Kelly McLeod checking in with a review of The Lies of the Ajungo
by Moses Ose Utomi, which released on Mar 21.
This debut novella is just an excellent political allegory about a city of lies wrapped in fairy-tale-like trappings. It felt a little too short in that I wanted more, but long enough for character development and some excellent fighting scenes. I definitely look forward to more from Utomi.
About The Lies of the Ajungo
Moses Ose Utomi’s debut novella, The Lies of the Ajungo, follows one boy’s epic quest to bring water back to his city and save his mother’s life. Prepare to enter the Forever Desert.
They say there is no water in the City of Lies. They say there are no heroes in the City of Lies. They say there are no friends beyond the City of Lies. But would you believe what they say in the City of Lies?
In the City of Lies, they cut out your tongue when you turn thirteen, to appease the terrifying Ajungo Empire and make sure it continues sending water. Tutu will be thirteen in three days, but his parched mother won’t last that long. So Tutu goes to his oba and makes a deal: she provides water for his mother, and in exchange he will travel out into the desert and bring back water for the city. Thus begins Tutu’s quest for the salvation of his mother, his city, and himself.
The Lies of the Ajungo opens the curtains on a tremendous world, and begins the epic fable of the Forever Desert. With every word, Moses Ose Utomi weaves magic.
Moses Ose Utomi is a Nigerian-American fantasy writer and nomad currently based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. He has an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College and short fiction publications in Fireside Fiction, Fantasy Magazine, and more. His debut YA fantasy novel, Daughters of Oduma, will be coming out in early 2023. When he’s not writing, he’s traveling, training martial arts, or doing karaoke—with or without a backing track.