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A book review of Taduno’s song-a deceptively simple fiction

Title: Taduno’s song
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Ouida Books/CanonGate
Year of Publication: 2017
Number of Pages: 218
Reviewer: Testimony Akinkunmi
Patience is a subtle thief review

Suppose you are a treasonist given a chance to start life again. Would you persist in fighting for freedom, or would you try another path to justice? 

Taduno, a popular musician everyone has forgotten about, had that chance to exist without his treasonous past life clinging to him. 

Most people that mattered in his life told him to move on, sing for the government, save his fiancé and live, but TK, the music manager that discovered him, said;

The government wants you to support it with your music. They will use you, then they will silence you. But I tell you that you are as good as dead if you do that.

So he returned to the battlefield, armed with his guitar and once angelic voice.

That decision would spell doom for everyone about him. The sergeant who helped him with the information will die. TK, who advised him to keep on, would disappear, and his fiancé, the love of his life whose threatening letters wanted him to keep fighting the faith, would be lost forever.

Hope would flee.

Lagos truly had fallen. The protesters refused to return to the streets. Too many of their own had died in battle. ‘Maybe we shouldn’t have taken up arms against the government,’ they wailed. In anguish, they realized that the dictator had them exactly where he wanted.

Yet, the nation still wanted a miracle.

Odafe Atogun‘s Taduno song.

Something isn’t right about Taduno’s voice. It lacks the passion that used to inspire joy in us. What is happening to him? What is happening to us?’ She left the questions hanging and added: ‘We still love him dearly. We still want his voice to lead us. The whole nation is waiting.’

From the onset, the story’s didactic nature strikes a chord of reminiscing in the Nigerian man about a time that hasn’t yet left.

The ghost of Anikulapo Fela Kuti, represented by Taduno, reminds us of what is at stake in our democracy and country.

The story ends with Taduno singing. A song that loves and betrays.

About the Author

Odafe Atogun was born in Nigeria, in the town of Lokoja, on the confluence of the rivers Niger and Benue. He is now a full-time writer, married, and lives in Abuja.


Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye Review- a tale of blurred morality and traumatic injustice

Title: Blood Scion
Genre: Fiction
Author: Deborah Falaye
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year of Publication: 2022
Number of Pages: 432
Reviewer: Testimony Akinkunmi
Blood Scion review

Blood Scion creates a fantasy world of blurred morality and over aching injustice.

Despite her dead mother’s attempt to give Sloane a chance to start life with a clean slate. She fails. Her Yoruba identity means her death, but it will only get worse for everyone around her when her Scion identity is recognized.

Deborah Falaye tells this incredible Yoruba-based mythology story brilliantly and tearfully. That we surrender and try to see ourselves in the character’s shoes. 

Blood Scion has some trigger warnings. It is heavily character-driven, and Sloane makes it emotional and real. The dilemma where she had to decide whether to kill her friend since childhood or be killed is something a fifteen year should never be asked to choose. And with that act, though, she becomes a murderer. 

‘Once again, I must sacrifice others to save myself, trade their lives for my own freedom.’

Sloane’s story isn’t that way. Her character makes us root for her, wishing that, with the new friends she would get in the camp, she would be able to kill the royals and escape to the lands beyond. And happily ever after. 

She would have to decide what matters most: her humanity or survival. She could never have both.

Blood Scion
Blood scion eso

The choice of language in Blood scion is a big improvement from other Yoruba fantasies published in America in recent years. When the characters speak, there is strong linguistic and emotional support for what they are saying.

“A little too late for that, don’t you think? I have no use for your apology, Sloane. I just want you to pay for what you’ve done. It’s the only way to make it right.”

When Malachi speaks here, we see him as a vengeance stalker and hurt orphan. It is a painful recollection.

The ancestors are fucking with me.

Preying on my vulnerability.

This sentence shows a rare sample of American English in a well-balanced linguistic diction. Deborah Falaye prostitutes the English language and hails the Yoruba linguistic catalog.

