Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Read before: No
Ownership: Borrowed from Nikki at https://booksandlemonsquash.com/
I had my eye on Amari for a while but then didn’t buy it and somehow ended up borrowing it from Nikki. I do not regret my choices.
Overall the magic concept, the invitation Amari gets, and the “summer camp” are wonderful, alongside the way they get selected for a career and to develop magic. The worldbuilding was delightful, and I could see myself enjoying this now and even more if I had gone back in time and gifted this book to my younger self at around 10-12 years old.
The one thing I did struggle with a lot was the beginning of the book, I can’t put my finger on it but it just didn’t grab my attention and I had to force myself to get through the first few chapters. They read a little like a mix of Harry Potter with Meg Murray’s anger from A Wrinkle in Time, and yet it didn’t have the casual effect both series had on me, maybe it was because I had already read those books and therefore it just didn’t make the same impact to me. Not sure, but once I got past those starting chapters and more into the world, I was more into it.
I think the strength of this book is the world-building and the characters. I wasn’t actually huge on Amari, but the rest of the cast made up for the times I wanted to grab Amari and knock some sense into her, but overall it was a good set of characters that interacted well with each other and even the grown-ups had a good part in it at times.
The overall big reveal was well prepared for and yet it still wasn’t blatantly obvious sot hat you did feel surprised and yet could say “oh that makes sense”. Of course, this is a spoiler-free review so I will not reveal what that particular event is, but I enjoyed the plot and its development. It feels well suited for the target reader age and also suitable for readers of all ages.