Review – Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight

Book Review - Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight
Book Review - Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight

Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight” by Maria Motunrayo Adebisi is a vibrant and magical journey that delves deep into African culture, blending fantasy with real-world issues. A bit similar but different to Review – The Gatekeeper’s Staff by Antoine Bandele. But let’s continue with Koku, a teenager grappling with his identity, heritage, and the challenges of living with sickle cell disease. Adebisi’s narrative is a powerful testament to the importance of representation and understanding one’s roots.

Due to the overwhelming feelings I have for this book, I’ve had to summarise this into a coherent response. This review is more

Themes and Highlights in Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight

Representation and Cultural Identity: The novel emphasizes the significance of seeing oneself reflected in history and culture. Koku’s realization of his cultural heritage’s importance is a poignant reminder of the value of representation.

It looked kind of sick and, unlike the Roman stuff upstairs, it was made by people who looked like me.

Koku at the museum

The Struggle with Sickle Cell: the author doesn’t shy away from portraying the realities of living with a long-term condition like sickle cell, making Koku’s character more relatable and authentic.

The thing is that everyone, even the hardest guys, are scared of dying. But most people don’t have to think about it till they get all wrinkly. My life ain’t promised, though, cause my own body tries to kill me on the daily

Koku on his sickle cell

Magic and African Mythology: The book is rich with elements of African mythology, particularly the influence of the Orishas, adding depth and uniqueness to the fantasy genre.

My ancestors taught me that the things that make you weak in this life, make you strong in the spiritual world,’ he continued. ‘The strongest warriors normally have something they struggle with.

The Araba to Koku

Exploration of Loss and Belonging: Koku’s journey is marked by a sense of loss and a quest for belonging, themes that resonate deeply with the reader.

Koku, you do not know where you are from. If you do not know where you are from, you do not know where you are going. If you don’t know where you are going, you don’t know who you will become. And if you don’t know who you will become, how will you know who you really are. Eh?’

Uncle Tunji

Your name is Kokumo, meaning Don’t Die Anymore.’
He corrected me. ‘Say it with pride

Chief Inaki to Koku

Humour and Relatability: Despite the heavy themes, the book is laced with humour and relatable moments, making it a delightful read. This is evidenced in the number of quotes in this blog post.

My skin was melting, and suddenly my black and red Champion hoodie was a very, very bad idea. I was too hot for the first time ever. Man is usually never hot.

Koku on the heat

His hand felt leathery, like he hadn’t used a decent lotion in a hot minute. But before I could make a couple helpful suggestions a burst of colour exploded behind my eyelids.

Koku on The Araba

And the new curses I’ve picked up. I’ll let you find those out for yourself.

Which useless somebody told you? They must come from a family of goats. May thunder enter their nose and scatter their throat,

Mama Oti

How astute is the character development in Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight

Koku’s character is beautifully developed, showcasing his struggles, resilience, and growth. His journey from feeling like an outsider to finding his place in the world is both inspiring and heartwarming. The supporting characters, each with their unique quirks and backgrounds, add richness to the story.

So what makes this book great

Koku Akanbi and the Heart of Midnight is a essential reading for anyone looking for a fantasy novel that is not only entertaining but also culturally enriching and thought-provoking. Adebisi has crafted a world where magic and reality converge, creating a narrative that is as educational as it is enchanting. This book is a celebration of African culture, the magic within, and the journey to self-discovery.

A perfect 5 star read.

My thanks to NetGalley and publishers for a digital copy in exchange for a review.

5 Stars - It Was Amazing
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Engrossed Reader

Reading whenever she can, often to the detriment of sleep. Enjoying most genres with preference for ebooks and audiobooks, mainly for convenience.

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