This book is for you if you want to know more about bloody betrayal, spiritual incantations, and how what is wrong might be the best option.

Note: Trigger warnings are laced across the text.

About the Author

Deborah Falaye is a young adult novelist from Nigeria who lives in Canada. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where she devoured African literature, pestered her grandmother for folktales, and tricked her grandfather into watching Passions every night. When she’s not writing about powerful Black heroines with badass powers, she’s obsessed with reality TV. Deborah presently resides in Toronto with her husband and their Yorkie companion in crime, Major. Her debut novel is Blood Scion.

Patience is a subtle thief review-a Nigerian story of lost innocence

Title: Patience is a subtle thief
Genre: Fiction
Author: Abi Ishola-Ayodeji
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year of Publication: 2022
Number of Pages: _
ISBN: 9780063116917
Reviewer: Testimony Akinkunmi
Patience is a subtle thief review

In her journey, Patience Adewale will find love. She will find her mother. But at a very huge cost.

Imagine a young teenage Nigerian girl who has everything, money, prestige, and even elite education. But lacks a real family. That was Patience’s life. Rather than guide her on a journey through the memory path. Her father would antagonize her. The relatives will reprimand her. And she would live the life of a prodigal one. Hustling her way into the school through scams and bad company.

Her desire to know her real mother remained strong, despite its cost to her relationship with her father. A poorer condition of living. And forfeiture of the good things and comfort of life.

And in a conversation with her father, we would find the truth.

Patience, how did you become like this?”

“Like what, Daddy? Lost? Because I am lost, Daddy. I am lost, and you refuse to help me. Why? What did she do to you? How can you keep my own mother from me?” Tired from the struggle, she allowed her tears to run.

Patience is a subtle thief summary

Slowly, the pressures of life would make her forget her family. Until she meets Kenny.

“You say her name is Patience?” Kenny said, smiling. “I thought you don’t believe in ease. Ease is the cousin of patience.”

“Patience is a subtle thief. It’s a thief of time and a thief of money. See this country? People have been patient with democracy. Patient for change. All their patience will eventually steal their hope. They say fraud, and they say 419 when they speak of what I do, but the government is really the biggest fraud. Anyway, the girl Patience is good for the job. I don’t care what her name is.”

As the book comes to an end, against the backdrop of a broken 1990s Nigeria. Patience will remember the fragility of her life. And decide to do all it takes to get to her mother in the USA. Even if it will cost her love, life, and comfort.

You can also read the review of Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi here.

Either you assume Patience is a noun or an adjective. You are right. Her Character growth surprises and intensifies. She grows along with situations. That way they work for her and if they don’t, she strives to make it better.

About Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, Author of Patience is a subtle thief

Abi Ishola-Ayodeji is an award-winning journalist who has written and produced for a variety of platforms such as, PBS,, CUNY TV, and others. She has covered amazing people, communities, and events in New York City, Washington, DC, London, Paris, Nigeria, Ghana, and elsewhere as a reporter and TV producer.

Beyond Classically Beautiful, her acclaimed photo series turned lifestyle brand that celebrates Black women who defy traditional beauty standards, was named one of ESSENCE Magazine’s Woke 100 Women in 2017.

She grew raised in Miami Gardens, Florida, as a first-generation Nigerian American, but she cherishes her brief period in high school in Lagos.

She may be found writing, brainstorming, and reading novels when she is not spending time with her husband and two children.

Review//Madhouse-T.J Benson

Title: The Madhouse
Genre: Fiction
Author: Tj Benson
Publisher: Penguin Random House/Masobe
Year of Publication: 2021
Number of Pages: 313
ISBN: 978-1-4859-0415-1
Reviewer: Testimony Akinkunmi
a table showing the madhouse review

THE MADHOUSE is the second of Tj Benson books, the first he is getting as a Masobe author. The book is a reminder to hold on, breathe deep or get lost in a subjective world of madness.

