Review of Abeni’s Song

Abeni’s Song Abeni’s Song
by P. Djèlí Clark
Intermediate, Middle School    Starscape/Tor    336 pp.
7/23    9781250825827    $19.99
Paper ed.  9781250825841    $8.99
e-book ed.  9781250825834    $11.99

On Abeni’s twelfth birthday, a witch enters her village to give a grave warning: an evil is coming, and it’s too late to run. The adults prepare for an impossible battle as malevolent women and a shadowy goat man, aided by magical black ropes and an enchanted flute, begin their attack. When it’s over, Abeni survives—saved by the witch—but the village has been destroyed and its residents, both adults and children, have disappeared, “hidden in the darkness.” Abeni despairs over the loss of her community, but the witch, Asha, provides some stability until she seemingly disappears. With the aid of two spirits (a timid porcupine and a brusque panther), Abeni sets out to find her friends and family before they are completely consumed by the dark. Clark presents a rich story of love, loss, and friendship steeped in West African lore. Readers will thrill to the fantastic plot points as well as the genuine relationships between magical and mortal characters, and the fast-paced plot will keep them fully immersed in the story from beginning to end. An excellent ­foundation for a projected new fantasy series.

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

S. R. Toliver

S. R. Toliver is an assistant professor of literacy and secondary humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her public and academic scholarship can be found on her website Follow her on Twitter @SR_Toliver.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.