Genre : Urban Fantasy
Publisher : Abaddon
Length : 360 pages
Format : eARC
Rating : 3 stars
Publication Date : July 9th 2019
Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.
Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.
David Mogo is a demigod and he works as a freelance godhunter in Lagos, Nigeria. After the Orisha wars, deities invaded Lagos and disturbed the lives of the inhabitants who are now in needs of people like David. He usually does small jobs like hunting godlings, spirits created by the gods, however, he’s not going to repair his old house by only capturing small spirits. David needs something that will pay more. And that something is as follows: he needs to capture two high gods and bring them to an old and renowned wizard that made him an offer he cannot refuse. Even if that might trigger a new war.
Three stars reads are always hard to review, aren’t they? I really enjoyed some parts of this story but other elements prevented me from enjoying the book. Let’s start with the good part: I really liked the world created by Davies Okungbowa. I love reading stories set in Nigeria because they always have a very unique feel to them and they feature myths and folklores I know nothing about. I read several books set in Nigeria that I really liked such as Rosewater, The Fishermen and Lagoon. I love it when books open my eyes to new cultures and countries and make me want to travel. Successfully depicting a country’s feel and culture through writing is difficult and I appreciate it a lot when it’s done well. I think Okungbowa did a fantastic job in this book.
However, while I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and the mythology, I had issues that prevented me from connecting with the story. My main issue was with the structure of the story.
I expected David Mogo, Godhunter to be a regular novel following a simple “beginning, middle and end” structure. However, I got a 3 for 1 offer because this book isn’t a regular novel but a trilogy of novellas marketed as a novel. Which means that I got three beginnings, three middles and three ends… As you may know, I love reading shorter works so, I didn’t have an issue with the fact that it was a collection of novellas. What bothered me was the fact that 1) I didn’t know that beforehand 2) I really dislike binge-reading book-series (I love binge-watching TV shows however, I don’t why I’m not the same with book series). Indeed, when I read books from the same series back to back, I tend to really notice “writing formula” of the authors. It means that I detect a lot more the repetitions and flaws of the stories than I would have if I had taken my time with the series.
What showed me that this was a trilogy of novellas, and not a novel with three distinct story-arcs, is the fact that each part started with a recap of the previous one. I completely understand the use of recaps when you are writing sequels but, in this case, it felt very weird. The author spends paragraphs and paragraphs explaining what happened in the part of the story the reader just finished. It felt very awkward and I don’t know why those passages weren’t edited out when the book was published as a good old novel. Also, this structure highlighted how similar the story-arcs were to each-other. David gets himself into a new adventure he doesn’t want to do but is forced to complete, things don’t go as planned, he has to travel, people get killed because of him, he feels guilty and useless and right at the moment he feels like he’s going to lose, something happens and boom, he destroy the bad guy. Do that 3 times and you have this book.
To be honest, I almost DNF this book a couple of times but, I always have a hard time dropping books that I received for review so I ended up finishing it. However, even if I had my issues with the book, some parts were very interesting so I would be willing to read other stories by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. I will just check the reviews beforehand to see if I’m getting into a novel or a collection of shorter works.