The Madhouse is a rhapsody of narratives, intimacies, and the unorthodox. And house number 37 on Freetown Street, Old Quarters, Sabon Gari is the cardinal point. The house is a comfort for foreigners from the heat and travails during colonial times. Years later, Sweet Pea and Shariff would find the same strange assistance within the same walls. Succor that would be questioned by ‘the women of Freetown Street, who chorused, “God of Elijah, send down faya with flame torches in their hand.”’ And strays who want to find out what is special about the Madhouse.

Set in the 1990s, the Madhouse would be the slight aftertaste of Ben Okri’s The Famished Road in how the sentences flow and the plot moves. The viscerality of shared dreams looks less taboo and more like a miracle in how Tarfa Jason Benson explains the phenomenon of Macmillan finding himself in Andre’s dream. The author’s note reminds you that he knew there would be queries about some elements of his book. So, it should be fewer questions, more understanding.

This book is for you if you love authentic multi-perspectives in a novel, with each character living life to its fullest, having maniacal dreams and wayward intimacy. But in the same breath, different nostalgic Nigerian songs are scattered like aesthetic bread crumbs around the books. A queer and ominous reminder that there isn’t one way to tell this story. 

The Madhouse takes you to Amsterdam, India, and then, with a thud, back to Nigeria, with a simple tune of disorganization and poverty weaved to mean child-friendly and untouched by the state of affairs in the country. The loss of innocence leaks from father and mother to sons, then daughter {Ladidi}. So that even when it means death, you take hand to eye, wishing them to hope as the military dictatorship grows.


Review // Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi-a redemption or another dystopian

Onyebuchi in Riot Baby depicts a fatherless family with a society-battered woman, a faulty super heiress, and a trouble magnet son. After the mother dies due to cancer, and the son is incarcerated for what the system makes him do, he asks:  What happens? Redemption or another Black Life Riot.

When you have within you the power to wreck cities & see the future. You tend to overlook the fragility of family and immerse yourself in the chaos of a wider world. In a now-more-than-ever-relevant dystopian. Tochi warns us that Black American crises like racial profiling, police brutality, and broken families will always exist. Brewing below, the calm of innocence and curiosity.

In a viewpoint that combines the dynamism of an omniscient perspective with the intimacy of the first person, balance, not even peace, and hope, not even compromise, makes its presence felt more clearly. As I immerse myself into Ella, seeing what she sees, using a superpower with no manual, nearly being killed and trying to kill another. Fear waters down into freedom, family builds up into an incarcerated companionship. All symbolism tells a tale of when would we say never again.

riot baby cover picture

Kev, born while Los Angeles was on fire, continues to burn into the precipice of jail. It is as if a part of him magnets into the ironic calm the prison can bring. Despite warning by friends, half enemies and Ella, robbery gives him up to jail. And in jail, He seems as if it isn’t him who is in jail, almost like a part of who he is, separated from him. He is then forced to see as this part of him gets beaten and lacking a chance to be human.

Riot Baby Quotes

When you have a purpose that doesn’t involve hurting someone else, it changes the way you walk.

Baby, that’s just the Devil at work. But you know there’s more out there than just the Devil.

Riot Baby Awards and nominations

Nebula Award for Best Novella Nominated

Goodreads Choice for Science Fiction Nominated

2021 Alex Award Won

Locus Award for Best Novella Nominated

World Fantasy Award for Best Novella Won

Hugo Award for Best Novella Nominated

Nommo Award for Best Novella Shortlisted

Ignyte Award for Best Novella Won

About the author of Riot Baby

Originally from Nigeria, Tochi Onyebuchi is a science fiction writer from the United States and a former civil rights attorney. His first adult novel, Riot Baby, was nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award and Nommo Award in 2020.

Review|| Lightseekers by Femi Kayode- a hymn of campus gangterism

The mystery-thriller genre in Nigeria has got a new pacesetter. Lightseekers indulge in our mundane Nigerianness- think of strikes, cultism, and revenge- to create a breathtaking plot and dopamine accentuating pace.

