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Rated 4 of 5 stars

J.D. Horn is masterful and engaging when he created a tough heroine in Jilo. During the story, we follow Jilo’s beginning as a baby. We see her parents, more interestingly, her mother who abandons her to seek her own dreams and goals regardless of her children. Brought in by Nana from the selfishness of her mother, Jilo is raised by her magic-bearing grandmother in Savannah. As Jilo grows, the story follows her through college, young adult life and ultimately into her adult life. You see the struggles and pains as clear as if Jilo is a living, breathing woman. Her heart is so full of love but fearful of abandonment that she makes decisions that may not always be rational or in her best interest. She learns of her own magic as others in the town start to realize it as well and trouble brews.

The story is full of hope, love and entrenching topics revolving around race relations, family ties, homophobia and a host of other hot button issues that raged in the South during that time. I found the book to be balanced and even keel, not too far leaning into any one issue.

I enjoyed the pace, although it seemed slow at times only to pick up and I’d race through the pages. I think when the magic was involved, the book truly became magical. There is an abundance of character development and you find yourself falling in love with unlikely secondary characters like Tinker and Willy. In the same breath, you’ll despise more than a few others. Horn does a great job creating an environment a reader will adore, characters that they will remember and a storyline that keeps them reading the next book. Well done!

Raging Book Reviews Recommended!

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