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The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

(The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  3,325 ratings  ·  756 reviews
Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors' artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.

The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors lef
Paperback, 212 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by
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Natalie 100% not a bromance. It's a same sex relationship with no explicit sexual content. The romantic and sexual relationship between them is made clear mul…more100% not a bromance. It's a same sex relationship with no explicit sexual content. The romantic and sexual relationship between them is made clear multiple times in passing and metaphor.(less)

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Start your review of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, #1)

Okay. Vexation voided, frustration exfoliated.

So I’m gonna lay into this mafa. I gonna take a machete upside this beyotch, gonna show you guts, some shock-of-white-bone, a little bit o critique hoodoo.

But before I do, allow me to expound on why I must needs wage this figurative war. I believe in the ‘Challenging’ book [exhibits A, B, & C]. A disparaging of the easy pleasure read being not my intent, I nevertheless offer the following thesi
Althea Ann
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After seeing literally dozens of reviews for this novella, I had to see for myself what was going on here... I'd read only one other story from Wilson previously, and it didn't blow me away - but this - this was great.

A few of the reviews I'd seen criticized the style as being opaque and/or confusing. I didn't find it so at all. On the contrary, it was much more straightforward than the other story I'd read ('The Devil in America.') Sure, there's a gradual reveal of information which adds depth
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I wish to preface this review by saying I was entranced by this story and I loved it with all my heart – the same heart that was PULLED FROM MY CHEST AND STOMPED ON by its ending. Oh, look: my heart bleeding at Kai Ashante Wilson’s feet.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps follows a caravan traversing a dangerous road.

It’s a story about brothers in arms, the army of warriors hired to defend the caravan. The bothers all stem from different backgrounds, with different languages and cultures. They are all
i liked the style and the energy of this book very much. it’s an appealing mash-up of traditional fantasy adventure tropes peppered with harlem renaissance/jazz age cadence:

The horseman pulled up short. (Breeze blowing northwesterly still: Fat-Man’s bowels let go)

and others more modern and hip-hop-rambunctious:

”You almost got him! That was gold, my nigga! Not fake, not fool’s, not dross: GOLD. Nigga, it was some official shit you just did, almost beating the captain like that! That, my nigga, wa
Richard Derus
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quiltbag
Rating: 5* of five Gorgeous. I'll pull a real review out of the tears and snot as soon as the jukiere's tusks rip themselves out of my flesh.

So, because I found a pull-quote from one of my reviews unattributed on Amazon, back to posting links to my blog.
#ReadingIsResistance to homophobia

First of a series of SFnal fantasy works set in a distant future post-apocalyptic Africa. Delightful reading, beautiful prose-mongering, deeply s
I was all braced to love this, based on the reviews that I’d read. I wanted to, especially because the world is interesting, the relationships and the fact that it features a gay love story, and because it’s written half in vernacular, half in something more formal, which keeps it very much alive.

However, I had two problems. One was with the structure of the story. The last fifty pages were frenetic and packed full, exploding with stuff. The first hundred-fifty, however… barely went anywhere, an
Julio Genao
Jun 02, 2016 marked it as to-read
oh, yes.

yes, yes, yes, yes.

soon, beloved.

Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovely and unexpected, and wholly unique with its language and manner.

Coming across this again after a while, I can't remember the specifics of the plot, but can still vividly recall the impact from the distinctive, poetic bearing this had. And after having read Marlon James's spectacular, senses rousing Black Leopard, Red Wolf this year, this now feels it could be a perfect, delicate appetizer for that stronger course.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it liked it
On the surface, The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps is a story about Demane, a "sorcerer" accompanying the Captain he loves in a dangerous journey across the desert and then the Wildeeps, where he'll have to face something powerful and horrible. It's not necessarily always linear, and there's very little plot, because its heart is elsewhere.

I want to point out that I can't do this novella justice. This is a book whose very structure and use of English is a commentary on language and what's considered r
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Demane is a man with a family legacy that marks him as separate from other men, such that his companions refer to him as the Sorcerer. He is deeply loyal to his Captain, a man also marked by power but of a different sort, and their band of mercenary guardsmen. They find themselves at the city Mother of Waters where they hear stories of a malevolence that has made its home directly on the route that their caravan plans to take.

