(This is a review for the 8th book in this series, there may be spoilers for previous books)
For this book we were back in Jalil’s head. I vaguely remembered this one, mostly because of the upside down world part. I found it interesting how as I read certain aspects came back to me. I was reading and was like “Oh yeah, forgot about that guy.” I found it a bit fun in this one to see how much I remembered and how much came back to me.
Two parts of this book stood out to me. One was this one centered on the African gods. The interesting part was that we never actually meet any of them. We meet a minor, messenger type god. We never meet the major ones. This portion gave me more a feeling of forbidding than anything else.
What this book did make me want to do is research the African culture and the gods that were mentioned here. I wonder if we don’t get to see much of them because the author didn’t know much about them or if the history and information available is scarce.
I also wonder if this part was smaller because people are not as familiar with these gods and thus she concentrated her time in the story on the stories people are more familiar with? Though that is a lost opportunity to learn more and become familiar with a new set of stories.
This all plays into the theme of this book though. In this one we see Jalil and April unwilling to submit to these gods and make a sacrifice. They anger the gods and get themselves in trouble. The issue is they learn that this not the world they grew up in. This is not our world and thus our rules do not apply here.
They both were firm in standing their ground and trying to not be “weak” but in the end they nearly get themselves killed. I liked this exploration of the idea of “giving in” or doing something to keep yourself safe. Does it really reflect bad on them if they had done the sacrifice? They couldn’t live with the idea but does it really change the way they think? Does it change their beliefs in the end?
What it does to Jalil is make him realize he has a darker streak to himself. He is willing to take out others and make them change but not for himself. I can’t quite remember how his story finishes but I am curious how he ends up and where he is at the end of this series.