Femi Kayode’s characters are Nigerians in their totality, except perhaps John Paul, whose characterization is a suppressed characterization in African fiction. Kayode knows this limitation, and he uses the classic American mystery template to build an in-depth, almost relatable villain. But he doesn’t stop there, he makes us realize that a character like John Paul is often on the sidelines. “There will always be a Tamuno (John Paul) around us. You see it everywhere. Politicians. Businessmen. People who prey on our fear of each other for their selfish gains.” But they all do it in subtle, harmful yet praised ways.

The character of Beatrice falls in the field of more conveniently formed than realistically possible. It makes you wonder what the likelihood is of Dr Taiwo meeting a woman who has 5-star accommodations for him, knows everyone in the village, and can easily be a romantic figure. It was too stereotypical. However, her legal ‘betrayal’ punctured a hole in her stereotypical caricature.


Kayode’s plot stand tall, and he plays the Agatha Christy game card of revealing our culprit early on, but in an off-handed by-pass. The intrigue hardens when the President of a national bank is ready to commit murder just to attack his grief. And avenge his son whose innocence is unbalanced.

Femi Kayode vistas into the Nigerian University life and the beneficial but uncomfortable symbiosis with their native environment. ‘Look around my town, Dr Taiwo,’ The Chief uses his walking stick to sweep the air in an arc. ‘How many youths do you see from here going to that university? How many people from this town have access to the teaching hospital without paying plenty of money? The list goes on. What has that university brought us but discontent?’

‘But you said it brought the money?’

The Chief breathed deeply. ‘Money only breeds a desire for more money. Nothing more.’

At junctures, where our dopamine might seem to be reaching intensive suspense dosage. The author puts a bit of normalcy and questions to make us back off and see the big picture. He insists with his pace that this town ‘knows who kill these three students, but it is why we should worry ourselves about.’

Ultimately, this novel takes a piece of the fabric of Nigeria that concerns youths. It weaves it in pages lacking in historical proverbs or usual African folktales, a narrative that says even the contemporary Nigeria is in as much danger as when the colonialists came to power. In a way, it is an exorcism of some sort to strip crime naked and point out the havoc it is creating.

To say the truth when lights reveal some of our secrets, like Chika’s cultist background or the darkness in Emeka. We might want to tell the light seekers. ‘Off the Mic.’ But we must remember what Beatrice says, ‘My mother’s people are not bad people,’ she says, looking down at me. ‘They’re not good either. They are just humans. What they did is inexcusable in a world that makes sense. But you’ve been here long enough to see that very little makes sense in this part of the world. And though it is not an excuse, it is the reality of what happens.’ 

Should you read Lightseekers?

Yes, LightSeekers is an organismic brain satisfier. You wouldn’t be able to put it down.


Femi Kayode trained as a clinical psychologist in Nigeria, before starting a career in advertising. He has created and written several primetime TV shows and recently graduated with a distinction from the University of East Anglia Creative Writing program. He lives in Windhoek, Namibia, with his wife and two sons.

Review| Clap when you land-how to write a novel-in-verse


Elizabeth Acevedo’s use of novel-in-verse beautifies fiction with a peculiar style. But she doesn’t stop there. She recounts real tales and humane flaws in a way that makes us love and cry.

Clap when you land is Acevedo’s third fiction piece, and its chasmic yet deliberate plot tells history from a bereaved teenage mouth. Secrets are not only ugly, sometimes they are destiny-alternating. And that is exactly what happens to Camino and Yahaira. The unveiling of what binds them is exactly the same thing that makes them ask the difficult question of whether they wanted to wield the secret or get emotionally mutated by it.

Clap When You Land is a young adult literature that explores themes of heredity, class and privilege, as well as the complex, conflicted emotions the girls feel toward their birthplaces

clap when you land cover

As consistently seen in Acevedo’s work, her characters fight grief, and betrayal just to understand their place in the world after their pillar dies. The settings flow seamlessly between the Dominican Republic and the United States, not only in landscape but in word usage. Brings us closer to the intricacies and nuances of an anglicized national dialect.


