We are proud to announce that BookBrowse has won Platinum in the 2024 Modern Library Awards.

Reviews of Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

Dazzling

by Chikodili Emelumadu

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu X
Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Dec 2023, 352 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

The Girl with the Louding Voice meets The Water Dancer in Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ's magical, award-winning literary debut, Dazzling, offering a new take on West African mythology.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure's father died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a man who promises to change their fortunes, but his feet are hovering just a few inches above the ground. He's a spirit, and he promises to bring Treasure's beloved father back to life if she'll do one terrible thing for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back. It's an itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, an honor never before bestowed upon a girl, to defend the land and protect its people by becoming a Leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honor this was before he vanished, but it's one she couldn't want less—she has enough to worry about as she tries to fit in at a new boarding school.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their missing fathers, Ozoemena's fellow students start to vanish. Treasure's obligations to the spirit escalate, and Ozoemena's duty of protection as a Leopard grows. Soon the girls' destinies and choices alike set them on a dangerous collision course. Ultimately, they must ask themselves: in a world that always says no to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

Chapter Thirty-Six
Treasure: Then

The goat is doing "mkpaaa-mkpaaa" in the boot. Ever since we left it have been making noise, even though driver tight its leg and hand and opened the boot so that it can hang its head outside and be getting breeze. Goat is not cow; they are always making noise. There is go-slow all the way from Onitsha to Agulu upon it have not yet reached ten o'clock in the morning, and Mummy is fanning herself because Driver can only be putting on AC small-small so that battery will not die.

"I don't know why you had to get dibia from Agulu, are there no longer people in Onitsha, eh?" Mummy is asking Driver again upon she have already asked him plenty time and Driver is telling her that he knows the man because he is his brother from his mother's side, and his gift is pure from God; he is not a wayo man. This time as she is asking Driver is not saying anything again, only minding his driving business, because after all, is not as if Mummy is looking for answer, she just...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The two storylines vacillate not only between perspective but also time. This format is handled impressively, sustaining interest and suspense despite the reader's lack of knowledge about what exactly is going on. Emelumadu achieves this in part through the episodic nature of the chapters, which read as an end in themselves, a feature that compensates somewhat for the book's ending, which feels abrupt and out of step with the emotional and ethical nuances of what comes before. Despite this disappointment, Dazzling is memorable in its portrayal of the persistence of grief, and it excels in showing what is sacrificed when people become mired in the past...continued

Full Review Members Only (620 words)

(Reviewed by Elisabeth Cook).

Media Reviews

Lit Hub
I love that the book can hearken to elements of fantasy storytelling—the isolation of a new place, unreliable parents, the danger of other class members, self discovery and coming of age—while creating a story so wholly new and compelling.

Kirkus Reviews
In a story imbued with magic, the lives of two girls in 1990s Nigeria run on a collision course ... A densely detailed tale of tradition and girl power.

Library Journal
Evocative and a little mysterious, this literary fantasy is immersive and full of Nigerian mythology. Recommend this lustrous coming-of-age story to those who like to read across genres.

Publishers Weekly
An entrancing tale of two Nigerian girls whose fates are intertwined in Igbo myth and magic ... with exhilarating depictions of the spirits ... Emelumadu delivers the goods with her satisfying coming-of-age story.

Author Blurb Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne
A vibrant, immersive read that takes the reader on a dizzying journey through Nigerian mythology. Emelụmadụ does what I love best in this novel: she lays bare human weaknesses and celebrates female strength; she builds a world bursting with magic, bright and visceral; she has created two immensely memorable protagonists and woven a story that will linger in my mind for a long time.

Author Blurb Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
Dazzling lives up to its name. I was entranced by the story of Treasure and Ozoemena – two young women who find themselves tested by forces both human and uncanny. Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ has crafted a coming-of-age tale like no other.

Author Blurb Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and A Single Thread
I am truly dazzled. Emelumadu has revealed surprising layers of our world and given me the eyes to see them.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Leopards and Secret Societies in Nigeria

A leopard walking through underbrushIn Chikodili Emelumadu's Dazzling, Ozoemena inherits the ability to transform into a leopard from her uncle, a power that comes with certain obligations and responsibilities. Her father's side of the family belongs to a secret society that maintains this tradition, a plot detail inspired in part by real-life phenomena. In an interview with Brittle Paper, Emelumadu notes that leopards have played a significant part in Igbo culture as sacred figures (as well as in other cultures of West African regions), and that historical "leopard societies" believed that they could take on the powers of the leopard for the purpose of keeping order in their communities.

"Not quite extrajudicial but skirting on the cusp, it was their job to punish crimes...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Dazzling, try these:

  • The History of a Difficult Child jacket

    The History of a Difficult Child

    by Mihret Sibhat

    Published 2023

    About this book

    A breathtaking, tragicomic debut novel about the indomitable child of a scorned, formerly land-owning family who must grow up in the wake of Ethiopia's socialist revolution

  • Walking on Cowrie Shells jacket

    Walking on Cowrie Shells

    by Nana Nkweti

    Published 2021

    About this book

    A "boisterous and high-spirited debut" (Kirkus starred review), named one of the Most Anticipated Books for Brittle Paper, The Millions, and The Rumpus, penned by a finalist for the AKO Caine Prize.

Read-Alikes are one of the many benefits of membership. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Neighbors and Other Stories
    Neighbors and Other Stories
    by Diane Oliver
    The history of American segregation, along with changes to it in the 1960s, is sometimes taught and ...
  • Book Jacket: Wild and Distant Seas
    Wild and Distant Seas
    by Tara Karr Roberts
    Tara Karr Roberts is a newspaper columnist who also teaches English and journalism. Wild and Distant...
  • Book Jacket: The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    The Djinn Waits a Hundred Years
    by Shubnum Khan
    Shubnum Khan's eloquent and moving debut novel opens in 1932, when a djinn that haunts a house by ...
  • Book Jacket: Transient and Strange
    Transient and Strange
    by Nell Greenfieldboyce
    Throughout her powerful essay collection, Transient and Strange, science reporter Nell ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Mockingbird Summer
by Lynda Rutledge
A powerful and emotional coming-of-age novel set in the 1960s by the bestselling author of West with Giraffes.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Strong Passions
    by Barbara Weisberg

    Shocking revelations of a wife's adultery in 19th New York explode in an incendiary trial exposing the upper-crust and its secrets.

  • Book Jacket

    Leaving
    by Roxana Robinson

    An engrossing exploration of the vows we make to one another and what we owe to others and ourselves.

Win This Book
Win The Cleaner

The Cleaner
by Brandi Wells

Rarely has cubicle culture been depicted in such griminess or with such glee."
PW (starred review)

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.