Black Leopard Red Wolf : Book Review

“Bi oju ri enu a pamo.

Not everything the eye sees should be spoken by the mouth.”

Oof I finished this book and oh my do I have things to say.

To start off, I really struggled to get into this book for several reasons. But the most dominant one was the non-linear storyline. The shift back and forth between the present and the past are hard to keep track of. The characters are also introduced super quickly and I was feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of them.

But like any good and mentally challenging book, the journey was worth it. One thing that keeps coming back in people’s reviews is the amount of violence yes and also trigger warning: rape. It’s for sure not for the light hearted. However, there are a lot of things in this book that I consider a masterpiece.

(c) Trang Tran

The general plot of the the novel is our main protagonist Tracker, has an incredible sense of smell and can follow anything that leaves a tracer, hence his name Tracker and in an unexpected turn, he will be facing an unusual adventure filled with particular characters on his side. A lof of people compared this book to Game of Thrones and although I can see the resemblance (the big amount of characters and how they entertwined) it’s also a completely different set up and focus. While Game of Thrones offer us a glimpse of the upper class, the author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf seemed to not be interested at all in them. In fact, the author gives us the perspective of the people who are far from royalty, they are the villagers and the outcast.

(c) Trang Tran

The genius of this book lies in the beautiful writing and the complexity and the details of this storyline. Bringing forth African mythology and magic realism while paying homage to the African history with his rich imagination. And while exasperating, the characters were quite compelling. Each has their own personality and their dialogues are each funny and original.

I would totally recommend this book to any fantasy readers !

“Everything in the world cooks down to two. Either- or, if-then, yes-no, night-day, good-bad. You all believe in twos so much I wonder if any of you can count to three.”

Have you read the book? What did you think?

5 comments

  • I’m dying to read this one! I’m one of those rare people who loves non-linear storylines. I especially loved it in the book The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Hopefully will be checking this one soon. Great review 🙂

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  • I’ve not read it but have been curious about it. Your thoughts increase my desire to try it out one day when I have the time and concentration it might require. Reading about nobility and the upper class can be fun but it’s also really nice to get the perspective of the rest of us, the common folk caught up in whatever events play out. And add to that a touch of African mythology and culture and I’m interested as that’s not something I’ve read much of.

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  • Totally agree with you on this. I struggled to get into it as well but once I did, I was hooked and was able to see how great it is. The storyline threw me off too, but I do like how things come full-circle in the end. And what we learn of the boy close to the end was very interesting too. I guessed at it but was still surprised at what he had become/had become of him.

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  • I bought the audible version, but the reader had such a heavy accent, I couldn’t follow it well. Really wanted to get into it because I love magic realism.

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