybern.  Her sisters have faced a life-changing trial and Rhys is without his High Lady as Feyre is now in enemy territory on her own.

Feyre has grown into herself.  As she stays in the Spring Court a second time, it is easy to see she has changed.  She is calculating risks, gleans motive easier, and is no longer clueless about the dangers and machinations hidden behind the beautiful Spring Court.  She is different from the Feyre in the first book.  She knows who she is, and what she wants and I found that part of her growth inspiring.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is focused on bringing Rhys and Feyre together as a power couple.  They are High Lord and High Lady of the Night Court.  Their journey starts with Feyre living in the enemy’s camp to get vital information for the coming fight.  The two, Rhys and Feyre, endure a separation. This series has developed a large emphasis on adopting or choosing a family of your own.  None of the people Feyre comes to love as her family is related to her. 

Rhys, Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren have become her true family who now takes on the care of Feyre’s blood sisters. This court has a very strong sense of loyalty and love for each other.  It is also important to note that each of these characters has gone through a trial of their own at a point in their lives.  From Rhys who is shunned by his mother’s people for being a hybrid, Mor has endured unimaginable abuse from her own family in a bid to choose her own life.  The most impressive, Cassian and Azriel, who endured savage childhoods, conquered prejudice, and rose up in the ranks to become the strongest warriors known to their kind.  Amren is constantly in search of where she belongs after having endured horrors in prison. Together, this group of characters becomes a strong foundation, strong family support, protecting and loving each other as only family can. A foundation Feyre knows can now help her support her blood sisters who now need help adjusting to a new world. I found this aspect of a chosen family to be the most endearing part of this series.  A theme that works, that anyone can relate to.

A Court of Wings and Ruin redeems Book One and Book Two for me.  Feyre and Rhys hold the story as they bring different courts together to face down an enemy who could cost them their very lives.  They compromise and open themselves up to potential friendships and allies.  This book becomes the strongest part of this series.  Each character grew and played an important part in the larger plot.  It even managed to redeem Nesta, Feyre’s big sister, who I’ve had a hard time getting to like.

The burgeoning number of characters in this series is its greatest strength and weakness.  Each court has a strong character deserving of a story.  They cannot get it told in a book about Rhys and Feyre, so I felt it was a great weakness. As noted before, Tamlin’s storyline is quite unfair, to him. He suffers from a broken heart, holds a massive power he fights to control, and is perceived as a villain through Feyre’s eyes.  Tamlin goes through the wringer with Feyre and Rhys, I feel from another point of view, he would be better understood.  Characters like Lucian, Mor, and even Amren have stories that are deserving of more. They could each have a standalone book. A Court of Wings and Ruin is also very long, as the war is fought, allies come together and new villains emerge. I wished the ending did not feel like a plan to bring more books ahead. ^_^ This is a problem of late, as series books work to keep their worlds open and with that maybe…for the next book.

It makes sense why there is A Court of Silver Flames after this, a story about Nesta, Feyre’s big sister, and Cassian.  Of which, I will not be going into because I think I’ve had my fill of ACOTAR this month.  I loved the development of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship and their fight at the end was worth the journey.  Their supporting characters are great and I enjoyed getting to know all of them.  However, it is hard to continue with Nesta who is a difficult character to understand through Feyre’s eyes. On her own, I have not done so well and could not finish her story.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series is written by Sarah J. Maas. She has also written The Throne of Glass series which I truly enjoyed, all seven books and side stories. You can check out more about the Throne of Glass series here.

A Court of Mist and Fury – Book Review

A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Book Review

I loved A Court of Mist and Fury more than ACOTAR 1.

Rhys is a great character to follow. Feyre is also going through a rebirth, rediscovering herself and her strengths. It feels like Sarah J. Maas wrote book 1 in anticipation of book 2. Her characters show their true colors in Book 2, while Book 1 felt like a very quiet introduction with a very angry villain named Amarantha.

In Book 2, Feyre observes that her love for Tamlin came about because she fell for the first nice person she ever met, the first person to show her kindness. I agree with this assessment fully. Book 1 had its moments of bravery and fighting to survive, but the romance between Feyre and Tamlin felt too weak, placed on a shaky foundation. It was a huge issue for me and I didn’t love it.

Book Two has Feyre with Rhys. He becomes a source of strength for her as she fights her demons, finds confidence in herself and her abilities. Their relationship has a lot more growth as opposed to Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin. The big bad grows, and a host of new characters to love emerge.

I do admire how Maas depicts difficult family relationships. No character in this book has an easy relationship with family, from bastards born unwanted, to Feyre who was the breadwinner of her family during their difficult times, perceiving that her sisters did not help in her efforts to feed them. No one has a perfect homey life, but they do try their best to create moments of happiness.

A Court of Mist and Fury is a better book than A Court of Thorns and Roses. I enjoyed it more and found the characters much more agreeable. I do think Tamlin continues to get the short end of the stick. He had potential in book one, book two turns him into an unagreeable sort. It’s a tragedy.

I find myself both enjoying and struggling with the ACOTAR series. My fault for having read Throne of Glass first. Feyre is a good strong character, but she’s not grabbing at me the way Aelin Galathynius (ToG) stood out. Their fight is different, in a way. I know the comparison in my head has to stop for Feyre to get a chance as I continue to Book 3 and Book 4. Still, Throne of Glass remains a more compelling tale at this point.

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Review

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator, and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Book Review

ACOTAR has a surprisingly slow start. I judge this by how quickly I sink into a story when I start reading. It took me a few tries to get into Feyre’s world. When I did, she was in trouble and discovering Tamlin’s world. I loved Lucian more, got to know more about him than Tamlin, which had me worried. Tamlin and Feyre are end game in ACOTAR. I found that I’m not quite in love with this pairing. Lucian and Rhysand really stand out for me. I feel their characters are so well developed, it was hard not to enjoy reading their moments and experiences. I hope the next book will have a stronger story for Tamlin.

