Title: Scarlet Odyssey (Scarlet Odyssey #1)
Author: C.T. Rwizi
Publication Date: July 1, 2020
Magic is women’s work; war is men’s. But in the coming battle, none of that will matter.
Men do not become mystics. They become warriors. But eighteen-year-old Salo has never been good at conforming to his tribe’s expectations. For as long as he can remember, he has loved books and magic in a culture where such things are considered unmanly. Despite it being sacrilege, Salo has worked on a magical device in secret that will awaken his latent magical powers. And when his village is attacked by a cruel enchantress, Salo knows that it is time to take action.
Salo’s queen is surprisingly accepting of his desire to be a mystic, but she will not allow him to stay in the tribe. Instead, she sends Salo on a quest. The quest will take him thousands of miles north to the Jungle City, the political heart of the continent. There he must gather information on a growing threat to his tribe.
On the way to the city, he is joined by three fellow outcasts: a shunned female warrior, a mysterious nomad, and a deadly assassin. But they’re being hunted by the same enchantress who attacked Salo’s village. She may hold the key to Salo’s awakening—and his redemption.
Why This Book
Scarlet Odyssey is the first in an African-inspired fantasy trilogy that has the characters taking the world’s gender roles and then flipping them on their heads. But political intrigue lies on the horizon for Salo and his newfound friends, as well as untold danger that will threaten their lives at every turn.
Why this book? Set in a fantastical version of Africa, it made me feel like I was in Africa, if Africa had two suns. While the geography did vary, just that cover makes me think of a serious heat. The world building is fantastic, though it does slow the story down quite a bit. Still, it’s a fantastic book with a setting that always makes me think of heat and summer, and how much I want to go to Africa one day.
My review: “The world building is the high point of this book. It was amazing and unique without being too outlandish. It really drew me in, which helped me really get into the story”
Fazila from Fazila Reads gave this 5 stars, saying “The story was original with its setting weaving mythology and African lore seamlessly to the plot”
Mike Finn from Mike Finn’s Fiction said “C. T. Rwizi manages to keep all this spinning and still have a story that is mostly character-driven and which is fast-paced enough that the 559 pages flew by and left me wanting more”
Garik16’s SciFi/Fantasy Reviews and Other Thoughts gave this 7.5 out of 10, saying “But beyond the brutality, the setting and the characters and the intrigues of the plot make this all work so well, even as you fear the worst so much of the time”
Andrew from The Quill to Live gave this 10 out of 10, saying “The cast of characters is robust with a protagonist that feels delightfully human and relatable and a supporting cast that is utterly unique. The story is mysterious, packed to the brim with adventure, and has a world and magic system that pulls from African lore and straddles both science fiction and fantasy”
Lili from Utopia State of Mind said “Scarlet Odyssey is a book you’re going to want to sink into slowly. There are so many moving parts in a world that is detailed and grand. If you aren’t one to appreciate books that you have to work with or a learning curve, then you might want to skip this one”
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