Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 20 June 2012
This is a wonderful story and I don't understand why the author chose to write it as a novella. The plot had so much potential that it's a shame it was cut short before it really got going.
The main character, Dmitri, or `D', is a foster child, and the first half of the story focuses on D's attempts to settle into a new life with his foster mother. This brings its own problems of life without parents and trying to be accepted in a new school. He is unexpectedly befriended by cool but kooky Nyla and the school's basketball superstar and heartthrob, Keem.
Keem has his own problems to face as a Muslim in post-911 America while Nyla - pierced and fierce - gives D the friendship he desperately needs.
The story then takes a strange turn when we are suddenly thrown into a fantastical, magical tale. Here, the three protagonists fight evil to save hundreds of lost souls who have languished in the depths of New York for centuries. This part of the story is also well told, focusing on the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, a graveyard for hundreds of free and enslaved Africans, which was discovered in 1991.
It feels as if there are two disparate parts to this story; both would work well as individually told tales. The fantasy part about the African Burial Ground which also includes the American Revolutionary War as a backdrop, uses an important part of American history on which to base the story, and it would have been great to expand this further.
Overall, I enjoyed this story very much. It was well-written, thoughtful and original. Just a shame that, at 118 pages, it felt pretty rushed and seemed to gallop through to the end.