“Abiku: A Battle of Gods” by Elizabeth Salawu #Review

Abiku front cover

“Abiku: A Battle of Gods”

by Elizabeth Salawu

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Release Date: September 16, 2016

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A distraught Ekundayo ‘Dayo’ Adeyemi furiously pens a letter on a Lagos beach in West Nigeria. She has been called an abiku…a witch. Dayo seems confused. Could she be an abiku and not know it?

Dayo shares her story about the events of her life that have led to her sitting on said beach.

A mixed-race child of privilege, it was hard for me to connect with Dayo. She seemed shallow and contradictory. While repeatedly mentioning her “exotic” looks and how beautiful she was by Nigerian standards, Dayo also makes self-deprecating remarks about her lack of a bum (butt). After an insult from a boy about her lack of a butt, a shopping trip with her mother arms Dayo with biker shorts and granny pants, which she wears under her clothes for appearances. Shallow, much?

Dayo also seems like a schemer. Everything she does is part of a plan…to get something, or somewhere, or even someone. The seduction of her father’s driver, Henry, caused me to do massive eye-rolls. She was a virgin, for Pete’s sake, but she comes off as some street-walking trick. Again…part of a plan. This seduction, however, links Henry and Dayo together and will have extenuating consequences by the book’s end.

Considering herself a “good girl”, the contrary protagonist attends a party with her cousin where she promptly drinks too much, accepts drugs from a total stranger, and participates in an orgy, with yes…another total stranger she refers to as Mr. Whatshisname. The only thing that stopped her fun, was her outright insult at the size of Mr. Whatshisname’s penis. She laughed…LAUGHED! *Shaking my head*

After returning home, Dayo finds the illicit drugs and promptly seeks out her ‘friend’ for confirmation on the drugs’ identity. Of course, he and his friends used it…and insisted Dayo join in. This is important because what Dayo considered a drug trip was actually her first visit to another realm, where she meets her ‘dream man’, Akin, who’s actually a god of thunder, lightning, and fire.

Wrongly believing the cocaine is responsible for whisking her in and out of her dream world, Dayo quickly becomes a bit too dependent on the drug. But then Dayo finds she does not need the drug to ‘travel’ back and forth. Her recurring visits to the other realm, however, pose another dilemma – when she’s there, her body in the mortal world is unconscious/comatose. I couldn’t help but laugh when Dayo ‘wakes’ from one of her dream trips to her roommate slapping her around, trying to wake her up!

It is Dayo’s behavior/actions with Akin, and again with Henry, that creates the conflict of the story. Even though she described herself…several times…I could not create a mental pic of her. Men have done many foolish things over, and for women, but for me, Dayo just didn’t seem worthy of the trouble. I understand she was following a destiny she could not escape, but she was too much into the love-the-one-you’re-with-mode for much of the story. No loyalty to anyone but herself. She drooled over Akin and melted over Henry – gimme a break.

Ubong – a god of war and iron – shows up in the god realm with…Henry! Evidently, Henry has been holding back a few details. How else could a mortal show up in the god realm?

Just as things are about to come to a head, and before a war that could destroy the world begins, I find out I’ve been reading about ‘lesser’ gods – because the real power, Sango (Akin’s father and Dayo’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather. Yeah.) shows up…and is not happy.

While I didn’t care for Ekundayo Adeyemi, I did enjoy the story. Things would have gone differently had Dayo been different.

Her conversational storytelling was confusing at times, partly due to cultural differences, and partly because of editing. There is a hint in the front of the book about the glossary in the back – I flew right by that. Fortunately, it was pointed out to me before I was a third of the way through Abiku. I deducted nothing for cultural issues because that’s more of a learning experience for me than a hindrance. However, I did take away a star for editing, and one for continuity. The story slows in places due to Dayo’s drawn out explanations of people, places, or other situations.

I do plan to read the next book. The punishment meted out to Dayo and company sends them to the mortal world, stripped of their god-status and memories…and as strangers. And, Dayo will have “some form of deformity.”

You know I have to read that! And you should read this!