Published by: Walker Books, 4th April 2023
If you're into magic, werewolves, vampires or dragons then this new series from Angie Thomas, author of the YA novel The Hate U Give, is perfect. With a dark, edgy and ominous atmosphere right from the get-go, Nic Blake and the Remarkables, with its twisty-turny plot and shocking revelations planted all the way through, is storytelling that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Nic Blake is desperate to become a powerful Manifestor like her dad - although her dad keeps putting off teaching her the gift. But when a face from her past unexpectedly turns up, Nic is faced with a series of shocking truths.
With her dad being accused of a crime she can't believe he committed, Nic is plunged into a terrifying and dangerous quest. To prove her dad's innocence she must hunt for a magical tool she's never heard of in a remarkable world she knows very little about. But with some very dodgy characters on her tail, does she have any chance of finding it in time? And what is Nic's role destined to be in this remarkable world?
Although all of the elements in this novel have essentially been written about before, Angie Thomas has taken up the mantle of this very popular 'magical quest' fantasy genre and created an immersive 3D world that will excite and enthrall fans of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, Amari and the Night Brothers and Onyeka: The Academy of the Sun. I particularly loved the dark mood which takes the novel to the borderland of horror and the fact that the family drama is as equally as strong as the fantasy elements, giving the story a powerful and personal drive.
The pages are packed with fabulous characters and settings. From Cocoa, Nic's baby hellhound, to Uncle Ty, her unpredicatable author godfather, to Hairy Junior the shapeshifter to Dee Dee, the devil's daughter, there's a brilliant balance between the cute and the dangerous as Nic struggles to know who she can trust. As if this isn't enough, Angie Thomas has grounded the novel in African American history and folklore, interweaving factual accounts of African American slavery and the civil right's movement with fiction. This gives the novel authenticity and depth as well as raising awareness of the history of the setting and allowing readers an insight into how African Americans were treated.
The epic ending is not to be spoilt. However, Angie Thomas has set-up what is going to be a incredible trilogy with an outcome that is impossible to predict. Turning the 'chosen one' scenario on its head, I cannot wait to see what happens next in this world and what lies in store for Nic Blake and her friends and family.
A big thanks to NetGalley and Walker Books for a review copy. Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy is available to buy now.