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The Truth of the Aleke - Review

*I received the digital copy from Tordotcom via NetGalley. All reviews are my own.*

The Forever Desert series returns with its sophomore novella, The Truth of The Aleke by Moses Ose Utomi. Ya’ll. My brain is crossed. I think I found another author to stalk on the mean streets of GoodReads because TTOTA was everything I wasn’t expecting, and now I’m intrigued and in dire need of more.

"The Aleke is cruel. The Aleke is clever. The Aleke is coming.
500 years after the events of The Lies of the Ajungo , the City of Truth stands as is the last remaining free city of the Forever Desert. A bastion of freedom and peace, the city has successfully weathered the near-constant attacks from the Cult of Tutu, who have besieged it for three centuries, attempting to destroy its warriors and subjugate its people.
17-year-old Osi is a Junior Peacekeeper in the City. When the mysterious leader of the Cult, known only as the Aleke, commits a massacre in the capitol and steals the sacred God's Eyes, Osi steps forward to valiantly defend his home. For his bravery he is tasked with a tremendous responsibility―destroy the Cult of Tutu, bring back the God's Eyes, and discover the truth of the Aleke."


TTOTA was more complex than The Lies of Ajungo ever was. It makes you question if the hero is running a fool’s errand or if the fool is just a fool all along. TTOA takes place 500 years after the story of Tutu’s bravery, and war is still upon the Forever Desert sands. This time, though, they are not fighting over water rights but rather freedom and peace. The City of Truth has been taught that the Aleke (the enemy) is clever, cruel, and is coming. Their only saviors are the Truthseekers, who are there to save the city or rewrite history …


At first, I questioned why Utomi set up the narration the way he did. It reminded me of the mystery novels that ended each chapter with an “Is it really what it seems though?” inflection, and it bothered me because the storyline was being painted so well. But after the first few attempts of giving off undetermined vibes, you begin to question what is considered good or bad. Who is the real villain in this story, and what exactly are you fighting for?


Another thing I liked about this story is the many messages it exudes. I’m still wrapping my brain around a few of them, and I’m sure rereading this quick novel will help me reach a clearer conclusion. I recommend reading the author’s note to better understand the twists and turns of this story.


Overall, I rated this book 4.5 stars. The Truth of the Aleke was an intellectual mindfuck battle. I highly recommend reading The Lies of Ajungo before diving into Book 2 to get a complete picture of truth and false truths. The follow-up was everything. I cannot wait for Book 3 to reveal itself!

The Truth of the Aleke debuts March 5, 2024

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