Review – In the Shadow of the Fall

Posted January 27, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Review – In the Shadow of the Fall

In the Shadow of the Fall

by Tobi Ogundiran

Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 160
Series: Guardians of the Gods #1
Rating: three-stars

Ashâke is an acolyte in the temple of Ifa, yearning for the day she is made a priest and sent out into the world to serve the orisha. But of all the acolytes, she is the only one the orisha refuse to speak to. For years she has watched from the sidelines as peer after peer passes her by and ascends to full priesthood.

Desperate, Ashâke attempts to summon and trap an orisha—any orisha. Instead, she experiences a vision so terrible it draws the attention of a powerful enemy sect and thrusts Ashâke into the center of a centuries-old war that will shatter the very foundations of her world.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ashâke wants to be a priestess, but the orisha don’t speak to her. Desperate to understand why, she attempts to summon and bind them, and thus gets tugged into a whole world of trouble. It takes a while for the story to show you exactly why, though: a little bit gets revealed, then you spend a bit of time with Ashâke exploring the world and getting a little more context, and then a little more of the story comes out.

There are some really fascinating details — I loved the scenes with the griots, in particular — but the story turns out to be on quite a big scale. Zoomed out, whole-plane-of-existence stuff, rather than one temple among many, or one unremarkable girl. I wonder almost if it might’ve worked better as a single novel, rather than two novellas: where we’re at by the end of the book obviously isn’t the end, and it’s a little unsatisfying because of it.

It did also feel very familiar, and I’m trying to remember in what way. The beats of the story really reminded me of something: I think it might be Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, actually, where Lyra ends up with the Gyptians for a time… Not that the two books are the same or anything, but I did get this uncanny sense of familiarity that I’ve been trying to pin down.

In any case, it has whet my appetite for more: I’m very curious what comes next, how Ashâke has changed as a result of the revelations, and what the world will look like when the events of the story are done.

Rating: 3/5

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2 responses to “Review – In the Shadow of the Fall

  1. It’s been a while since I read a good fantasy. Glad you liked it enough to anticipate more from the author.
    My TBR fantasy/sci fi book that I have been putting off cause it’s such a long book is Babel by Kuang. It has gotten rave reviews. The author attended Oxbridge though she’s American. Happy reading week.

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