Eye of Ra by Kipjo Ewers
In Eye of Ra, Kipjo Ewers’s prequel to The First, we meet Laurence Danjuma–a broken man, addicted to drugs after a painful knee injury. Desperate for money, he resolves to steal a valuable, ancient family heirloom–a golden, serpent-shaped staff with large gemstones–from his father’s apartment. When he tries to sell it at the pawn shop, he learns that it is not made of gold, nor any other known metal, at least not any metal known on this planet. United with the staff, Laurence discovers that he is the descendant of a race of alien superhumans that were revered as gods on earth. This discovery sends Laurence on a quest where he must face his destiny and not only redeem himself, but determine the fate of all mankind.
For most of the novel, Eye of Ra is fast-paced and hard to put down, but when we finally arrive on the Egyptian gods’ home planet, the story begins to drag a bit and there is too much description that doesn’t add sufficient texture to the world to justify the depth of the description. Sci-fi novels featuring black characters are invaluable, and Eye of Ra brings the plight of black Americans, ancient Egyptian religion, and mythology elegantly together to create this exciting addition to the genre. However, for better or worse, this book is not explicitly political and does not engage directly with the systemic oppression of African Americans. The novel also does not feature many significant female characters. Nonetheless, there should be a wide audience for this novel, which would be an excellent choice for young Percy Jackson fans to graduate to.
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