Author: Rachael A.Z Mutabingwa
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Book Blurb: It is 1975, and it is 1850.
The Twijuk family is trapped on the front lines of a civil war, and a terminal illness.
Kunda, the pregnant daughter of a Life-Witness is torn between her love for a former pirate and her duty as a half-spirit.
When I first read this book last year, I was so blown away by it I had to tell someone about it. I was excited. Excited that I knew the author, that I knew the person that created this wonderful world of Adavera. I texted a friend a string of emojis and then I started to babble about a book called Kinda. And because I was so excited I didn’t notice the autocorrect until after I’d sent the message. I think you can imagine the facepalm.
I reread this book at the beginning of the year for this review and I was still blown away by it. Blown away by the depth of the story and the extent to which my emotions were played with. In this regard, I hate the author, almost as much as I love her.
Kunda is the second book in the Adavera series, the first being Adavera which I reviewed here. Kunda is prequel that gives more context to and expands the Adaveran world. Rachael Mutabingwa weaves a story that is rich in culture, religion, politics, and the pitfalls of patriarchy. All this is set in the fantastical world of Adavera that has Life Witnesses, half spirits, and people with the ability to time travel.
Rachael has an immense ability to make characters real and relatable with just a few lines. While reading, I felt like I knew who they were the minute they were introduced. The scared mother praying over her child, the sick child who’s accepting of death, the brother who hopes his big brother will get better, the angry father who can’t do much for his child. I could relate.
The book is about the love story between Kunda and dreamy former pirate, Joriah. It’s also about the Twijuk family which has young Edward who will grow up to father the three Nvaleroah girls who are at the center of the first book, Adavera.
I feel, at it’s core, the book is more than just about the main characters but about Muuna; the God that is worshipped on this island. Muuna is mischievous, omnipotent, omnipresent, full of love, and oh so mysterious. His full plan is never really discussed or revealed but he is very present. Through the characters’ interactions with Muuna, Rachael conveyed the frustration we feel when it seems like God isn’t listening.
The book delves into the human condition and how difference in people is either feared or mocked. At it’s very heart, Kunda is about family and the threads that bind family. It’s about a love that withstands a lot. It’s also about spirituality.
There’s even an Amin-esque character to boot. And then there’s a twist. A twist I never saw coming. I was screaming as I read it. I put the book aside and shook my head and then picked it up and started to read again. Rachael Mutabingwa is a master of the twist.
I now cannot wait to read book three. I am eager for book three to come out. I’m willing to go stalk the author and keep begging her for the third book. I am willing to become like the fandom of George RR Martin who are always asking for Winds of Winter.
What’s clearly evident though is that in me, Rachael Mutabingwa has found a life long fan. 2020 was many things, but meeting Rachael and getting to read her books was one of my highlights of the year.
Buy the book. Read the book. Tell me about the book after you’ve read it.
You can follow the author, Rachael A. Z Mutabingwa on her social media and if you want to buy her book, you can contact her through her social media. Or, you can buy the book from Amazon, find the link below.