Monday 28 December 2020

Amari and the Night Brothers, B. B. Alston

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This post is part of the ultimate blog tour for the novel. Thank you to Egmont Publishers and The Write Reads for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Amari’s brother Quinton has been missing for months, and she spends her evenings posting his photo on as many sites as she can in the hopes of finding out what happened to him. When she receives a mysterious delivery, her world is turned upside down as she discovers the supernatural world and Quinton’s place in it. What follows is a wonderful adventure reminiscent of some of the very best children’s books.

Amari is strong willed and talented, but living in the shadow of her brother’s brilliance means she never noticed how much she excelled. She has a scholarship to a well-respected school where she struggles to fit in because of the colour of her skin and the neighbourhood she lives in. When she goes to the Bureau’s summer camp it seems like she’s finally found somewhere that people won’t treat her differently. She soon comes to realise, however, that the supernatural world isn’t all that different, with Legacy families having a sense of superiority, and some special abilities treated with fear. Despite some setbacks she learns to value her own skills and flourishes as she grows in her self-belief.

The mystery of what happened to her brother and why plays out alongside tryouts for budding junior agents, and although the conclusion wasn’t entirely surprising, there were some great twists and turns along the way. The tryouts themselves are cleverly constructed and reveal more about the world Amari is just discovering. The world building is brilliant and it’s great fun experiencing it for the first time through Amari’s eyes. She makes some great friends, but is always slightly wary, not knowing who can be fully trusted. The existence of illusion magic makes this all the harder as you can never be sure that what you’re seeing is real.

This is a fantastic book that deals with difficult subjects thoughtfully and realistically, such as discrimination and the pressure it puts on people to never slip up. The writing style flows easily and will draw you into Amari’s world, conjuring up the weird and wonderful, that you just won’t want to leave. Whether or not you’re usually a fantasy reader, I can’t recommend this highly enough.

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