Lost Gods by Micah Yongo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There are books you like instantly and there are books that grow on you. Lost Gods is more of the latter for me. It sounded intriguing enough that I requested a review copy via NetGalley. And I liked it, it's not that I didn't. It was exciting and mystifying enough that I kept reading, though it wasn't gripping enough that I couldn't put it down. Yet after finishing it, the pervading feeling isn't one of satisfaction--it's one of confusion and mystification, if that's the right word. I feel lost.
Maybe it's the way Yongo writes. Backstories sometimes appear out of nowhere, triggered by a single random thought; the paragraphs, and even sentences, are long and dense; it's very rooted in African legends. I have not read enough African writings, so there is no ready shorthand that I am used to, not like when I read a "standard" Euro-centric fantasy and I already know what things are--or figure out what things are not--because it's what they've always been. This is good--I like it because it is new, it is fresh, it is exciting, and it's truly fantastic--but it is also not so good--because I don't always understand. Meanings flitter away from my grasp.
Still, it entertains. The mystery draws me in. I re-read parts of the beginning to find a better way to write this review, and I find myself finding gems and going - ah, I missed that the first time, that's what it means! So evidently there are layers to be uncovered here. I guess it is the journey of discovery that makes it hard for me to get this book as much as I would have liked.
I want to know but despite a revelation of sorts at the end, there is still much that seems shrouded in mystery. It's not a full revelation either--the major arc is mostly resolved, but the "bad guys" (so to speak) are still at large and there are warnings of devastation to come and vague hints to what Neythan is supposed to become so there's obviously going to be a book two.
Overall, I'd say Lost Gods might probably appeal more to readers who like more classic/literary/older fantasy styles, and not current YA readers who want quick, flashy and exciting. Though there is a lot of death, assassinating and betrayals.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley. I was given the book with no expectation of a positive review and the review is my own.
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