Amari and the Night Brothers, a review

After hearing about it so much online, when I spotted a paperback copy with sprayed edges in Tesco’s (British supermarket/grocery store) I knew I had to grab Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

This is a middle grade SFF which follows a young girl whose older brother has went missing, presumed dead. She’s convinced that he’s still alive, however, and when she’s offered the chance to go to the same summer school he went to she jumps at the chance. Because that summer school isn’t what it seems.

I adored the M.I.B vibes through this whole book, the lobby, the different species, I could feel Will Smith walking down a different corridor! And the technology through this whole world is fantastic. Just stretching the realms of reality without breaking those boundaries.

We get a fantastic combination of reality, with racism and also limitations because they’re kids, along with the fantastical. And on that note, I love how they got around the parent/guardian issue. They don’t make them useless. They don’t just kill them off. Instead Alston found a way around it that I think is so clever and I’m excited to see how he continues to navigate this in the next book.

I absolutely adored Amari’s best friend and how their relationship develops. But there were also some amazing developments in relationships between Amari and other students, and also with the instructors. Something that I prize highly in books.

I adored the ending of this book, which of course I won’t spoil. I love how it doesn’t full resolve the plot and leaves that link there to move into the sequel. I will definitely be picking that up! (and it’s going to pain me to wait until it’s in paperback but I want my books to match!)

I will say that I did predict the “twist”. However, this is a Middle Grade book aimed at 8-12 year olds. And I’m 25. And I still enjoyed the book! So don’t put too much weight on that. And I enjoyed the misleading aspects leading up to the reveal that added another element to the story.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 9, Atmosphere: 10, Writing: 8, Plot: 8, Intrigue: 8, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 9 which gives an average of 8.71 and a 4.5* rating. (yes I’m trialling out using half stars this year, we’ll see how it goes)

I’m so tempted to bump this up to a five star read. I really and truly adored this book and I was so surprised when it came out as a 4 star! This is a wonderful middle grade that every age can enjoy and I’m so excited to see where the story goes from here!

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts

I’m guessing you’re not shocked at me saying I love Harry Potter?! But it is the main reason anyone is going to come and look at this book. It is definitely an interesting read about the real-life background and legends that Rowling looked into for inspiration for the magical universe (in my edition it only reaches to The Order of the Phoenix 😭 pros and cons of secondhand shops) and how she weaved these stories into the background, and foreground, of this series.

Some of the information which is given is incredibly obvious to anyone who has read the books, and most readers of this would have already been through the books a couple times. However, there is some further detail for certain sections and there are a few tidbits that you might not have thought about too deeply in the past but that once brought to light will linger in your brain and reveal a new perspective you had never thought of. This really is a fun little book for anyone who loves the Harry Potter series and wants to think a little more about the writing process and name choice for everything within the world. It is a quick read, and later editions are likely to have a lot more information as many plot points were revealed in later books which show more about name choices, backgrounds and more.

If I could find a later edition for a decent price at a charity shop then I’d definitely pick it up to see what was added and removed and how the remaining sections were changed. It’s not life-changing but it’s a nice little companion piece to a beautiful series.