Simone's Reviews > Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
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bookshelves: 2019, diverse-reads, fantasy

I finally finished BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF. Took me over a week to do it and I’ll be honest, I skimmed the last 100 pages.

Im a little gun shy about reviewing it. In the end, I realized I’m not a fan of Marlon James’s writing style. The story should have ended around the 400 page mark and there’s too many lulls where I was kinda...bored. The language was kind of circular and the intentionally bad grammar really bugged me.

HOWEVER, I gave it three stars because the story itself is super tight, well described, and the action/adventure is enough to push you along. I absolutely loved his use of African history and mythology (from all over Africa). I googled A LOT of things. I felt a lot for the characters. There’s themes of gender identity, LGBTQ, the “measure of a man”, emotionally fueled battles, slavery, the color of your skin, the frustrations with politics, and family. Tracker isn’t just a bloodthirsty hunter only looking to find a boy and make his money. He’s looking to save children from a world that wants to buy, sell, destroy, and alienate them.

The best part has got to be the use of African mythology and history. You can google pretty much any of the monsters and words used and find out they come from somewhere in Africa. And when I say somewhere, I mean everywhere. From the northern borders to the south. From east to west, this book is a historical and mythological journey across a country I know nothing about. this book makes me want to learn more. And what I love about it is that it’s not your typical fantasy with lovelorn faeries and princes with magical powers. This book is on-the-ground, blood driven, mad, and maniacal. Gosh, there’s legit so much potential in this story. SO MUCH! You can’t compare this book to Game of Thrones. This is so much more than that silly story.

I’m just not a fan of writing like this which makes it tough to enjoy. I hate it when technical aspects of storytelling take away from my experience. Personally, I won’t be reading the rest of this series. But I strongly encourage all fantasy folks to read this one and just fall in love with a world so brilliantly built and described. Fall in love with Tracker and his experiences. Hope for the best in his endeavors as noble as they can be. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever read or imagined and the world itself is a cutthroat existence where you’ll never know which side is the right one.

I received a copy of this book from Riverhead Books in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

December 4, 2018 – Shelved
December 4, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 7, 2019 – Started Reading
January 23, 2019 – Shelved as: diverse-reads
January 23, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
January 23, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 23, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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message 1: by Nica (new) - added it

Nica Im a bit concerned about the writing style for the reasons you mentioned. I’m so intrigued though, so I think I’ll borrow it from the library & try a few chapters before I decide to buy my own copy. Thanks for reviewing!


message 2: by Winnett (new)

Winnett I don't like dark either, so thanks for the warning!


message 3: by James (new)

James Game of Thrones isn't silly.


message 4: by Adam (new)

Adam This book would not even exist if it weren’t for what George RR Martin managed to do with his “silly” creation.


Simone Adam wrote: "This book would not even exist if it weren’t for what George RR Martin managed to do with his “silly” creation."

It was just a joke. It's to say that this book is better than Game of Thrones.


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