But death and secrets aren’t all that clap when you land by Elizabeth Acevedo is about. Our main characters also have their life, Yahaira and her female friend. Camino and her friend who is a teenage mother. Yahaira and her obsession with being normal, Camino and unsafe men. At every point, where the characters alternate between who tells the story we nod to them when they say, we can only go ‘Onward. Always onward.’

A genre-defining piece of brilliance and love.




Elizabeth Acevedo is a Dominican-American poet and author.[1] She is the author of the young adult novelsThe Poet XWith the Fire on High, and Clap When You LandThe Poet X is a New York Times Bestseller,[2]National Book Award Winner,[3] and Carnegie Medal winner.[4] She is also the winner of the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2018 Pura Belpre Award, and the Boston-Globe Hornbook Award Prize for Best Children’s Fiction of 2018. She lives in Washington, DC.[5][6]

REVIEW||Let’s this story properly-The stanzas of home and departing


How far can you travel to find a home elsewhere? In a provocative yet vulnerable way, Jennifer Kumbi guides us to get answers to this. In most short stories, there is a tendency to be finite and crisp making such stories lack sporadic and reality. But in each of the 12 stories, each character gives us a fresh, almost filial feel of their circumstances and how they go through each of them.

Young discerning boys, ubiquitous women, bonded men all have Uganda in common. “We poor people are embarrassed by poverty. We hide it. There’s no need to look at a person saying I’ve tried Britain and failed. Where is the hope for the dreamer?”

And despite the winter and acrimony, the pain and the growth, at the end, everyone wants a family, a home, a place to be. Makumbi chose her characters so well and the plot so tainted that you would definitely say this is real life been given back to us.

And as Noah Mintz said, ‘A single story is never the whole story. The only proper way to tell it is as multiple narratives, lives that interweave and tie together, but are ultimately unique and independent. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi grants us this as a corrective, a bright and rich collection that offers a glimpse into the expat community without presuming to show the whole picture.’

This is the perfect short story about migrants (NO!) Expatriates.


Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1967, and now lives in Manchester. Her first novel, Kintu, was longlisted for the Etisalat prize in 2014, and she won the Commonwealth Short Story prize in the same year. Her first short story collection, Manchester Happened, was published in 2019. She was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell prize for fiction in 2018. Her new book, The First Woman, is a powerful feminist rendition of Ugandan origin tales, charting the young girl Kirabo’s journey to find her place in the world.



Review| Teller of Secrets-a woman’s husband is her glory


Teller of secrets is an intimate recounting of the patriarchal horrors of the 1960’s West Africa. And through the text, we find a feminism which might have gine too far just to prove a point.

One of the best books to read to understand the diversive patriarchal African culture. Immediately, you go a short page with Esi you immediately feel lucky that you have this omniscient view. Although her story isn’t objective. It is humane. At random points, as if this was a tale she thought we could regard as a mere lie. She speaks to us directly, She tells us she is ‘creating cupboards in my mind where I lock up scenes that threaten to shred me to pieces.‘ However at other times, you wonder if she isn’t exaggerating. Could she remain sane despite the pain and harrowing fate that she faced while trying to explore. While trying to find the identity that her father claimed could only come if she married.

The teller of secrets as a story of young female Nigerian-Ghananian is first an intriguing piece into the personalities Esi can conveniently be without threatening her Papa or her half sister. Then a series of near miss rebellion against tyranny. Tyranny from those she thought would be modern enough to love her and not try to own her. Tyranny from a father who couldn’t conceive of a woman as herself, and only a vestige of the husband. Bisi’s words are not just merely flowery, they achieve a nuisance.

