Forge. Jul. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9781250904294. $27.99. FANTASY
DEBUTSangoyomi’s novel showcases a reimagined pre-colonial West Africa in the 15th century, depicting the power of kings, courts, and family, plus one young woman’s quest to find her own path. The warrior king of Yorùbáland has conquered Timbuktu, forcing changes that affect all. The women of the city’s blacksmith guild are already seen as witches by most, and the new regime means even worse conditions for them. Òdòdó is a young metalsmith who is unsure of what she wants for her future, but when she is abducted and taken to the capital city of Sàngótè, Òdòdó finds herself in the home of the warrior king, the Aláàfin—and he wants her to be his wife. Òdòdó might now obtain riches beyond her dreams, but she is just as trapped in Sàngótè as she was in Timbuktu. The political rivalries outside and inside Sàngótè threaten Òdòdó’s status with the Aláàfin, and she will have to navigate the schemes and plans of those who don’t want her to marry him—or to survive.
VERDICT Richly detailed worldbuilding and inspiration from the Persephone myth all lend to a layered, immersive storyline in Sangoyomi’s debut.
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