This gorgeous book (*swoon over the cover*) was part of Book Box Club’s Outlaws box, and it was actually signed by the author (no bookplate) plus it had a lovely yellow ribbon bookmark as part of the book (why won’t all books have one?).
A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe
Fourteen-year-old Sante isn’t sure where she comes from, but she has a recurring dream of escaping a shipwreck in a sea chest as a baby with her lifelong companion, golden eagle Priss. In the chest was an African bamboo flute, a drum and a dagger inlaid with diamonds. Sante was found and raised by Mama Rose, leader of a nomadic group of misfits and gypsies. They travel around contemporary southern Europe, living off-grid and performing circus tricks for money. Sante grows up alongside two twins, knife-thrower Cat and snake-charmer Cobra, whom she is in love with. During a performance in Cadiz, Sante recognises two men from her dream. They come after her to retrieve the treasures from the sea chest. Sante finds out that she is an Ashanti princess, whose parents probably perished in the shipwreck. After Cat rescues a beautiful red-haired girl called Scarlett from a gang, Mama Rose’s band are forced to flee the city. But Sante and Cobra stay behind, determined to find out more about her family and where she came from.
This book was really hard to review. The premise of the story is very interesting and it touches on prostitution, human trafficking and it is written by an author from Ghana/Britain, which gives it even more richness. And come on, it has a travelling circus and even a hawk! (Find the hawk in the picture)
However, the pacing was strange, it was very character driven but it wanted to be a plot driven book and with the plot it has, it should’ve moved faster than it actually did. Instead there is a lot of flashbacks, dreams, magic and a lot of musings that don’t move much, and they also don’t change the characters much.
I can say the book has a lot of potential and it required a bit of a tidy up regarding how the plot and writing flowed through the book.
I found the plot intriguing but didn’t particularly enjoy the writing or the book (but I loved listening to Yaba read the first chapter, it was so amazing! She should totally read audiobooks because that voice is a treasure).
I don’t have many African reads that come to mind right now, though this was actually set in Spain, and I can’t think of many books I have read dealing with the topics in this one. The closest I can relate to is the game Alice Madness Returns which is technically a retelling of Alice in Wonderland+Through the Looking Glass. I guess this means I should go read more books, of course I shall comply!
If you’d like to buy this gorgeous book, you can find it here.
Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.