Language is the star of this unusual fantasy tale, and you can see how
Zitong Ren
Yeah look, this was good. It had interesting characters, plot and some fairly solid world building considering the length of the book. I don’t know if I wasn’t paying enough attention, but nothing really gripped me and I couldn’t get that used to the writing style(I’m not saying that it was bad, but just not really for me). 6/10
Book Riot Community
The first in the Publishing’s line of novellas, The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by the inimitable and powerful Kai Ashante Wilson is the story equivalent of the shot heard around the world. A rich, immersive, heartbreaking study in the character of Demane, one of the last grandchildren of the gods, and the mysterious, beautiful Captain, Wilson’s world is full of characters that honestly reflect the world we live, each with their own language and homeland and life, that they bring with them ...more
Thomas Wagner
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
A launch title among Publishing's late-2015 novella (or short novel, depending on how finely you choose to split hairs) line, Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps calls to mind the possibly apocryphal review Dorothy Parker is said to have bestowed upon a book by no less than Benito Mussolini. It is not a story to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.

All right, that may be a tad overly dramatic. But the advance hype surrounding Wilson's story is, regr
Timothy Urges
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tell us, my son: how are you faring in those strange lands, so far from home? Whom have you chosen to walk with, to talk to: some good woman, some kind man?

Demane the Sorcerer joins Isa the Captain and others charged with guarding a caravan of merchants journeying through the Wildeeps.

Demane is faced with the divinity in his DNA, new love, and a necromantic beast that stalks the caravan.

A challenging and original novella blending science and fantasy. I am very interested in seeing more of th
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely and unexpected, and wholly unique with it's language and manner.

Coming across this again after a while, I can't remember the specifics of the plot, but can still vividly recall the impact from the distinctive, poetic bearing this had. And after having read Marlon James's spectacular, senses rousing Black Leopard, Red Wolf this year, this now feels it could be a perfect, delicate appetizer for that stronger course.
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Sep 04, 2020 marked it as to-read
Tor free ebook of the month, through Sept. 5!
Paul O’Neill
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
It was okay..... The characters reminded me of Joe Abercrombie, so if you're a fan of his, you'll probably enjoy this. Although it did have a few problems.

The quest isn't really inspiring, it's just a set of characters looking to get someplace because their caravan master tells them they have to.

The book could've been a lot better if it was longer, instead the author tries to cram way too much into a small amount of pages.

And lastly on my rant list, is the fact that it suffered from 'reread sy
Dawn F
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I NEED MORE! Honestly, I’m deducting a star just for that abrupt ending.

This was such a pleasure! A kind of Western African inspired fantasy/mythology, with a vivid, rich cultural life. The plot was somewhat wafty - I believe this group of people were basically just travelling? not sure for what, though - but the writing style made me think of Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which I enjoyed a lot. Though it’s so short and there’s literally no intro, and once you really wanted to know more, the blasted
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.

The last 20% were beautiful. The words not so much told a story, but painted a picture filled with emotion. Yet I had a hard struggle with the first 80%, sometimes having to re-read pages to try to get into the flow.
Allison Hurd
I really enjoyed this. At once a story that feels like it would be at home among Yoruba myths and a loving nod to a more modern audience who maybe doesn't see themselves in fairy tales very often, I loved the risks the author took, and I think they largely paid off.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The characters. Demane and Captain, al
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
*WAVES ARMS* Read this! And if it's anything to go by, go ahead and pre-order all the other novellas as well. BUT THIS REVIEW IS ABOUT THIS GLORIOUS BOOK.

"Sumptuous" doesn't really do the language here justice. I read a ton of short fiction with language that I truly enjoy, but nothing novella or novel-length in quite some time. This ended that drought. And the plotting sure isn't bad either (IT'S GODDAMN GREAT). The dialogue is fantastic, the world-building is amazing, and the action is
Jun 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Alas, the sometimes pseudo-intellectual, over the top, terrible (nearly incomprehensible for me at times) writing and completely unfitting slang, as well as the confusing setting of the novella made enjoying it impossible for me.
I found myself perpetually frowning or going back every few pages around the middle of the novella unsuccessfully trying to comprehend what had happend and even more importantly - why.

