The Smoke That Thunders

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Pub Date Apr 09 2024 | Archive Date Mar 31 2024
W. W. Norton & Company | Norton Young Readers

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From a debut Nigerian author: a spectacular young adult fantasy rooted in West African mythology and brimming with adventure.

All sixteen-year-old Naborhi dreams of is sailing the seas. Instead, she feels suffocated, her life already laid out: she’ll have her rite of passage and spend her life bound to her house, husband, and children.

Then Naborhi begins having strange dreams and finds a mysterious animal that becomes instantly bonded to her. When she meets Atai, the son of an Oracle from a rival kingdom, she learns that she is being guided by the gods. She and Atai journey to find the boy Naborhi is dreaming of, but when that boy turns out to be a kidnapped prince, Naborhi realizes there is more than just her freedom at stake: she must stop a war that has already been set in motion.

Woven through with Urhobo and West African folklore and mythology, The Smoke That Thunders is a gripping young adult fantasy that heralds the arrival of a powerhouse debut author.

About the Author: Erhu Kome is an Urhobo writer of speculative fiction and fantasy. She was the first female Nigerian author to be shortlisted for the Nommo Awards for her novella Not Seeing Is a Flower. She lives in Asaba, Nigeria.

From a debut Nigerian author: a spectacular young adult fantasy rooted in West African mythology and brimming with adventure.

All sixteen-year-old Naborhi dreams of is sailing the seas. Instead, she...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324052654
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 54 members

Featured Reviews

The Smoke that Thunders
By Erhu Kome

A review by Jamilla (@Landsawaybooks a blog)

As soon as I saw the cover, I knew I had to request this! Naborhi had her knif to my throat daring me to enter her world and read her story.

And what a story it is! This is a story of a girl who knows she wants more for life than what she’s been offered, she desires more than just the path laid out in front of her by others. This is a story of her journey across deserts and through jungles to save the life of a child she doesn’t know. Of a fresh, intriguing world of The Smoke that Thunders.

I’m captivated by this world crafted by Kome, of its deities, of its religions, of the mysterious Ikere, an all female warrior tribe, who live in and control the forest but are rarely ever seen. I hope to see more work set in this enchanting place.

Although this is YA, I think that it’s very accessible for the younger end of the age range, a group I feel are left in the gap between the very popular upper YA genre and MG. So I definitely recommend this adventure focused novel for them!

Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for providing a review copy.

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This was a cute coming of age story, perfect for the early teen reader. It had a good balance of action with adventure. The characters were likable and the story was intriguing and inspirational. The implementation of elements of the authors culture was done well and really painted a detailed picture. Some parts of the story were a little long/ overly detailed but overall it was a good read. Felt like a story that your elders would share with you while sitting around the campfire.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC

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I loved the use of West African mythology and that it had a great fantasy feel to it. I was invested in what was happening with the characters and loved the adventure elements going on. It had everything that I was hoping for from the description and that the characters worked with this universe. Erhu Kome does a great job in writing this book and creating characters that I wanted. It was a great debut for Erhu Kome and can’t wait to read more.

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I was drawn to this book to review based on the title and the cover. I had never read any books by this author, but was willing to try it since I like to review young adult literature. This is a fantasy story set in a region that would be like Africa. It is a time period of tribal communities within kingdoms. The women have one role--to get married and provide sons. This is how it's been done and what is expected for Naborhi who is almost of age when marriage happens. But she dreams of more. She wants more. And she's willing to do anything to get it.

This is a coming of age story for Naborhi who rises above what's expected to do what she is meant to do. There is story of family, of friendship, of heroism and bravery, and of so many ways there is beauty and value in a woman. You will get to enjoy Urhobo and West African folklore and mythology in this story.

I would consider this to be a choice for the 14+ age range who may be interested in fantasy and learning more about African culture.

4 Stars

*I received this book as a complimentary ARC from the publisher and Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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The cover of this book is what drew me in, and then I read what the book was about and was thoroughly intrigued.

This story follows Naborhi who is a 16 year old girl that wants to follow her dreams and not be tied down by marrying a man that she does not care for.

This story is a perfect book for people who are looking for action, adventure and a coming of age story. Who wants to learn a little bit more of African culture. It was beautifully written and inspiring.

I received this book from NetGalley as an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) and this is my honest review.

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"The Smoke That Thunders" by debut author Erhu Kome takes readers on a captivating journey into a world steeped in West African mythology and rich with adventure. Through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Naborhi, suffocating under the weight of societal expectations, we are drawn into a tale of destiny, dreams, and divine intervention. As Naborhi discovers her connection to the gods and embarks on a quest with the enigmatic Atai, the novel unfolds with a sense of urgency and wonder, weaving together themes of freedom, duty, and the power of myth.

Rooted in Urhobo and West African folklore, Kome's storytelling shines with authenticity and depth, offering readers a fresh perspective on familiar legends. With its gripping narrative and vibrant world-building, "The Smoke That Thunders" announces the arrival of a talented new voice in young adult fantasy. Erhu Kome's debut novel is sure to captivate readers of all ages, leaving them eagerly anticipating her next literary journey.

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All sixteen-year-old Naborhi dreams of is sailing the seas. Instead, she feels suffocated, her life already laid out: she’ll have her rite of passage and spend her life bound to her house, husband, and children.

Beautifully written with great characters and wonderful world-building! An exciting debut!

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It was the cover that caught my attention and then I read the synopsis and I just had to read this book! A young girl Naborhi has dreams to travel and live a full life of adventure even though her family has a different future for her revolving around their traditions. Her role is to marry, and be a good wife; that is what is expected of her. Erhu Kome does a wonderful job world building, and creating a variety of mysterious creatures and characters that enhance the plot paired with West African mythology and folklore. I was on the edge of my seat through out the entire book wondering what obstacles Naborhi and her travel companions would face next! This was a beautiful and wonderful young adult fantasy and coming of age story. The Smoke That Thunders was hard to put down; I absolutely loved this book, and look forward to reading more from Erhu Kome in the future.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance read of this title. All opinions contained in this review are my own.

This is a wonderful coming-of-age novel perfect for the younger side of YA audiences. I loved the epic quest and the fact that romance was not emphasized. This is a lovely story about choosing your own path.

The world that Kome built is intriguing and deep. I’m very interested in reading more books that take place here. For a debut, I found the prose flowed smoothly, and the pacing was consistent. The nods to west African mythology and folklore add to the depth and interest for me.

This is for those looking for stories of a gods-touched adventure. A definitely lighter touch than many of my more recent reads. It just felt good overall. Still twisty enough to be interesting but more of a happy sigh at the ending book. I will be adding this to my physical shelf once it is released.

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