First thoughts, oh my word such an effective and beautifully written novel. The prose is evocative and emotive and l was drawn into the world that Natasha Bowen has created. It is the second novel in a series and despite the potential drawbacks to a quick immersion into the world, any gaps in my knowledge were filled in deftly. What we have is Simidele our protagonist. A Mami Wata who at the beginning of the novel is trapped in service to a god of the dead.
Simi is a wonderful protagonist. She is forever trying to do what is right whether that bodes good or ill for her. Her desire to sacrifice what she wants for the greater good is admirable and causes some angst that anyone can relate to.
I loved the west african mythology threaded through the novel. I was already aware of Orisas and Mami Wata but this added to my scant knowledge and I felt it evoked strong images and even where the language wasn’t familiar, I was still able to relate to characters and root for them.
My favourite character is Esu, mainly for being a trickster and agent of chaos. I do love a good trickster. Kola was everything you wanted for a love interest. The relationship between Simi and Kola is delicate and nuanced beautifully against their competing interests.
The plot is linear, and some of the twists were signposted quite well. And losses when they happened felt real and hit my feels as much as they did Simi. The journey Simi travels is both literal and metaphorical and by the end there is much that has been learned, lost and won.
I have gone back to seek out the previous novel Skin of the Sea so that I can fill in any gaps.