Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Last Gate of the Emperor
Author: Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen
Book Series: Standalone for now
Diversity: Black main characters and side characters
Recommended For…: mg readers, sci-fi lovers
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Genre: MG Sci-Fi
Recommended Age: 10+ (some scary moments, violence, attack on a city)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Synopsis: An Afrofuturist adventure about a mythical Ethiopian empire. Sci-fi and fantasy combine in this journey to the stars.
Yared Heywat lives an isolated life in Addis Prime — a hardscrabble city with rundown tech, lots of rules, and not much to do. His worrywart Uncle Moti and bionic lioness Besa are his only family… and his only friends.
Often in trouble for his thrill-seeking antics and smart mouth, those same qualities make Yared a star player of the underground augmented reality game, The Hunt for Kaleb’s Obelisk. But when a change in the game rules prompts Yared to log in with his real name, it triggers an attack that rocks the city. In the chaos, Uncle Moti disappears.
Suddenly, all the stories Yared’s uncle told him as a young boy are coming to life, of kingdoms in the sky and city-razing monsters. And somehow Yared is at the center of them.
Together with Besa and the Ibis — a game rival turned reluctant ally — Yared must search for his uncle… and answers to his place in a forgotten, galaxy-spanning war.
Review: I absolutely loved this book! I loved the Ethiopian culture that was intertwined with this tale and I really appreciate that the arc came with a guide on the different items that were inspired by Ethiopian culture. The book had amazing character development and the plot was magnificent. The world building was awe-inspiring and I loved every minute of this reading this book.
The only issue I had with the book is that I felt it was too short. The amount of material in the book could have easily lasted another 100 pages and I am excited to see if there will be more.
Verdict: Highly recommend!