Book review: Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon ny Wole Talabi

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon ny Wole Talabi review

Book links: Amazon, Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wole Talabi is an engineer, writer, and editor from Nigeria. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, F&SF, Lightspeed, and several other publications. He has edited three anthologies: Africanfuturism (2020), which was nominated for the Locus Award in 2021.

Publisher: DAW (Aug 08, 2023) Page count: 320 Formats: ebook, audiobook, hardcover 

Have you ever dreamed of being a god? Almighty and without worries? Well, things aren’t as rosy as you might think. With faith being in short supply, gods had to take a corporate route (trading in belief and supplications). Shigidi, the god of nightmares and a demotivated employee of the Orisha Spirit Company, lives mainly for the next drink. He hates his existence and his appearance but has no plan to change anything. Then he meets Nneoma, a succubus, and falls in love with her. They go freelance, but life as freelancers is hard; soon they find themselves in debt to a powerful and scheming deity.

But there is a way to pay off all the debts. A heist. Across two worlds and two planes of existence. The story follows Shigidi and Nneoma as they journey through the vibrant streets of Lagos, the rooftop bars of Singapore, and the hidden enclaves of London. Mayhem ensues, but that’s a given. I loved the deep dive into occult lore and African mythology. A risky heist mixed with a unique love story was also fun.

The story jumps in time and geography and builds toward an exciting ending. It spans centuries and continents and there is hardly a dull moment. Although the title suggests Shigidi is the main character, that’s not entirely true. Nneoma gets a lot of attention and while I enjoyed my time with both of them and their perspectives, Nneoma is much more interesting and complex than Shigidi.

I’m not a romance reader, but I loved their complex relationship. It struck the perfect balance between alien and relatable (they’re immortal, after all) and offered no cheap thrills. I found it clever and realistic (given their supernatural circumstances :)).

While I liked the novel’s structure and the frequent time jumps, I must mention that they might be confusing for some readers. However, if you pay attention to the places and dates mentioned at the beginning of each chapter, you’ll be fine.

Overall, Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon is an exciting and imaginative supernatural thriller with strong twists and excellent pacing. Highly recommended.

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