Lionheart Girl was a book that caught my eye on NetGalley with its stunning cover, and when I read the synopsis, I was sucked in even more. Read on to see how I got on!
This book was provided for free by NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to review this book.
There are scenes of emotional abuse, domestic abuse, animal abuse, alcoholism, and a character suffers loss of vision.
Shapeshifters have always interested me, however, most books with shapeshifters are urban fantasy novels predominantly set in the US. There are a few British urban fantasy novels that feature shapeshifters, but I’ve yet to find one that focuses fully on them. Either way, the point is that animals such as big cats and hyenas are placed in an urban setting and completely removed from the land they originated from. It’s a trope that fetishises the exoticism of the non-Western world. So while I was drawn in by the title of Lionheart Girl, and it’s stunning cover, I stayed for a story that looks like it’s going to be steeped in tradition and folklore.
I wanted to like Lionheart Girl a lot more, however, it’s another book listed as fantasy when it is more accurately magical realism. The fantasy elements are wrapped up within realism, hidden in word play rather than just coming out and saying exactly what is happening. It’s exhausting to read at times because I had to try to work out exactly what was being said.
I had thought that this was a book about shapeshifters, or at the very least, witches that could change shape. It’s not, which was disappointing. I enjoyed the folklore and the world building, I just wish the author had come out and said this was this and that was that. It’s explained that there is an evil, yet the evil is never given a name. It’s just danced around.
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Over to you
Thanks for reading my review for Lionheart Girl by Yaba Badoe.
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