• The Good: Minor gods breaking free from their bureaucratic shackles
  • The Bad: Unnecessarily complex structure; chaotic plot elements
  • The Literary: Orisha pantheon of Nigerian mythology

Nightmare god Shigidi doesn’t have many human believers left. He answers their prayers, but mostly because he is in service to the bureaucratic Orisha spirit company, which pays him just enough to stay drunk. When he meets Nneoma, a succubus sex goddess, his life changes dramatically.

I love a story about gods who walk among us, and this one’s from a Nigerian perspective. It has many elements in common with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, especially the combination of mythical and mundane. But this one feels especially contemporary in its setting, with debt to the corporate company store, board meetings, and quarterly targets. Employees work on a pray-to-pray basis, and more prayers translate to higher positions and pay.

Shigidi develops strong feelings for Nneoma, so there’s a bit of a romance sub-plot, but it’s unclear if he loves her because of the great sex or because they leave the spirit company to go freelance. I should mention there is quite a bit of sex, although none of it is particularly sexy, as Nneoma seduces her prey before she consumes their soul. Nneoma is proud of her “sex work” and strong female personality, but her presence in the novel is there to serve Shigidi.

Unfortunately, the book is quite chaotic and could do with some focusing. In form, the story jumps back and forth across time and place between chapters, from the spirit world to the human world. Pay attention to those chapter headings and be prepared for half of the book to be flashbacks for side adventures and ostensibly character development. There’s a number of flashy fight scenes. They recruit the human magician Aleister Crowley. Lastly, the plot is book-ended with a heist to recover the brass head of Obalufon from the British Museum.

Recommended for fans of modern mythical fantasy ready for a diverse take on the genre.