A steady reminder that our persona isn’t just a full grown woman but one who knew when a bed shook shweequaw shweequaw and even it shakes normally. She also says, In the middle of the night, I feel ants crawling around the edges of my nightgown. I brush them off but they keep coming. I snap awake up to discover the ants are Rudolph’s fingers stealing under my nightgown. They creep between my legs, trying to pull my drawers to one side. His excited breath infuriates me. Pretending to be still asleep, I fling my arm out, whacking him hard. He holds still. From his fast breathing I know he is dying to come at me. When he thinks I’m sleeping, the fingers resume their creeping. I move and whack him again, then it’s creep, whack, creep, whack until he understands it’s not happening.

Have to heard about his only wife?

But still a question keeps nagging me, his African patriarchy so blatant. Her Papa made her go to the best schools, telling her to keep herself unlike her half-sisters who were a disgrace and at the end, he reminds her that a woman’s glory is her husband. Sometimes I am unsure as to Esi’s assuredness. Did she become wiser than her age by pain or simply what she would grow up to by her genes especially with no mother in her life. “When a farmer plants a seed, the soil has no right to refuse. Soil has no life. A woman does. She is not soil, and no man may plant in her at will. No one may own another human being. I am the only one who should decide if I can take a pill or not. Anything done inside me is my choice alone. I am the queen of my body.”At the end, the character live up to their worth providing the anger, backstory or fate that drives the plot. The settings are abysmally plain but numerous enough to keep a sense of peculiarism. A good story. An unbelievable plot.


Amazon | HarperCollins


Bisi Adjapon’s writing has been featured in journals and newspapers such as McSweeney’s Quarterly, Washington Times, Daily Graphic, and Chicken Bones. She founded and ran the Young Shakespeare company for four years in America, and as an International Affairs Specialist for the US Foreign Agricultural Service, won the Civil Rights Award for Human Relations. Of Women and Frogs began as a short story, which was nominated for the Caine Prize. She lives in Ghana.

Review | The gilded ones-a story of redeeming feminism


Namina Forna’s the gilded one is a story about brutal survival, unforgivable quisling and redeeming feminism.

It would be impossible to say in one breath what the gilded one is to me. But I would try. Set in Otera, the first of its series. We see coming of age girls who are born a crime. Their very existence, a taboo. Namina however don’t leave it at this cliche surface. She humanizes her tale, she humanizes monsters, she humanizes deity in ways that show that at the end we are all the same.Deka, our main character is like most of us, powerful, destined but ignorant. And when she is no longer ignorant, she tries to run away from who she is, tries to become someone else. Will it be too late before to make peace with her identity?

There is a certain sense of comradeship that Namina builds among all the ladies that bleeds gold. They didn’t build it easily but when it mattered. The fear and the anxiety of whether it would last till the end held us. Will they betray themselves to the jali? To allow them keep being domineering or will they stand by each other even through death? The plot thickens masterfully, and the part that remains with me the most is when Belcalis reveal how people of their nature are treated, ‘Once I stopped being hurt, being violated, they faded.” She smiles bitterly. “And that’s the worst part. The physical body – it heals. The scars fade. But the memories are for ever. Even when you forget, they remain inside, taunting you, resurfacing when you least expect.”‘ This quietly reminded me that it is best never to be a thorn to anyone. Because once we commit the act, we can never undo it. Never.For a fantasy genre, the gilded one theme is far from cliche, sometimes even treading the part of diversity and newness.


But it would be wrong to talk about what Namina has written without taking about why she wrote it. The gilded ones examines patriarchy. How does it form? What supports it? How do women survive under it? And what about men or people who don’t fall into the binary? Who thrives and who doesn’t? It does all this in an unashamedly objective manner. Adeptly using characters to drive the plot. Although as common in most female fantasy fiction, there is the tendency that romance seems just like a reprieve not a momentum. Keila and Deka fail in giving a more physical expression of their love, time and time again. But I am only sated when he took the ultimate decision of volunteering to kill Deka. Wishing that it is the hands of a loved one she dies not a stranger.I am actively expecting the next in the series and hoping with all that have, that the damage hasn’t gone too far.


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Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the New York Times bestselling epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves telling stories with fierce female leads and works as a screenwriter in LA.

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