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Black Leopard, Red Wolf Reviews

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Marlon James

4.22 out of 5

5 reviews

Imprint: Hamish Hamilton Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publication date: 28 Feb 2019
ISBN: 9780241315545

In this stunning follow-up to his Man Booker-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James draws on a rich tradition of African mythology, fantasy and history to imagine an ancient world, a lost child, an extraordinary hunter, and a mystery with many answers...

3 stars out of 5
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
15 Feb 2019

"smart genre-bending ideas"

Tucked away in these 600-plus pages are smart genre-bending ideas... his characters have about as much interior life as a set of clothes pegs... Like A Brief History of Seven Killings, this novel is fiercely ambitious and full of dreamlike shifts between vividness and vagueness. However, whereas the earlier novel had a real event underlying its baroque layers of fantasy, here there is nothing solid tethering James’s imagination. Some fans of the genre may enjoy it for precisely that reason, relishing the opportunity to lose themselves in a dark new fictional world. Others will find it a self-indulgent mess... 

Reviews

5 stars out of 5
Nilanjana Roy
15 Feb 2019

"a game-changing modern fantasy classic"

ferociously gripping epic... he’s broken fresh ground for future fantasy writers... James builds an extraordinary and unforgettable world, even though the narrative sometimes feels overpowered, the shifts almost too much to take in over one reading... If James had stuck only with the blood-tingling tale of a stirring adventure in breathtaking new territory, he would have accomplished much. But this is Tracker’s story, and what breathes life into it is that he is never solely a mercenary, never sure, like most of us, where he stands on the subject of good and evil... a game-changing modern fantasy classic... 
 

5 stars out of 5
Bradley Babendir
4 Feb 2019

"A trilogy-opener has the difficult job of being a compelling novel in its own right while preparing for what will follow. Black Leopard, Red Wolf clears both bars with ease"

James’ new book, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, is a clear-cut success. The first in his Dark Star trilogy introduces readers to a robust and enthralling ancient African world. Black Leopard, Red Wolf has all of the accoutrements and tools necessary for quickly grasping the world as written. A long list of “Those Who Appear In This Account” at the front and a series of maps at section breaks are excellent and usable reference points that both seasoned fantasy readers and converts to the genre, enticed by James’ literary fiction pedigree, will find handy... A trilogy-opener has the difficult job of being a compelling novel in its own right while preparing for what will follow. Black Leopard, Red Wolf clears both bars with ease.

4 stars out of 5
Michiko Kakutani
31 Jan 2019

"James conjures the literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe — filled with dizzying, magpie references to old movies and recent TV, ancient myths and classic comic books"

James conjures the literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe — filled with dizzying, magpie references to old movies and recent TV, ancient myths and classic comic books, and fused into something new and startling by his gifts for language and sheer inventiveness... James is such a nimble and fluent writer that such references never threaten to devolve into pretentious postmodern exercises. Even when he is nestling one tale within another like Russian dolls that underscore the provisional nature of storytelling (and the Rashomon-like ways in which we remember), he is giving us a gripping, action-packed narrative. What the novel could have used is a little judicious pruning: As in superhero movies, the action sometimes assumes a predictable, episodic rhythm — one violent, bravura showdown after another, strung together by interludes of travel and efforts to regroup and connect the dots.

5 stars out of 5
Alex Brown
26 Nov 2018

"Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a Miracle, a Gift"

Y’all, Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a miracle. It’s a gift from Anansi himself. This book. This book. THIS BOOK.

Dead. I’m dead. I have died. It is so good it killed me. Murdered by my own ARC. Please bury me in my To Read pile.... Fantasy has exploded with diversity in recent years, especially in Young Adult fiction. With epic fantasy, the tide is turning more slowly, but QPOC authors are turning the stodgy old subgenre inside out. If Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro series opened the door to new ways of telling epic fantasy, and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy leapt over the threshold, then Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf just ripped the whole damn door off its hinges.