Hello dear reader(s) and welcome back to another instalment of Nessa reads and reviews! In today’s review I’ll share my thoughts and general musings on David Mogo, Godhunter; a godpunk novel by the Nigerian author Suyi Davies Okungbowa. So without further ado let’s get into the review.
In his own words, and according to the bio on his website, Suyi Davies Okungbowa is:
“a Nigerian author of stories featuring African gods, starships, monsters, detectives and everything in-between. His godpunk novel, David Mogo, Godhunter, is out from Abaddon in July 2019. His internationally published fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Lightspeed, Fireside, Podcastle, The Dark, Mothership Zeta, Omenana, Ozy, Brick Moon Fiction and other periodicals and anthologies. He is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona, where he teaches writing, and has worked in editorial at Podcastle and Sonora Review. He tweets at @IAmSuyiDavies and is @suyidavies everywhere else. Learn more at suyidavies.com.”
As far as I am aware (please correct me if I’m wrong), David Mogo, Godhunter is Suyi Davies’ first novel. He wrote a lot of riveting short fiction, some of them he even narrated! And it’s fascinating to listen to him reading his stores aloud! You can find links to all of those stories and his nonfiction essay in the bibliography section of his website.
I first heard about the author and his novel through the Twitter grapevine. I follow a diverse and very cool group of authors there, and someone is always giving a shout-out about new book/novel releases or supporting authors. Honestly, it’s a great way to keep up with the new releases, although sometimes it can be overwhelming when books start coming out left-right and centre! Like what happened 9 months ago?! 😀 Anyway, I saw that David Mogo, Godhunter was coming out and the summary was engrossing. I’m copying it for your reading pleasure.
“Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.”
As I mentioned above, the synopsis was intriguing and from the information it offered I could see that the book’s setting, characters and mythology were going to be something I haven’t encountered before. Something new, unknown and that was exciting! Reading the sample chapters on my Kobo just made me more exited! The gif below offers a perfect illustration of this. 😀
Speaking of the novel itself, it is divided into 3 parts: Godhunter, Firebringer and Warmonger. Personally, while I was reading the book I got the feeling I was actually reading 3 interconnected short stories. Each section told a story of David’s life in such a way that by the end of that part of the book the narrative was simultaneously finished and unfinished. In other words, you know that a chapter of a life story is over, but there’s more to come because the story isn’t finished – there’s more to tell. I’m not certain if I’m explaining myself properly, I hope I am, but that gives you just one more reason to check out the novel. 🙂 Regarding my impression of the novel’s structure I’m not sure if this was the author’s intent all along, or if it just came out like that in the end… Either way it worked out great in the end, the book is riveting and it allows the reader to stop after each part and think about what they read, make some notes without fear that they will miss something or lose track of something while they’re thinking about the content.
Speaking of musing about the read content I was doing a lot of stopping and musing. 🙂 Part of the reason for the frequent pauses was the fact that I was experiencing difficulties while reading the dialogue written in the local vernacular. I need to stress that this is in no way, shape or form criticism of the author’s choice! The “fault” is my own! English is not my first language, and although I read and speak it well throughout my education and life in general I was mostly exposed to RP, British and American English. I’ve rarely had the chance to listen or read something else, like South African English, or Jamaican English; so I was struggling a bit with Nigerian vernacular. If I’ve read the FAQ about David Mogo before I jumped into the novel I would have been more prepared for this. Again, I’m pointing this out because it was challenging for me, and it might be challenging for someone else. It’s not a critique, or anything negative, just an observation on my reading experience.
Regarding the reading experience this is something I don’t mention in my reviews, but I’d like to mention it here because it helped me settle in to the book an overcome the feeling of nervousness I had when I couldn’t immediately understand a part of a dialogue because of the vernacular. At some point while I’m reading a book, any book I inevitably listen to some music and I create my own soundtrack for that book. It can be anything really, a song that’s mentioned in that book that I look up on Deezer or YouTube, or film music or a singer that the novel reminds me off. I was looking for some music for David Mogo when I heard Ludwig Goransson’s theme music from the movie Black Panther and snap! I found my David Mogo soundtrack! It fit perfectly with the scenes I was reading and I was happily pacing around with my Kobo, gripping the device tightly reading the novel while the Black Panther soundtrack was playing in the background. I latter added Baaba Maal to my soundtrack mix. So if you’re looking for some music to go along with David Mogo, Godhunter these are my suggestions. 🙂
And now for the part you’re all looking forward to: the conclusion! 🙂 Should you read this book and if yes why? If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and would like to read something that varies from the traditional urban fantasy than David Mogo, Godhunter is definitely the book for you. The setting and the mythology are gripping and if you’re experiences are similar to mine encountering some Nigerian urban fantasy will be a fabulous new experience! Suyi Davies’ characters are various, vivid, funny and once you spend some time with them you can find something you can relate to in all of them. Or at least a few of them will irritate the living shite out of you and you’ll definitely want to slap some sense into them, or just slap them for the heck of it! I’m not judging. 😀 If you’re on the fence about David Mogo, perhaps it’s a little bit too much, too fast I encourage you to check out Suyi Davies’ short fiction on his website to get the feel for the author. They’re new and strange and wonderful and get two thumbs up in my book. 🙂
That’s all for today’s review dear reader(s). I hope you enjoyed it. Do let me know here in the comment section or on Twitter (you can find me @NarratriceNessa I tend to ramble there on books, writing process, history, makeup and other random stuff) if you’ve read David Mogo, Godhunter or anything else from Suyi Davies Okungbowa or are you planning to? Was the setting and mythology of the book familiar to you, or was it something new and exciting? Share your thoughts, comments and anything else you want to share regarding the subject. 🙂 Until next time dear reader(s)!
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