A middle grade fantasy novel by the author of Binti? Yes, please!
I read this book with my 5th grader and after finishing it he declared it "one of the best books you've ever read to me!" He loved it!
Set in Nigeria, this novel has elements of African folklore, mystery and fantasy. Nnamdi is the 11 year old son of the chief of police of their town Kaleria. His father is the best police chief the town has ever had. He readily pushes back the criminals that are trying to invade the town. And then, Nnamdi's dad is murdered. No one knows who killed him. Nnamdi and his mother are left alone. After the death of the police chief the criminal element is free to reign over the town.
On the one year anniversary of his father's death, Nnamdi follows a mysterious figure out of his home's gates and is presented with an Ikenga, a figurine with mystical powers. With the Ikenga in his possession, Nnamdi soon discovers he has new powers. Powers that can help him track down his father's killer and avenge his father's death. BUT, will he be able to control the powers and stay true to his own morals?
This was a great story. It was interesting and engaging throughout. It had lessons about using power for good vs. evil and staying true to yourself. Nnamdi was a relatable character and the author did an excellent job expressing Nnamdi's inner turmoil. We also really liked that the book was set in Africa and gave us a peek at what life is like there.
I highly recommend this book to middle grade and older readers!