Unfortunately, not my cup of tea at all.
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This thing blew my socks off. It is short, evocative, and beautiful. I just went and bought everything else Wilson has published.

This isn't a real review. Just go read this fucking book.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
3.5 that I'm rounding up to 4 for originality. I needed just a little more exposition in this novella filled with action and heroes to fully connect and understand the story. ...more
Stevie Kincade
May 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
"One of the best reads of the year they said..."

This is an extremely protentious bromance fantasy about a warrior and a mage going to fight a tiger-thing. It uses the language of the "street" to tell the story. I can't recall ever reading the word "skullf*cked" in a Fantasy before. The author goes for "look at me WRITING" prose that constantly distracts from the meagre plot. I did not like it one bit.

My favourite review I have read on Goodreads is Erik's review of this book. It's why this review
Wiebke (1book1review)
Oh my, this book. It took me a while to get into it, even rereading the first chapters because I didn't understand a word, but after that I just fell deeper and deeper in love with it.
The characters, especially Demane and Captain, so beautiful.
The language, so strange and difficult for me to fully comprehend, painted colorful pictures and once understood gave that overall tingly feeling that just makes you smile.
The story, so interwoven and straight forward it felt like a bedtime story.

Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Looks like sword & sorcery on the surface -- the titular sorcerer is part of a group of mercenaries escorting a caravan through debatable lands, and the caravan is being stalked by a nasty beastie -- but with intimations of much more going on beneath the surface. Skillful and playful use of language, ranging from more elevated descriptive passages to the mercenaries' varied sorts of vernacular, sort of a recasting of American inner city dialogue into a sword & sorcery setting.

Occasionally takes
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Edit: I just noticed that Karla Ortiz received an award from Spectrum for this cover. In looking her up, I notice I've seen her a number of times. Good stuff.

(something from Tor that I think karen reviewed)


Beautifully written, original, and emotionally compelling. 5 stars except for the ending.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I went back and forth between 4 and 5 stars on this. I have to give it 5 stars in the end, even though there is an ambiguous ending that really annoyed me. As far as I know there isn't a sequel planned, so we are just left hanging. Some people like that, but I hate that kind of thing. I can handle sad endings, but not non-existent endings.

That being said, I still loved the book for all of it's uniqueness. I'm big on world building, and the world we got was rich and different than most fantasy. I
inês ☾
This story had the makings of something I would really love but unfortunately I couldn't connect with the style of narration. It was disjointed and quite hard to follow. I kept hoping that as the story unfolded it would become easier to understand, which didn’t happen, if anything it became worse. At times I though I must have missed something and that was why I was so lost but no, I hadn’t. The structure of the story made no sense and it didn’t feel like a cohesive story, it felt super all over ...more
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SciFi and Fantasy...: "The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps" by Kai Ashante Wilson (BR) 31 60 Jun 17, 2019 09:38PM  
Beautifully Writt...: March Reading 2 19 Mar 28, 2016 10:04PM  

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Kai Ashante Wilson's stories 'Super Bass' and the Nebula-nominated 'The Devil in America' can be read online gratis at

His story «Légendaire.» can be read in the anthology Stories for Chip, which celebrates the legacy of science fiction grandmaster Samuel Delany.

His debut short novel The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps won the 2016 Crawford Award. Kai Ashante Wilson lives in New York City.

Other books in the series

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps (2 books)
  • A Taste of Honey (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, #2)

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“Of all words, none more purely distills the futility of human hope, mortal dreams. Did we but know the end is foreordained and soon, who could go on making such tender plans—someday I shall run my fingers through my lover’s hair—when the very next step we take shall pitch us into the sinkhole, there to be crushed to nothingness, smothered in an instant, by a thousand tonnes of earth? “Someday.” Ha!” 8 likes
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