For Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho, Nubia is a mystery. Before they were born, a massive storm destroyed their ancestral homeland, forcing their families to flee across the ocean to New York City. Nubia, a utopic island nation off the coast of West Africa, was no more, and their parents’ sorrow was too deep for them to share much of their history beyond the folklore.
But New York, ravaged by climate change and class division, is far from a safe haven for refugees, and Nubians live as outcasts, struggling to survive in the constantly flooding lower half of Manhattan, while the rich thrive in the tech-driven sky city known as the Up High.
To many, being Nubian means you’re fated for a life plagued by difficulties and disrespect. But Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho are beginning to feel there might be more. Something within them is changing, giving each of them extraordinary powers. Extraordinary and terrifying powers that seem to be tied to the secrets their parents have kept from them.
And there are people Up High watching, eager to do anything they can to become even more powerful than they already are. Now Zuberi, Uzochi, and Lencho will be faced with the choice—do they use their inheritance to lift their people, or to leave them behind. The fate of their city, and their people, hangs in the balance.
From the very first sentence, I knew this would be a phenomenal world. This novel by Omar Epps and Clarence A. Haynes, resonates with vivid description, intriguing characters and mad world building. The story alternates between the different point of views of the three teenagers and asks very real questions that reflect society today and current issues. It raises questions about power, those who have it and what happens when you gain it unexpectedly. I also love the way manipulation of power is explored and white privilege.
Most of the reason that the story is so phenomenal is the characters. Each one is written with complexity, with heart and with clear motivations. I also love the way each explores their newfound power in different ways and while have different reactions to their gifts, also have similar reasons for using their power. The conflict between the teens and the adults makes for a riveting, amazing novel with a strong ending and a phenomenal world that makes me want more, desperately.
Rating: 5 out of 5 kinetic powers.