About The Author
Jude Itakali was born and lives in Kampala, Uganda. His first collected works is, CROSSROADS (Winds of love): Poetry and Prose
When not being an athlete on the rugby field, or crunching down numbers on a computer for work, he delicately pens the epiphanies from life and its different relationships and encounters.
He writes about all sorts of topics, finding a way to relate them with each other, because no one theme exists in a vacuum.
Empathy is sometimes considered a gift, and Jude has it in abundance.
You may also know Jude from our very own WordPress community. He has an amazing blog of his own where he shares his poetry. I have had the pleasure of connecting with him thanks to this wonderful community and I have also been able to work with him on multiple collaborations for our blogs. Feel free to check them out here. I would also definitely recommend checking out his blog by clicking here.
Kamau is born to a people who repress all emotion, but his first experience of grief shakes the foundations of all his beliefs. It thrusts him on a journey for answers, and ultimately pits him and a few unexpected companions, against an ageless power.
Kamau and his contrast of companions weave through twists and turns, they experience love, romance and death, they feel fear, horror and hope, and even manage a little fun along the way.
All the while, they thread the ley-lines between fantasy, tradition, and desire.
A while back, I received an email from him explaining that his latest project, a fiction novel, was almost done and that I would be able to read it soon. As someone who loves supporting other writers and bloggers, I was absolutely thrilled. I was even more excited because I had been a big fan of his writing for quite a while now and had been looking forward to reading more from him. He sent me a copy of the book a little while back since he wanted some feedback on it which I was more than happy to give.
Anyway, back to the book which is really the main reason for this post today. I’ll try not to add any spoilers but be warned that I will be talking about a bit of the plot and the characters so if you would prefer not to read about that before you read the book you may not want to read ahead.
Kamau is part of a group of people known as Hadiza that are part of The Veil. They have certain gifts but those gifts come at a price. They must control and repress their human emotions otherwise there can be dire consequences for them, those around them and the spiritual world which they serve. Kamau, however, has particular difficulty controlling his emotions and this issue seems to have worsened since the sudden death of his sister Kimya. With the aid of his closest friend and ally Irina, Kamau must take an important journey to learn the truth about his sisters death among other things. Each step of the journey reveals many truths but some of them come at a price and the obstacles they face seem to be getting harder to overcome.
“The answers are all linked to this journey Kamau”
I’ll start with the characters because I have quite a lot to say about them. I really enjoyed all the characters and I appreciated how as the story continues you learn more about them. You also get to see them grow and evolve which is another thing I really enjoyed about the characters. As the characters go on their journey you realise that it’s not just about the physical journey itself. The characters also go on a personal journey, learning more about themselves, their powers, their past and those around them. As a reader, you feel your connection with the characters growing as you read on and begin to understand them and their lives better.
Kamau, the main character is particularly well written. Over the course of the book, we learn more about this character. He starts out as someone filled with anger over the injustices in his life but over time we see many different sides of him. His temperamental personality seems to contradict those around him who seem to be extremely levelheaded (sometimes frustratingly so).
“Remember what can happen when you give in to evil.”
Over time, we learn why he is different and why emotions flow through him so easily unlike those around him. We also get glimpses into his past and learn about his family. In particular, the bond he has with his sister is something that is explored throughout the book. I really enjoyed the little flashbacks as well as the information we were getting bit by bit. It made me keep wanting to read more and even though I first read the book when I was very busy I found it incredibly difficult to put it down.
The other characters such as Irina, Commander Nakai and Kamau’s deceased sister Kimya are also very interesting. We also learn more about their background which is quite fascinating. Other side characters which were present for shorter moments in the book were also interesting as we learnt about their relationship with the main character and those around him. There were definitely some surprising moment that caught me off guard and since this book is the first of a series I also have a lot of questions which I am hoping will be answered in the next few books.
“Kamau could never tell if she was complimenting or teasing, or just being sarcastic.”
The plot was something I truly enjoyed. It seems like I always say this but I am not a big fan of fantasy or anything that isn’t set in the real world. Sure there are a few exceptions over the years but generally I go out of my way to avoid fantasy. It’s just never been something I have particularly enjoyed but it seems that this book has really made me rethink my stance on fantasy. I’m starting to think that maybe I just hadn’t found something that was the right fit for me because this book really took my breath away. I loved imagining Kamau, the guardians and the places they explored. In particular, I thought the writer did a brilliant job describing the areas Kamau and Irina travelled through on their journey. He also really described the characters amazingly to the extent where I could really imagine what they looked like in my mind- outfits and all. His descriptions were a really great addition to an already appealing plot.
As someone who was born and raised in East Africa, most of the books I have read don’t contain characters I can relate to or that look/sound like those around me so this was a nice breath of fresh air. I feel that way about the areas he described too. I think that’s part of why I found his descriptions so fascinating.
“Kamau slowly crossed the grasslands and when the noon sun became unbearable, he took refuge underneath a lone acacia tree where a couple of long-necked giraffes were lounging.”
I will not be revealing too much of the plot and ending but I will add that the ending left me very excited for the next book. Jude, if you’re reading this, we need the next book ASAP! And to everyone else reading this, remember the name of this book and add it to your TBR list because trust me when I say you do not want to miss out on it. Even if it doesn’t sound like something you read in general I would recommend giving it a read- you will be pleasantly surprised.
“Sisters bless you. Trust your spiritual instinct. Now GO!”
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