There was a time I remember my mother would search for African American books and toys for me. She knew it was vital that I see positive representation that looks like me as much as possible. Fast forward 20 years, our melanin is thriving! I have never seen this many beautiful black faces take the lead in so many different world industries. It's been a long time coming, and we're finally here to shine!
I still carry the same traditions my mom did while searching for "black" items. In this case, what drew me to Daughters of Nri, was the simple fact that the cover showed two mesmerizing black twins, accentuated with golden hues. Yep, another pretty dust jacket got me! This is another Nigerian themed book of fantasy, so have your dictionaries ready. In her debut novel, written by Reni K. Amayo, Daughters of Nri, tells a tale of twin sisters separated at birth, who unbeknownst to them are descendants of lost Gods. Set in the ancient Nigerian Kingdom of Nri, Sinai and Naala both explore their epic journey of self-discovery as they embark on a path back to one another.
Strong-willed Naala grows up seeking adventure in her small, quiet village, while the more reserved Sinai resides in Nri's cold political palace. Both have suppressed magic bursting to come alive, but they are too afraid to explore it fully. When the twins finally understand that they hold some type of power, only one trains to use it to her advantage. And that's why Naala is my girl! If I ever needed someone to help exact revenge, I'm recruiting Naala. She's with the shits. She's strategic and relies on her gut instinct. Sinai, on the other hand, aggravated me. She is weak and insecure. Her demeanor reminds me of a sniveling child that's too afraid to speak up. Sinai has a very "woe is me" attitude, and it drove me insane! Just when you think she's about to grow into character, she reverts to her safe place of invisibility. I don't think she's ready for the brewing war everyone is preparing for.
I wasn't entirely in tune with The Daughters of Nri. While I appreciate the native tongue, the story is told in; unfortunately, the text interrupted the flow. It also hurt that there were several different languages I had to translate, thus navigating the storyline was challenging. I don't know; maybe it's because of my ignorance of the culture or the fact that I don't speak the language. I'm not African, or at least I'm very far removed because you know … slavery. So I can't fully grasp the enriched mythical tales and etymology that is described in the story.
Once I got over the language barrier, it still took me a while to understand what was happening in the forthcoming sceneries. I couldn't fully connect. Within the first few pages of opening the book, the action kicked off, and I didn't know if I accidentally picked up the wrong intro to the series! I had to do a lot of re-reading to understand what was going on. It took me a while, but I finally got into the swing of things and found myself wanting more from the chapters. Wouldn't you know, Amayo ended with a cliff hanger? I wasn't expecting to get the sequel when it premieres, but that darn book cover artist pulled me back in! Have you seen the cover for the second book yet? I guess I'll be waiting for the sequel, Descendants of the First, to drop.