Scarlet Odyssey is an epic adult fantasy debut. Inspired by myths and cultures from sub-Saharan Africa, Scarlet Odyssey is a book about sacrifice. It’s about daring to be different and fighting for our future. Keep reading this book review of Scarlet Odyssey to see what I thought of this mix of technology and magic.
Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.
Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.
On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Scarlet Odyssey is one of those books that, even after finishing, remains a mystery. Full of multiple POVs, plus a few surprise POVs, it is a story that wastes no time throwing you headfirst into the world. With this rich world, it was pretty confusing for me to find my footing at the beginning of the book. Until the characters really started standing out for me, I was pretty confused about where they were – in relation to each other – and where the story was going. For some people, this may not have caught their attention early enough.
But as I kept reading, I finally caught on to this world where magic and technology blur. Scarlet Odyssey is a worthwhile debut which could have done with a little more, and less, in some areas. While I adored the world, once I got used to it, at the beginning the learning curve + character introduction was pretty steep. Then once I got a handle on the politics and pieces of the world, I found myself wanting a bit more depth from the characters. They’re slowly revealed and once they come together, that’s probably when I began to get a better hang of the story. However, for some, this may be a little too little too late.
Scarlet Odyssey is a book you’re going to want to sink into slowly. There are so many moving parts in a world that is detailed and grand. If you aren’t one to appreciate books that you have to work with or a learning curve, then you might want to skip this one. But if you stick with it, you’ll find a story that examines change and fate. By the time I got to about the last quarter, I was in full swing and a surprise POV ended up being my favorite. Yet I still wish I had more of a connection to the other POVs.