Action Packed, Epic Fantasy to its Very Core and Beautifully Written (Review: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James)

11:00 AM

The year in fantasy, so far, has been hit or miss. And this was one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: "He has a nose," people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy's scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truths, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all.


Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for participating in the blog tour/my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. 

Black Leopard, Red Wolf was such a commitment for me. In a good way. It is an epic fantasy to its very core (which sometimes was a challenge for me, personally, but not painfully so!) and is detailed beautifully. Further, the worldbuilding is highly engaging and descriptive. As such, you can tell that James put forth a great deal of effort in portraying this world and it shows.

Between the folklore, setting, use of fantasy and diversity, it is easy to see why readers have been quick to sink their teeth in the story. Black Leopard, Red Wolf has been praised for many good reasons. In that regard, though, it won't be for everyone.

If you aren't able to focus on fantasy that has a tendency to be a bit overindulgent and long, you should avoid it. Unless you are absolutely keen on picking it up. One of the only complaints I've got towards it is its pacing and how some points in the story felt like that they dragged on unnecessarily, but I'm still beyond thrilled to have read it.

At its best, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is beautifully engaging and a blast. Marlon James starts off a very promising series that will surely get better with time. I'm ready for the sequel.

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