Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston. Huge thanks to Dave of The Write Reads for my place on tour and to publisher Egmont Books for my proof in exchange for an honest review. My sincere apologies also that this post is so late (I won’t bore you with my personal horror story as 2020 was a nightmare for everyone). Amari and the Night Brothers is out in hardback on 21st of January.
Amari and the Night Brothers is a fantastic middle grade fantasy. I don’t think I’ve ever read a middle grade fantasty as an adult (unless you count the very first Harry Potter) but there was so much positivity surrounding it, I thought I’d try it. And wow – it was exactly what I neeeded!!! This magical book is the perfect antidote to life in lockdown. It has everything you could possibly want; a great protagonist with personal challenges, a brilliantly created fantasy world, a clear mission and an engrossing battle between good and evil. It is so well written, I absolutely loved it! I hope there will be more Amari adventures and I’m not a bit surprised that Universal Pictures snapped up the film rights.
My Thoughts on Amari and the Night Brothers
Characters, Plot and Fantasy World
This book drew me in straight away and the character of Amari is very likeable. It is great to read a story featuring a protagonist who adds diversity (Amari is African American and from a poor background). Amari’s brother Quinton has been missing for six months and there are no leads. Amari suspects it’s something to do with his top-secret job but no way to find out, so when she receives a strange invitation that changes. Amari goes to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and learns about a whole supernatural side to the world she never knew existed, a world which includes both her and her brother.
Amari’s adventures at the Bureau and beyond are brilliantly compelling. The characters are well developed and interesting. I really liked the ‘supporting cast’ of magical creatures; from Yeti’s and the Abominable snowman, to fairies and leprechauns with loads in between. The fantasty world is fully formed and so creative. There are references familiar to me such as Atlantis, plus some that were completely original.
There’s great blend of gripping plot developments, fascinating descriptions of the magical world, and a generous dash of humour. This quote from near the beginning of the book has me in stitches:
“People tend to fear what they don’t understand. And fear can far too easily become hatred. Why, the Great Bug Conflict of ’69 comes to mind. The League of Sentient Insects had gone and invented ‘people repellent’ spray. You’d think that a reasonsable person would understand that turnabout is fair play, but you’d be surprised how quickly reason goes out of the window when the bugs start spraying back. A particularly rough year for the Bureau, that one.”
Next time I see an insect I’ll be checking if it’s carrying a bug-sized can of people repellent.
Who I’d recommend it to
Amari and the Night Brothers is perfect for fans of magic, fantasy or middle grade books. If middle grade fantasy is not your usual literary fare, that’s even more reason that I recommend you try it! Seriously, my logic for this is flawless. I find Amari’s magical world is the perfect escapism because it draws me in so deeply. As a result, I completely forget I’m living in a post-apocalyptic pandemic lockdown. Sometimes you really need something refreshing and different! I’m pre-ordering copies for friends and am slightly jealous they’ll get to experience the Bureau and it’s magic for the first time.
Cover Blurb for Amari and the Night Brothers
Amari Peters knows three things.
Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret …
So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.
Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.
With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton …
Cover artwork by Brittany Jackson
B. B. Alston lives in Lexington, SC. Amari and the Night Brothers is his debut middle grade novel. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead.