The first time your baby looks at you with those sparkling orbs of curiosity, watching your parking space being painted upon a dull concrete when you receive a promotion, and seeing a vision of dazzling sun and brilliant sea on your dream holiday to the Caribbean are three of many pleasures in life. One of mine, though probably not yours, is sitting down with a new book, thumbing through chapters and embracing characters, hearing the rain impale on my window over the crackling of the fire. I'm not much of a contemporary reader - I'm a classics girl, and a professed lover of world literature, but when I received a free download of this book, I became something terrifyingly cliche: hooked.
Sacerdos by Elizabeth Amisu is a gripping young adult novel, riddled with coming of age themes, following a distopian world that begins to unravel. But it wasn't the blurb which first sparked my attention; caught somewhere between Dickens and Graham Greene is the eloquent yet sharp language style of Amisu, and it's a flair that bleeds into her character development. The protagonist, Caelara, becomes an almost supernatural figure in issues ignored by our society. By transporting the reader into the realms of fantasy, she tells with perfect clarity a world in reverse: where danger looms over those undeserving, and everything unable to be controlled is in the hands of the sagacious characters.
It is almost as though Amisu has assigned emotions to the characters, such as vulnerability, humility and passion, and those who do not possess such qualities inadvertently plot their own downfall like chess players. Like needles piercing through your skin, the divide between innocence and maturity flares with unrelentingly tension, and you become burdened with a sense of hopelessness. A contemporary reader I am not, but this is nothing short of a modern masterpiece.
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