Of Beasts and Bonds by N.D. Jones
September 6th, 2016
This is my first read from this author, and I signed up for the book blitz and review option back in August to take a chance on this series, especially since I didn't know what it was about.
OBAB follows the exploits of Assefa and Sanura and an extensive world built around Western African lore and culture.
I thought that was pretty cool, considered how Western culture has completely demonized anything and everything that has come from African culture. I know Africa isn't a monolith, so for the sake of the review, and from my knowledge of lore, it seems Yoruban(Afro-Cuban culture is deeply inspired by Yoruban religion and culture, so I say it because it's familiar to me).
But anyway, since this is book two, a few events lead Assefa and Sanura to the events of book two, and they're struggling to complete a sort of mate-bonding(that's supposed to make them stronger) but it comes at the cost of loosing her connection to her father. This was where I was at a disadvantage for not reading book one. While the author makes a bunch of loose ends clear, one might be more accustom to the world building of how things are done before the plot brought Assefa and Sanura's circumstances to this point.
You can still enjoy and follow pretty well without it, but I am a lover of spec fic, so I wish I would've read book one first.
It goes without saying I loved that most the characters in the story were Black, the couple was Black, and the culture behind everything was Western African lore. I love speculative fiction, but this is one of the first PNR books I read in a while, because they're not very inclusive. To be set in a world where it's this lit was pretty awesome.
Sanura passed the Bechdel test throughout the book, and I was glad she had strong relationships with other women that wasn't dependent on men. You'd be surprised how often conversations between women are about men in fiction, tv, media. It may even pass the Mako Mori test so long as you consider Sanura the biggest character in the book. I think it's equal, but Mami Wata really wants her, and Assefa is just a bonus.
Between the strong world building, and the extremely hot sex, I'll definitely be hitting up book one and re-reading! As a lover of speculative fiction, I was impressed! A big win for Black love in books for me =D
I usually fan cast books I love, so for Assefa I saw Idris Elba XD
Sanura, I don't remember how she was described when I think about it, but since the culture was based of Yoruban culture, I instantly thought of Nollywood star Stephanie Okereke Linus!
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*I received an ARC in exchange for a review.