FAM. When I got picked to be on this blog tour, I was over the moon excited. Do you know how rare it is for me to get to read some West African inspired fantasy novel? And this also has some Caribbean mythology involved as well, so I get two amazing cultures put together in one book, and I’m just so happy to get to read this!
Thank you again so much to the team of Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on this tour, and hosting this tour as well. Click on the banner for the rest of the schedule AND giveaway info.
A subversive fantasy-romance steeped in West-African and Caribbean traditions.
Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.
No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.
Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.
Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself.
Nandi Taylor is a Canadian writer of Caribbean descent based in Toronto. She’s a two-time Watty award winner, and her Wattpad story Given has garnered over one million reads and earned the 2018 Worldbuilders Watty award.
Nandi grew up devouring sci-fi and fantasy novels, and from a young age wrote books of her own. Her books are an expression of what she always wanted more of growing up—diverse protagonists in speculative settings. Common themes she writes about are growth, courage, and finding one’s place in the world.
Her debut novel Given will be published by Wattpad Books in January 2020.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club, Netgalley, and Wattpad Books for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
YENNI AJANI GAVE ME OKOYE VIBES ALL THE WAY!
Ugh I was just so proud of Yenni Ajani and her strength, her determination to save her father, standing up for herself against the people that were low key / high key racist to her in Creshen because of her being from the “Moonlight Isles” as they call it. I mean first they change the name of her kingdom to make it easier for them to pronounce – at least that’s what I’m assuming – the teachers think she’s dumb because she uses runes more than spells for her magic, and like UGH. It just irritates me how racist these people are! But I’m so freaking glad that she calls them out on it and she works so hard to prove that she’s not just some idiot islander.
Whoa okay I wasn’t anticipating ranting in the first paragraph but clearly I had to get that out.
PUT SOME RESPECK ON HER NAME.
Yes I purposely spelled that wrong because that’s how you say it.
Okay also, I noticed that the book refers to her as Yenni, but she tells people that they should be calling her Yenni Ajani, and even then she feels weird about it because it’s so casual compared to how she is usually referred to back at home, but people butcher her name in Creshen so she had to give them a shorter one I guess. But I thought that was interesting.
Anyway, Yenni Ajani is why I love this book. Sure, Weysh is trying, but I didn’t like how pushy he was about the whole Given thing. Especially because Yenni Ajani doesn’t KNOW about the Given thing, so stop trying to push it on to her! I don’t care that she’s somehow your Given, give her time to process and don’t force her to do something she doesn’t want to do! Damn.
But then I was also sad at how his family – minus his sister – would treat him! Like, hello? That’s your family, despite his dragon. Don’t be so mean to him. I think that endeared me a bit to him, and then when he finally let Yenni Ajani breathe. It took a bit of explaining from his friends, which sucked, but then he respected her space for a bit and that helped me get on his side for a bit.
I need more stories from this world!! I need more books from Taylor! Like, I really enjoyed this one!
So I know I’m supposed to make my own playlist, but the more I was making it, the more I realized I was pulling from the same playlist that was already made, so I wanted to showcase this amazing playlist that Spotify has that I feel is such a love note to Yenni Ajani and this world that Taylor created for us. So for this time only, I’m sharing a playlist that I personally didn’t make, but that I love all the same.
Ugh fam! I just really enjoyed this one. I plan on getting a physical copy once it comes out because I need this on my shelf, and I need more Yenni Ajani in my life when I just need to remember to boss up. Because that’s what she did even when she felt like she was falling behind and I’m just so proud of her.