ARC Review: Nubia: The Awakening by Omar Epps and Clarence A. Haynes

Title: Nubia: The Awakening

Author: Omar Epps and Clarence A. Haynes

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: Fantasy

Age Group: Young Adult

Content/Trigger Warnings: Depictions of drug abuse, child abuse, gang violence

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::

Goodreads Synopsis

From beloved actor and producer Omar Epps and writer Clarence A. Haynes comes the biggest epic fantasy of the year. A powerful saga of three teens, the children of refugees from a fallen African utopia, who must navigate their newfound powers in a climate-ravaged New York City. Perfect for fans of Black Panther and Children of Blood and Bone.

For Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho, Nubia is a mystery. Before they were born, a massive storm destroyed their ancestral homeland, forcing their families to flee across the ocean to New York City. Nubia, a utopic island nation off the coast of West Africa, was no more, and their parents’ sorrow was too deep for them to share much of their history beyond the folklore.

But New York, ravaged by climate change and class division, is far from a safe haven for refugees, and Nubians live as outcasts, struggling to survive in the constantly flooding lower half of Manhattan, while the rich thrive in the tech-driven sky city known as the Up High.

To many, being Nubian means you’re fated for a life plagued by difficulties and disrespect. But Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho are beginning to feel there might be more. Something within them is changing, giving each of them extraordinary powers. Extraordinary and terrifying powers that seem to be tied to the secrets their parents have kept from them.

And there are people Up High watching, eager to do anything they can to become even more powerful than they already are. Now Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho will be faced with the choice–do they use their inheritance to lift their people, or to leave them behind. The fate of their city, and their people, hangs in the balance.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions contained within are my own.

I’ve been trying to write this review for a few days now. For some reason, I’m finding it hard to articulate how much I enjoyed this wonderful book. There was so much to enjoy and it has taken me awhile to figure out how to write it down without sounding like I’m rambling. Lets hope I actually pull it off 😉

Nubia: The Awakening follows the story of three teens leaving in a futuristic New York City. Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho are not friends, but they do have something in common. They are all Nubians, a group of people who escaped to NYC after their home of Nubia was destroyed by the worsening natural disasters of a planet plagued by climate change. They also find themselves suddenly coming into some intense and strange powers, powers that throw all of their lives and the lives of the Nubians around them into chaos.

This was a book that managed to be so many things all at once: fun, exciting, impactful, and an absolute pleasure to read! I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style employed throughout this novel. It had the feel of watching a superhero movie while also pulling in social commentary that hit hard. I thought the authors did a masterful job of approaching sensitive topics like drug abuse and systemic racism in a way that was both accessible and didn’t shy away from hard truths. And it was all wrapped in an adventure that had me captivated from page one!

I think part of the reason that this book held such an impact was that the characters were so relatable. Zuberi is a girl who likes to keep to herself, who thrives on physical training and being able to protect herself. Uzochi is a boy that is intelligent and driven, with his sights set on improving both his and his mom’s lives through his schooling and hard work. Lencho is a boy who has a rough home life and a rougher exterior who finds himself running with a gang in order to find a place where he belongs. They all come to life on the page, making it very easy to engage in their story. They come across as people you could meet on the street tomorrow, superpowers aside. I love when characters in a book feel that real!

I will say that the pacing of the story did throw me off a little bit. It felt like there was a bit of a lull towards the middle of the book, but I was so enamored with the characters and their story that I didn’t bother me too much. And the ending was enough of exciting ride to make up for it a bit! I sincerely hope this is just the beginning to a series because the end definitely leaves you hanging. Overall, this was a gripping, exciting YA fantasy that has me eager to continue the story of our three main characters.


4 thoughts on “ARC Review: Nubia: The Awakening by Omar Epps and Clarence A. Haynes

  1. I haven’t seen this one float across my timeline yet…it looks like an interesting read. I’ve been taking a break from YA since the last one I read put me in a slump for that age category. But this one sounds like it was written for the older age range of the YA category, perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

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