If you have been reading my posts of late, you will have seen a recurring statement: I’m not big into YA. But now, to complicate things, I’m going to tell the one exception: YA fantasy. Think Harry Potter, His Dark Materials and, now, Amari and the Night Brothers.
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?
Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate.
Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.
With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an 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.
Amari presents an amazing new fantasy world to get lost in. The book opens the door to a fantastic new world but also includes many supernatural elements we are already familiar with: magicians, dragons, the Van Helsings. The story is full of twists and turns and had me wishing I worked at the bureau. Yet, all this magic wasn’t even the best part of the book.
What I loved most about Amari and the Night Brothers was Amari herself. Amari is very likeable but is also realistic: she has a temper, she makes mistakes. However, her main lure is that she is an outsider trying to fit in. Amari is black. She lives in the projects. She is on a scholarship to a school filled with rich kids. She is a magician. There are many readers out there, both young and old alike, that have been waiting for a protagonist like Amari to come along.
In addition to this, Amari and the Night Brothers has a tight plot. The author has thought everything through and this book feels as realistic as a book based on the supernatural can get.
There is definitely a sequel on the horizon and I can’t wait! Why not jump on board this new journey and pick up your copy of this first instalment today?
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.