Akata Witch is a leisurely story that details Sunny’s magical awakening. Full of mysteries, first experiences, and new friends, her journey is one of exploration and discovery. While I had just one complaint, overall it was a pleasure to read and I am looking forward to the next one.
The story begins when Sunny moves from the US to Nigeria and, unknowingly, sets actions in motion that will not only awaken her magic, but deal with the fate of the world as well. Making friends with other budding magicians, they are tasked with taking down Black Hat Otokoto who has been kidnapping and terrorizing the country. But little do they know that this is just one piece of the puzzle and that far more is involved, things that have been moving behind the scenes for generations – all which must come to rest.
Realizing what she was, was the beginning of something, all right . . . but it was also the end of something else. (94)
My absolute favorite part of this book was the magic element. It is derived from Nigerian folklore and is absolutely fascinating. It was something that I had never read about, and so it was unfamiliar and such a joy to read about. As a reader you get a great introduction to the magic in an inventive way: a majority of chapters feature a small excerpt from an intro to magic book that the main protagonist herself is reading. Because of this, I really enjoyed the chapter endings and I felt completely immersed within the magic world building aspect. Additionally this format is extremely helpful.
I also enjoyed the protagonist’s spirit. She was determined and imperfect. She made mistakes and pays for them, but ultimately this plays into the growing up story and the coming into your magic storyline. Sunny has an intriguing background as she is albino and coming from the US to Nigeria. In both ways she is a complete outsider and so a lot of her childhood revolves around this feeling of not-belonging. Even though she is greatly inexperienced she has a good heart and is driven by a sense of right and wrong. Flaws and all, Sunny’s story portrays her growth as both a magician and a young adult.
My major complaint was the pacing. The majority of the book is a leisurely exploration of her coming into her powers, and then right at the end the whole mystery of the plot is suddenly solved. It took me aback and I felt I would have enjoyed the plot more if it had been lengthened. (But can I also say, who lets a group of budding young adult children deal with a magical threat? And why is it that this is so common in many fantasy novels?) All in all, an enjoyable coming of age and into powers story that is a great read.
If you could have a magical power, what would it be?
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