Book Reviews

Review: Queen of Zazzau by J.S. Emuakpor

The Queen of Zazzau is a book told over the span of Amina’s life. All the way from her naive opinions about what makes a good ruler, all the way to being the queen herself.


Amina is heir apparent to the throne of Zazzau and must prove herself worthy of the crown. As foreign invaders close in on them, she is the only thing standing between her people and their destruction. Caught in a web of prophecies and intrigue, she must defend Zazzau, but cannot do so if she wants to prevent the future that was foretold. She did not seek war; it found her.

Unwilling to be the plaything of gods or men and determined to take control of her own destiny, she tracks down the god of war himself. But has her destiny already been written? Can she choose her own fate? And can she protect her kingdom, no matter what price she must ultimately pay? Because, gods always want something in return.


(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I opened up Queen of Zazzau. But what I found was an expansive story about a girl, Amina, who has to grow into her power. We are able to witness her entire character development as she has to learn just how much power and responsibility her life entails. As the princess, Amina takes it for granted that she will become the queen, but without a real concept of what it means.

What it takes. And what sacrifices need to be made.

Just how much control does Amina have over her life? Over her kingdom? Over her people? She experiences love, loss, and everything in between. I was captivated by how fierce Amina is, how steadfast she is to not lose her power to a man. At the same time, I felt bad for her because there are genuine things she does not understand.

She has trouble staying her tongue, staying in line, and making difficult choices. And her decisions have real consequences. Even if she is, a times, reckless, Queen of Zazzau asks us what it takes to be a good ruler. A good queen.

All while asking important questions about destiny, choice, and agency. Do we have control of which direction we sail in? Or are our movements predetermined? Along these same lines, in this world, the gods and goddesses are very much with us. They intrude in our dreams, influence our lives, and have deadly desires.


Being a leader is a difficult path. It involves decisions that are unfavorable. Choices that make enemies. And sacrifices few understand. All of this, and more, is laid out in Queen of Zazzau. It’s a book about deals with gods, countries in ruins, and lives in the balance.

Find Queen of Zazzau on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


If you could be the leader of any fictional world, which would be it be? I might like to be a Galadriel equivalent.

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