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The Root

(Wrath & Athenaeum #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  150 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A dark, gritty urban fantasy debut set in modern-day San Francisco, filled with gods, sinister government agencies, and worlds of dark magic hidden just below the surface.

When a secret government agency trying to enslave you isn’t the biggest problem you’re facing, you’re in trouble.

Erik, a former teen star living in San Francisco, thought his life was complicated; having
Paperback, 411 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Night Shade
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Na'amen All the links on this page should lead to e-book versions:
Sorry it was hard to find!…more
All the links on this page should lead to e-book versions:
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  150 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Monica **can't read fast enough**
Tilahun has created a unique world that features diverse characters and fantastical otherworldly beings that are so out there that I had trouble visualizing what they looked like. There were creatures that were translucent blobs and even beings that are covered in eyes. These creatures also had unique ways of communicating which encompassed everything from grunting to wind currents. I found those characteristics a bit much, but that is purely personal preference.

I absolutely loved that the main
Kit (Metaphors and Moonlight)
4 Stars

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*

This book was a refreshing, diverse urban fantasy story that managed to stand out while still capturing the kick-butt, monster-fighting essence that I think many readers look for in the UF genre!

First let's talk about our protagonist, Erik. In this book, there are people who are Blooded---descendants of old, powerful beings and have powers based on their bloodline. Erik is one such person. He's a
DNF @ 33%

I've been putting off this book for ages because it's so long but I read a few chapters and loved Erik immediately so I thought it would be okay, unfortunately I just cannot power my way through this whole book based on that alone. There are so many unnecessary different POVs, it feels like every single character gets a POV chapter and I think all you REALLY need are the two main characters since they are there for pretty much every scene anyway. Anyway this book is just way too long [1
Tiffani Martin
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh my sweet baby Jesus why lawd? Why? I can't even do a review because I'm so emotional right now and I have to wait for the next book? My heart hurts. ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book! Find me in person and I'll tell you all about why. ...more
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Best "reveal" of a trans character in YA Fiction!!!
Matt Beams
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredibly interesting, smart, and fun-to-read book. I found it on the Afro-Futurist table at Bluestockings Bookstore in NYC, and I was embarrassed as someone who loves reading, sci-fi, and spec fic, and who tries to be woke, that I had never heard of Afro-futurism. Well, I read the back and looked at the cover, and was sold.

I'm not going to tell you about the plot really, but if you like magic, fantasy, intrigue, action, adventure, flirting, parallel worlds, a different way of looki
Alyssa Joy
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was incredible. It held unique fantasy aspects while also bringing in representation for identities typically left out of mainstream media, let alone fantasy. I could not put the book down, except to take moments to revel on how beautiful it was to read. I was drawn into the worlds and abilities of these characters that were connected into our own common mythos and religions. The characters are relatable and most other series would be lucky to have even one of them. I'm excited to see ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Omg this book is so amazing! The worlds are complex and fascinating, the magic is unique and terrifying, the creatures are even more unique and terrifying, and the cast of characters is so diverse they actually reflect the real world! If you are looking for fantasy with astounding world-building, characters you will love, and the diversity that is sorely lacking in genre fiction, don't miss The Root. ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-ya, mine
I loved every moment of this book! I can't even write a proper review, I can only squeeeeee.

highlights: incredible world building
dynamic characters
excellent use of shifting perspectives
hella queer ❤❤
hella brown and black
sick ass monsters (not monsters?)
action packed!!!
moving as hell (I cried in a pizza parlor)

I am eager for the second book in the series. Cannot wait but sadly must wait.
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I first learned about The Root, by Na'amen Tilahun, at the Bay Area Book Festival in June of this year. I was attending a discussion about YA Fantasy and the author was on the panel.

Honestly, I was there to fangirl over Victoria Schwab, but I left being very excited by all the authors' books. Afterwards, there was a book signing, and I wound up getting The Root, A Gathering Of Shadows (V.E. Schwab), and A Natural History Of Dragons (Marie Brennan). I have finally had time to sit down and read t
The biggest problem with The Root is that the next book is nowhere near being out.
The biggest strength of The Root is... do I HAVE to pick? There's a lot to like.

