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Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon - Review

*I received this e-ARC and audio from DAW & RB Media via Net Galley. All reviews are my own.*

Whooooo, this book! Take that statement as you will, but Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi was a very mixed experience for me. It's that type of book where if you decide to pass up on it, the story will creep into the crevices of your mind later. I was one of the ones who stuck it out to the end, and it was actually not that bad! For my review, I will focus more on the book's setup versus the writing.

"Shigidi is a disgruntled and demotivated nightmare god in the Orisha spirit company, reluctantly answering prayers of his few remaining believers to maintain his existence long enough to find his next drink. When he meets Nneoma, a sort-of succubus with a long and secretive past, everything changes for him.
Together, they attempt to break free of his obligations and the restrictions that have bound him to his godhood and navigate the parameters of their new relationship in the shadow of her past. But the elder gods that run the Orisha spirit company have other plans for Shigidi, and they are not all aligned--or good.
From the boisterous streets of Lagos to the swanky rooftop bars of Singapore and the secret spaces of London, Shigidi and Nneoma will encounter old acquaintances, rival gods, strange creatures, and manipulative magicians as they are drawn into a web of revenge, spirit business, and a spectacular heist across two worlds that will change Shigidi's understanding of himself forever and determine the fate of the Orisha spirit company."

I initially was looking for a horror-themed book, which this novel was not, but the story piqued my interest. For those that don't know, in African Mythology, Shigidi is a Nightmare God. It's what people who experience sleep paralysis fear. In this turn of events, Shigidi is tired of being a low-level spirit and hooks up with Nneoma, a succubus, to escape the drags of his duties. Now, with any gang or corporation, you can't leave the lineup scot-free, so the rest of the Orishan Gods are out to kill him. The only way to ensure his and Nneoma's freedom is to steal an ancient artifact (yep, you guessed it, the Brass Head of Obalufon) for an elder God with grander plans. This story sounds fire! Why is there a mixed reaction?

SATBHOO is a slow-moving book with many intricate woven timelines to get to the bigger picture. I immediately thought about No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull, which was not my cup of tea. The randomness of jumped timelines put me off, but it was something you had to go through to understand the characters and how they moved. I do not recommend skipping pages in this book. Once I figured out the author's writing style, I understood the navigation of the story. I'll give a spoiler hint: It had nothing to do with the book's title but had everything to do with an unsuspecting genre.

The backstories of Shigidi and Nneoma are what make the book. Though they are immortal, their characters are what makes them human and relatable. Pulling from what I know about succubuses, they don't love, or at least they don't love just one. They are free-spirited sexual beings that just so happens to take your soul if need be. Shigidi is trying to love something that doesn't quite know what love is while also trying to build up his self-confidence. The premise of their relationship is a woman changing a man for the better but not knowing what she got until it's almost gone.

Overall, I rated this book 3-stars. I might even throw in a quarter-star. It wasn't bad, but I can understand why so many people DNFed it. Hell, I almost DNFed it a few times. It just took too long to get to the damn point. I was more focused on the book's setup than the actual story. I wish the author would have focused more on the heist since that's what I was sold on, but the wrap-up justified all of what the author was getting at. I should've mentioned that I did audio for the book. I wanted more from Ben Arogundade, but it is what it is. Again, Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon was a mixed bag. Still, if you are into No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull, The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna, Ebony Gate by Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle, and the Ocean's movie series, this book is for you!

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon is available now!

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