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Review/ Nasomi’s Quest

Writer: Enock I. Simbaya

Publisher: MVmedia

MVmedia has an impressive catalog of African inspired fantasy and steampunk, known as steamfunk and sword and soul. I’ve been a fan of their body of work for years, having reviewed some of their first titles on an old blog of mine. When I learned that they would be publishing a new book called Nasomi’s Quest by Enock I. Simbaya, I knew I had to give it a shot.

Nasomi’s Quest tells the story of the titular young woman Nasomi, a farm girl with the gift of seeing glimpses of the future through dreams. One day, she meets and falls in love with Lord Tambo, son of a wealthy chieftain. Although they manage to marry and have a happy life together, a jealous woman named Reema threatens their livelihood. When Reema becomes a witch and kidnaps Tambo, Nasomi must embark on an epic quest to find him.

One of this book’s strengths is the development of Nasomi in terms of her character arc and special abilities. She has multiple roles throughout the story, with the most ordinary ones of sister, wife, mother, and friend forming a solid foundation for her more extraordinary ones. Without giving too much away, her compassion, resilience, and determination is wonderful to watch. I was pleasantly surprised to see how far her special abilities would grow.

Besides Nasomi, there is a good cast of characters overall. Tambo is considerate to a fault, while Reema is petty, vain, menacing, and pitiable. I also liked seeing Nasomi have a family of her own before going off on her adventure. My personal favorite character ended up being Dijina. Despite appearing late in the book, she won me over with her kindness and friendship with Nasomi. Although the cast of characters is large, the author managed to shift perspectives well with a clever use of Nasomi’s special abilities.

Another notable aspect of the book is the worldbuilding. Admittedly, a map or index of the different countries would’ve been helpful in terms of remembering where the characters are and where the story is set. However, it is the smallest of details that I noticed as I kept reading, such as the different types of magic, the role of creatures known as kowasa, and local lore of places that Nasomi passes through. In fact, the kowasa ended up being my favorite little detail. They felt like formidable, yet friendly creatures.

Although there were some aspects of the book that I liked, the book’s slow pacing kept me from really enjoying this book. The quest part of the story doesn’t actually start until after a hundred or so pages and I found the buildup to it dull. I personally wished that there had been more action in this book or something else to balance out the exposition and move the story along faster. Things picked up a little when Nasomi’s quest started, but only Nasomi’s character growth and the worldbuilding kept me interested.

Despite my issues with the pacing, Nasomi’s Quest still managed to be an intricate and intriguing adventure. The character arc of the titular protagonist and the setting’s rich worldbuilding are wonderful and something anyone of any age could enjoy. Nasomi’s Quest is a substantial tapestry of adventure that gradually unfolds a story of love, magic, and wonder.

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Latonya Pennington is a freelance writer from the southern United States specializing in entertainment and pop culture. In addition to BlackSci-Fi.com, her pop culture work can be found on The Mary Sue, Black Girl Nerds, and Buzzfeed. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found tweeting, reading, doing creative writing, or streaming music, shows and anime online. Find her on Twitter.

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