Still, if I had to pick, it would be the way that despite an immense cast of POV characters, I cared out them, and I keep thinking about them after finishing the book. The Root does an impressive job of finding room for its wide cast to have complicated feelings and complicated lives with complicated families. I enjoyed the nascent fri
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh, man. I was so mad at myself when I finished this book because it is SO GOOD. And now I have to wait for the next book to come out and I hate having to wait. I'd rather start a series that is already finished, especially when it reaches the level of complexity this one has. On the other hand, would not mind re-reading this book because SO GOOD. Imperfect, but lovable characters. Beautiful, beautiful world building that I can see expanding beyond the scope of the book. Multi-race. Multi-gender ...more
I've never had a book intentionally make me as angry as this one did, in a good way. ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As usual, I'll put a more detailed review on my blog but for now I'll say this: I can't wait until we get the film trilogy, mini-series, or TV show we deserve out of this. ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Oh God, where do I begin? I have so many mixed feelings about this book that I have to leave a comment. It was promising as much as it was badly written. The parts taking place in Zebub were written greatly all in all, and for the most part the world building there was believeable and well done. Apart from some minor things such as randomly appearing places in the end (in my opinion, it just doesn't work well if you introduce a new place by name and then describe it in one sentence as if you wer ...more
Brittany Makufka
Well... I'm not really sure what to say about this book.
I got more into it as I read it, but I'm still left with a "meh" feeling about it.
I LOVE the freshness, that it's different, the creativity that went into the world building, the diversity. All of that is really, really lovely. And I think that's what kept me reading it.
What I struggled with was the writing. There were times that I had to re-read sentences or paragraphs again because I didn't understand who was talking, or what was going
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sci-fi/Fantasy that actually feels fresh and original!! That's super rare, given how much of that genre I read!! I was completely and utterly gripped within the first 15 pages and knew that I would be finishing the whole book. Loved, loved, loved a sci-fi/fantasy story that didn't decide that in a world of magic and aliens, etc., there were still only white cishet people. It's amazing how often the races of people refuse to acknowledge the creativity and originality around them. Not this one. I ...more
Sarah Schnitt
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not my jam.
I think my biggest issue with this novel wasn't the fact there was so much exposition-- in any novel that has to build entire worlds and introduce monsters, there's going to be a lot of exposition. No, my issue is how that exposition is delivered: almost exclusively in dialogue. I would argue that he dialogue actually serves no other purpose; a large majority of the time, characters bounce between ideas for the only purpose of explaining past events, telling stories, or elaborating on
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I had realized this book was a young adult novel, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. Yes, there were some elements present here that I’ve come to associate with why I’m not a fan of YA work; mainly short, choppy sentences that jump from one point to another abruptly. (It makes me wonder if the writer is thinking “OK, I’m writing for ~young adults~ who don’t have a long attention span so I have to make something happen quick, here, or I’ll lose their interest). Anyway, I’m glad that realiz ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
DNF at 20%

Too many POV characters and the story moved forward at a crawl. You barely get a feel for a character before the POV switches to a new one. The writing is okay, functional though clumsy at times. The world building confused me rather than enthralled me, which is too bad because it has some creative ideas. Maybe because the reader is thrown into a new world before we even get a strong grounding in the first one.

I want to like this book. There's a lot going on. I love the diverse set of
Scarlet Blu
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Finished this yesterday. Still unsure how I feel about it. It wasn't really what I came for. It was, however, a very interesting read.
I try to avoid series and trilogies when I can because I have enough on my to-read list without adding sequels, but I've tentatively added this one, because I just want to know what happens now. This is not a stand-alone by any stretch. Interesting characters, very imaginative and unexpected world-building.

I think I really did like it, actually.
Anna Chappell
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Great concept and world building, and I loved the diversity of the characters. There were too many viewpoints/characters though; it was hard to connect with anyone (but Lil, for me), and it needed a lot more editing than it got.
Lynne Rogerson
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5. Great characters along with a complex and fascinating setting. I found myself invested in the thoughts and feelings and health of more than one character and enjoyed the in-depth look at each with chapters dedicated to different voices. I can’t wait to read the next one!
John Adams
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
An enjoyable take on urban fantasy, starring Black, non-heteronormative characters and building an interesting world out of the mythology of the nephilim. The prose is sometimes clunky and the plot sometimes dictates inconsistent actions of the characters, but it still leaves you wanting more.
Elliot Williams
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF at slightly less than half-way through. I really wanted to like it! And there’s so much to like! But there’s also just SO MUCH. Too many characters, too many plot threads, too much lore. I just couldn’t get into it. 🤷‍♂️
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much! The world is so unique and exciting, it draws you in so much. So many wonderful characters, with a great amount of diversity! Definitely one of my favorite books I've ever read! ...more
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
great, if seemingly simplistic, characters. an interesting world to explore. looking forward to the second
Jun 18, 2019 marked it as blog-recs
Featured in a blog post at ...more
The Root is an intriguing blend of urban and portal fantasy with a wonderfully diverse cast.

Erik’s a former teen star living in San Francisco. He thought his life was complicated enough, but now he’s finding out that he’s Blooded – descended from gods and gifted with powers he doesn’t understand. He also finds himself in the middle of a secret battle, between Blooded and a government organization kidnapping them and trading them off to an alternate dimension.

Lil’s an apprentice archivist in said
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Goodreads Librari...: Change Book Cover 4 21 Jun 07, 2016 03:13PM  

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