My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Oh boy, I was starving for a good fantasy escape, with amazing world-building, interesting characters, and most importantly, a solid story. Thankfully this delivered. Zélie is a badass heroine from the get-go. Her journey isn’t unique in this genre (think Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen), but the way the author incorporates themes from the Black Lives Matter movement and African mythology give it an emotional, weighty punch. She aids the fugitive princess who escapes evil King Saran, and thanks to a mysterious scroll, Zélie unlocks her magical powers. This leads to a mission to return magic to the world and restore her oppressed fellow diviners to the Maji they were born to be. Really good stuff. The novel ends on a cliffhanger too, so I shall be diving into the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, very very soon.
P.S. The inhabitants of Orïsha ride big cats. BIG CATS!!!!