Today I’m delighted to introduce Jude Itakali and his latest book. I know Jude more for his gorgeous poetry and was excited to read his fantasy fiction. Broken Ties is the second book in his Realms of the Mist series. And what a beautiful cover! My review is below, but first, here’s Jude:
DARKNESS, LIGHT, AND LIFE CHOICES
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: There is often a line between good and evil. This is very important because it forms the basis for the laws which protect us. But we must avoid becoming zealots, uncompromising and unempathetic. Unfortunately, the world is filled with too many this or that choices with no third option. Personally, when I come across these I’m frustrated, but we cannot avoid them.
It is, for this reason, I have a protagonist from a tribe of death, or a villain with complicated intentions. I throw, or at times ease, most of my characters into these kinds of situations. I want to see if together, we can’t find “another way”.
With epic stakes of a world’s fate, they must often make bitter choices at the expense of personal desires, but maybe they’ll surprise you when you least expect it.
Kamau, Ninuwe, and Kena, are bound by the trials of their recent past and forced onto a dark and magical quest through the Gifted realms of Africa. They must assemble the God-killer, an ancient weapon that can destroy the Evil One. The problem is; the Evil One has irreversibly merged with Kamau’s once closest and only friend, Irina.
War is brewing. Monsters are slipping into the greater human world. Gods are toying with them. The mission demands sacrifices that seem too costly to pay, and yet they must still navigate a desperate love triangle and allies who blur with enemies.
Will Kamau and his friends find the strength to do whatever it takes?
“Seeing Kena again invoked a vision Kamau had experienced countless times since his Coming-of-age ceremony; Irina, arguing with a green-eyed shadow on Mountain Nyiragongo, the look of pain in her face as it had told her to sacrifice one of them, and the tear that none had seen as Timothy, Kena’s husband, begged for his life, before Irina had dropped him into the fiery volcano. Pity had diluted Kamau’s anger. What evil choice had Irina faced to make her kill not just his sister, but Timothy as well.
Kena tapped Kamau’s cheek, jolting him out of the memory, “Brooding as ever. And here I was thinking you’d be as excited to see me.”
I’ve read Jude Itakali’s beautiful poetry collection “Crossroads” and enjoyed his rich use of language and sublime imagery. This is the first book of his fantasy fiction that I’ve tried, and I encountered the same vivid descriptions in some entrancing worldbuilding. Though this is partly a contemporary story with modern dialog, it’s primarily set in several magical African realms. It’s full to the brim with flavors of African culture and mythology (real, fantasy, and probably both). Itakali’s imagination is impressive.
Three friends – Kamau, Ninuwe, and Kena – are seeking the parts of a powerful weapon, the God-killer, which they’ll need to destroy the Evil One who has inhabited the body of one of their close friends. Their quest introduces them to both dangerous and helpful magic-wielders, bloodthirsty monsters, fickle gods, and brutal war games. Romance is a secondary plot thread with elements of a love triangle and hints of betrayal.
I didn’t start the series with the first book, Realms of the Mist, but I recommend that approach since this isn’t a stand-alone novel. Beginning with the first will fill in some backstory and help build a connection with the main characters. Kamau is the character I got to know best, and I liked his steadiness, smarts, and nobility. Ninuwe and Kena are also three-dimensional and excellent allies. Since the group moves into new realms throughout the story, there are a lot of characters to keep track of.
The plot has many elements of a quest with new challenges encountered along the way. Accordingly, the pace alternates between high-speed adventure and danger (including some bloody battles), and slower interludes of romance, conversation, and exposition. The story does end with a massive cliffhanger, so be prepared to read onward. Recommended to fans of epic fantasy quests, magical mythology, and amazing world-building set in Africa.
Jude Itakali is a poet, writer, and fiction author from the suburbs of Kampala, Uganda.
His latest novel, “Broken Ties” is the second in his debut fantasy trilogy, Realms of the Mist, with the third book in production.
Jude’s poetry has been featured in No.1 bestselling anthologies like Hidden in Childhood and Poetry Treasures, as well as his first poetry collection; “Crossroads (Winds of love)”.
When not crunching numbers into a computer, or pursuing infrequent exercise routines, you can find Itakali writing fiction in a small cubicle, or under a tree writing poetry and short stories for his website Tales told different.
BLOG TOUR PERKS
Pdf/epub copies of Broken Ties to three of the most regular participants in the blog tour comments section, as well as a copy of CROSSROADS for each.
You can get Jude’s tour schedule by visiting his blog: