Book Review: A New Fantasy Hit: TJ Young and The Orisha – The Gatekeeper’s Staff.

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( As a lover of mythology and fantasy fiction, I have waited a very long time for the era of fantasy that I could relate to when I immerse myself in the story. Let’s be honest, going to Hogwarts is great. We love Narnia. Middle Earth is magical and is part of the blueprint for what many expect in terms of fantasy fiction. Many of us love Greek mythology, and more people are loving Norse mythology also. Let’s be honest…Thor and Loki helped make it popular if it wasn’t already. Yet, these aren’t the only stories with a rich mythology to be told. “TJ Young and The Orisha – The Gatekeeper’s Staff” by Antoine Bandele is book one of a series whereby we can dive into a fantasy fiction whereby we are not a side character…we are the primary character. The deities of this pantheon is based on a culture we can fully identify with.

“His mother would’ve called it his Ashe at work: the force to make things happen and produce change. TJ just called it all a bunch of hocus pocus. He could never do anything with his own Ashe­­ – if he had any at all. But his family were powerful diviners with the ability to produce magic on a whim.”

A New Fantasy Hit - TJ Young and The Orisha - The Gatekeeper's Staff.
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There is a part of me that wants to say if you love Harry Potter, you will love TJ. Though I believe this to be true…there is so much more here in terms of culture. The reader will see a coming together of African and African-American culture weaved into the characters and the settings within the story. If is one whereby it reminds us of how much the diaspora has in common. It was beautiful to see our main character coming from a loving successful home; part of the magic is family. There was traditions and behaviors that we can identify with. The coming of age story is also alive and well in this book as we watch a middle child fight to come into his own.

“A few moments after that, TJ, Priest Glover, and elder Adeyemi sat in silence, Well, not exactly silence. TJ thought it was more like him sitting quietly while two diviners fixed him with discomforting stares, looking him up and down like some kind of show-dog before the contest as they mumble to each other in Yoruba he didn’t quite understand.”

The magic is wonderful! The struggle to find the magic in oneself is ever engaging for the reader. The character development, introduction of the Orishas, and plot twists keep the reader turning the page. When the last page is turned your will be ready to dive into the next book. There is a need to know what will happen next. This is a wonderful beginning to a book series; it can be appreciated by young people and adults. Just as many of us can relate to Harry, and we know why we want him to win…we can now relate to TJ and embark upon his coming of age quest with him. You will laugh, cry, and feel anxious with him. Your heart will both break and sore with him. Check this book out today.

TJ Young and The Orisha – The Gatekeeper’s Staff” by Antoine Bandele can be found at your local bookstore, Amazon, and anywhere books are sold.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

May connect with this sister over at FacebookC. Starr and also TwitterMrzZeta.