ACOTAR is so popular, I wanted to jump into this world and discover what it’s about. So, I did. I rate it a 3.5 because this book had a very slow start. I suppose it can all be summed up as the surviving day-to-day, then pulled into a new world where it is all roses and thorns, then a fight for what matters. I enjoyed the fight part. Feyre’s determination here shines and she is admirable.
Maybe because I know this is a series, the entertainment Rhys serves up so late in the book doesn’t annoy me so much as it would if this were not a series. I’m on to book two, and I hope Rhys features more.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

January 2022’s Reading List

The Year started with An American Marriage. Celestial Davenport is as real as ever in this book.

Blurb: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.

Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Book Review


The Fifth Season

Then came The Fifth Season. This is not an easy book to get into, but once you do give it the time, it does deliver a riveting story, with remarkable characters.

Blurb: This is the way the world ends. Again.

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

Book Review


Dread Nation & Deathless Divide

These two books came I picked up at Text Book Center. I loved, loved them, great story and Jane McKeene remains a favorite. I will say that it is a Zombie series so a bit of gore and serious fighting and injury is expected. But mostly Ms. Ireland focuses on Jane McKeene’s bravery and tenaciousness. Discover more about these books here: Dread Nation & Deathless Divide.

Book Review


The Midnight Library

We ended the month with The Midnight Library.

I loved this one too. I read it fast, barely slept getting to the end, hehe. There is a deep divide in opinion about this book’s worthiness. I suppose it depends on taste, but I found Nora Seed’s odd journey interesting and thought-provoking.

Blurb: In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with a decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Book Review


Notes Under the Door & Other Stories

From December 2021, Notes Under the Door & Other stories. An anthology of short stories about African women dealing with experiences that leave them making some hard choices. These stories are eye-opening and speak on important issues in our African society.

Notes Under the Door & Other Stories

By Michelle Chepchumba

Blurb: Dead fathers. Critical mothers. Abusive marriages. Body insecurities. Young love. And always, expectations. Notes Under the Door is an anthology of seven African literary short stories that explores what it can mean to be a girl, a young woman, in a world that demands too much of women, and gives back too little. Set in urban Kenya, each story follows a girl or a woman grappling with the experience of being who they are – young, female, African, layered, complex, whole.

Book Review


A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses

Reading Next for February 2022 – The #ACOTAR Series

Feb is here and I’m excited to jump into the world of Sarah J. Maas. I have wanted to read A Court of Thorns and Roses for a time. I’m finally getting in and I can’t wait.


Zev's Afrotheria

The Fiction part of this blog is moving to a hosted site. If you enjoy reading fiction online, check out Zev’s Afrotheria at the following links. ^_^

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2


I wish you a beautiful week.

The Midnight Library – Book Review

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Book Review

This book is about a woman who feels she has nothing left to give to the world.  She lives in a world that feels utterly isolated and there’s no one she sees who needs her.  She is suicidal and ends up in The Midnight Library.  Where she meets a guide who allows her to explore an infinite library of lives she could have lived, and a chance to discover the weight of her regrets.

Nora Seed embarks on a unique adventure.  She explores various lives and possibilities.  She is greatly disappointed and intensely impressed with her accomplishments in some parts.  In others, she faces crippling grief at the loss of people she cares about, and in the end makes the decision to continue living.

The concept of landing in a The Midnight Library saves Nora from an otherwise devastating choice.  She is a character who is depressed and in a low moment in her life.  The Midnight Library does serve toward bringing her out of this low moment.  She rediscovers what she felt passionate about, who matters in her life, and even finds the existence she thought useless matters to a young man she gave piano lessons.  I love this book for adding an extraordinary magic into the mundane events in life.  Nora discovers that the best she can do with her life is simple, just to live it to the best of her ability. 

“If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it….don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it.”

The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

No need to add anymore.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Dread Nation & Deathless Divide

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems

The sequel to Dread Nation is a journey of revenge and salvation across a divided America.

After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother.

But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodermus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880’s America.

What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears – as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

But she won’t be in it alone.

Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by – and that Jane needs her, too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not.

Watching Jane’s back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it’s up to Katherine to keep hope alive – even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her.

Deathless Divide, Goodreads.com

Book Review

Dread Nation came first and it is super amazing.  I enjoyed discovering Jane McKeene because she is feisty, strong-willed and kicks ass. She is a fierce black girl lead. Nothing can keep her down.   She lives her life how she wants it, despite her circumstances.  Book One (Dread Nation) is badass. 

It made me want to read Deathless Divide, and continue with Jane.  Book Two is absolutely darker than the first book.  Which is a strange perspective considering the background of zombies and settlements where Jane is faced with segregation and fighting for equal rights for resources found in book one.  The zombies continue in book two, and the settlement where Jane ends up with her friends is a bit more civilized, to a point

However, in Book Two Jane deals with grief and the part she plays in the death of a man she cared about. She loses people close to her, and the ensuing grief plunges her into a very dark period of her life.  The added bonus is that Book Two includes Katherine Deveraux’s POV.  Katherine is Jane’s best friend, and the one person capable of pulling Jane back from the dark side. We get to meet a host of new characters as they all fight to survive the world-ending zombie pandemic.  Katherine helps pull Jane back when she is all but lost in a quest that could threaten her life. 

In all, Dread Nation and Deathless Divide represent strong-willed black women willing to fight for their friends and family  in order to survive a harsh and brutal world.  

Dread Nation

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Deathless Divide

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.