“Abiku” by Elizabeth Salawu

“Abiku” is the story of Dayo, a young biracial Nigerian-German woman who discovers she is able to see into the world of the gods. Soon she is caught up in relationship with a god, and discovers that she is more than who she thought she was…

This story deserves major props for its concept, which takes the genre of paranormal romance and transplants it from North America and Western Europe to Nigeria, where most of the action takes place. Nigerian culture is presented naturally, through Dayo’s eyes, so that we see it from the point of view of a member of the culture rather than as something that has been exoticized and distorted for foreign consumption. The use of Pidgin English in certain passages, where it is presented as a normal and natural way to speak, is particularly refreshing.

I also liked the idea of presenting the narrative as a letter from Dayo to the reader, which allows her to speak in a breezy, conversational style that flows like an oral narrative. The trade-off is a lack of the description and development that the reader might expect to find in a written work: the plot and characters are for the most part sketched rather than depicted in full (although FYI: the sex scenes are quite explicit). This does not read like a typical paranormal romance, and at times I found myself wanting more, as it felt like there was enough plot for twice as much book at least. However, readers looking for a quick (I finished it in about an hour) read with a refreshingly different heroine and setting may well want to check “Abiku” out.

I received a free review copy of this book.

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