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Last year I wrote a 2019 Christmas Gift Guide which featured the wonderful company Heady Mix. Heady Mix offer book box subscriptions and they kindly gifted me a range of Afrofuturism literature. I’d never heard of the genre, though it is one I’ve experienced before. Black Panther by Marvel is Afrofuturism!
The genre is essentially African culture combined with technology… a reimagining of the future through African storytelling. Pretty cool, right? If there’s one thing I love in books, it’s speculation around the future. It sounds fascinating, which is why I was so excited to finally get around to reading David Mogo Godhunter.
“Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.
Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.”
(Taken from Goodreads)
Before we go into the full review, let’s talk about the cover for a minute. How stunning is it? The cover is what drew me in – bright colours and contrast with such a great art style. The art doesn’t stop there either, with designs for both section intros and chapter headings. I really liked this – especially the shininess of the cover, with some details only visible in a certain light.
But onto the writing. The book is a really interesting novel – it’s such an original environment, and an exciting place for a setting. There’s a lot of Nigerian culture weaved into the storyline, and it’s truly immersive from the beginning. David Mogo is a great protagonist to follow, in love with what Nigeria used to be yet embracing its future as much as he can.The rich descriptions of this dystopian Lagos were captivating and full of depth.
One immersion technique I loved is the inclusion of Nigerian Pidgin, spoken between certain characters. It’s important to note that Pidgin is not wildly difficult to understand if you speak English. I had to think about a couple of the sentences, but the majority of it made sense. It gave an extra dimension to these characters, drawing on their culture to show their personalities. To be honest, it’s something I’d actually like to see more of within fiction. The Color Purple by Alice Walker does a similar thing, but it’s not something I’ve really seen in other books.
The book contains a lot of action, with many fight scenes and tense situations. David is powerful but he certainly has his weaknesses, and there are many times where he ends up worse off. This is good as I was worried that, being a demigod, he’d be a bit of a Mary Sue. He’s far from it, not only less strong than his opponents but also going through several emotional battles as well. Despite having an adult protagonist, the story very much has a “coming of age” vibe to it as David accepts what he truly is.
At times I felt the story was too much tell over show, with lots of description. It was exciting and gripping enough that this didn’t put me off, and I still found myself enjoying it throughout. I liked how many unexpected barriers the main characters faced, plus the introduction of new characters along the way. Papa Udi (David’s foster wizard) is a wonderful character, and I also loved Fati who joins them on their plight. There were some excellent god characters too, each with striking and memorable personalities. The author clearly has an expansive imagination, with some really curious and interesting scenes and characters (including a particularly bizarre water god).
David Mogo Godhunter is a great introduction to Afrofuturism literature for new readers. It will particularly appeal to those who already read fantasy or sci-fi.
I’d also recommend it for anyone looking to expand their intake of books from different cultures… David Mogo Godhunter is so culturally vibrant that it’s a unique and interesting experience for those that don’t know the culture, and a fascinating take on Lagos Island as a dystopian world for those that do. I’m looking forward to reading more from Suyi Davies Okungbowa, plus others within Afrofuturism literature!
If you’d like to purchase your own copy of David Mogo Godhunter then you can do so here:
“Suyi Davies Okungbowa is a Nigerian author of fantasy, science fiction and horror inspired by his West-African origins. His highly-anticipated debut, the godpunk fantasy novel David Mogo, Godhunter (Abaddon, 2019), was hailed as “the subgenre’s platonic deific ideal”. He lives between Lagos, Nigeria and Tucson, Arizona where he teaches writing to undergrads while completing his MFA in Creative Writing.”
(Taken from Goodreads)
Have you read any Afrofuturism literature before? Or have you experienced the genre through different media? Let me know below! Please also like and pin if you enjoyed this post – you can read other fantasy reviews here: