Book Review

The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi | Book Review

The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi
Release Date: 21st March 2023
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★

They say there is no water in the City of Lies. They say there are no heroes in the City of Lies. They say there are no friends beyond the City of Lies. But would you believe what they say in the City of Lies?

In the City of Lies, they cut out your tongue when you turn thirteen, to appease the terrifying Ajungo Empire and make sure it continues sending water. Tutu will be thirteen in three days, but his parched mother won’t last that long. So Tutu goes to his oba and makes a she provides water for his mother, and in exchange he will travel out into the desert and bring back water for the city. Thus begins Tutu’s quest for the salvation of his mother, his city, and himself.

The Lies of the Ajungo opens the curtains on a tremendous world, and begins the epic fable of the Forever Desert. With every word, Moses Ose Utomi weaves magic.

I have to admit, I normally have a hard time with novellas and short stories because I never feel they give me enough time to get into the world or story they’re trying to convey. The Lies of the Ajungo, however, was one of the outliers that truly worked for me.

While it’s true I think that this story could have been a whole novel and I would have eaten it up, I think it worked really well as a short story within a larger world. Judging by the description of the sequel, it looks as though this story will act as a background myth for the next story’s plot, which is one of my favourite tropes!

I loved following Tutu on his journey to find water in order to save his mother. He was so courageous, and seeing him tackle various obstacles and learn more about the world he was living in was a joy to read.

I do wish this could be a full novel because so much happened in just 87 pages, and I wanted to spend more time with the characters that we met.

I think the author had such a good idea with this story, though, and I could tell he had a great time writing it. I can’t wait to read the sequel to see where the world goes next!

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