Review of Tristan Strong Destroys the World

Tristan Strong Destroys the World
by Kwame Mbalia
Intermediate, Middle School    Riordan/Disney-Hyperion    320 pp.    g
10/20    978-1-368-04238-3    $17.99
Library ed.  978-1-4328-8471-0    $21.99
e-book ed.   978-1-368-06802-4    $10.99

In the sequel to CSK honoree Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (rev. 7/20), Tristan once again finds himself responsible for saving Alke from destruction. This time, however, the stakes are even higher, as the fate of Alke is intricately intertwined with the fate of the real world. A month after Tristan’s return to his family’s farm in Alabama, a mysterious monster called the Shamble Man abducts Tristan’s grandmother and takes her back to Alke. Tristan is determined to save her, so he embarks on an adventure that will again challenge his hero identity and force him to consider a difficult truth: although he did previously save Alke, he was also the one who created the danger. Fans of the first novel will enjoy this sequel, as familiar characters, such as Gum Baby and Ayanna, populate the story and new African and African American gods, such as Keelboat Annie and Mami Wata, are introduced. Mbalia’s stunning landscapes, suspenseful action sequences, and well-paced story line — including questions of how our stories can create but also destroy — will keep readers enthralled to the very end.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

S. R. Toliver
S. R. Toliver is a PhD candidate in language and literacy education at the University of Georgia and a 2019 NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellow. She studies YA speculative fiction, Afrofuturism, and Black girl literacies. Her academic work can be found on her website DiverseFutures.net. Follow her on Twitter @SR_Toliver

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