As my author site's first review of any literature, I wanted the premiere review to be something special. My reviews are simply meant to showcase powerful, great, and beautiful works of literature that I feel should be read. The spell-binding experience that is Dr. Marvellus Djinn's Odd Scholars instantly came to mind. It is a seducing tale mixed with magic, coming-of-age, and Black history. B. Sharise Moore has written a valuable piece of literary art that is both captivating and appealing to all ages. The decision to separate this novel's review into two parts comes from the fact that I have not finished its reading, but still wanted to at least implement some words on it. So, without further ado, I present to you Gavin Matthew's book review of Dr. Marvellus Djinn's Odd Scholars (part 1).
"I am the noble, the honorable, the magical Mistress of Mysticism, Dr. Marvellus Djinn!"
Culture & History
This novel is rich in many things but one of the most important things is culture. Taking place in the year 1920, sistah Moore does an excellent job at placing the reader in history. She paints lovely pictures of America's social environment without having to stab you with explicit images of pain. This is a work geared towards youth, but even with that in mind some novels still feel the need to use viscera to anchor in how badly the country was racially divided. This book does it tactfully with news clippings and character dynamics. With well written words, readers are skillfully dropped into the era.
The universe of the novel is intertwined with historical events, legendary figures, tempting mysticism, and marvelous magic. The magic changes how the world operates to some degree by establishing that there are people with magic (Taints) and people without. Still, many major items in Black history play important roles in character views. One that stands out is Marcus Garvey and the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association). Sistah Moore has done a great job at including our story into her wondrous tale. This factor alone counts as a major reason to include Dr. Marvellus Djinn's Odd Scholars on any school reading lists.
The roster of characters in this novel make for a beautiful rouges gallery. As to not reveal too much, I will only offer a snippet of the central characters.
Dr. Marvellus Djinn - An intriguing woman with a vibrant personality, Dr. Djinn stands out in many ways. She is a strong figure who wields magic to advance her people through their struggles. Often described as being beautiful, her presence gives offer comfort to her allies and danger to her enemies.
Brenda Banneker - The odd scholar with a penchant for inventing. She is a highly skilled engineer who carries a legacy. While her intelligence breeds several admirable qualities, it also gives birth to very sticky characteristic.
Elliot Just - The odd scholar with a mind for botany and chemistry. He is a dreamer who seeks to prove that those without magic can be just as influential as anybody else. Clean cut and eager, he steps into his adventure to take risks.
Clair Drayton - The odd scholar who wields magic. She is classified as a sage in the magic types. While she is powerful, her source of strength comes from our people's history which can prove to be mighty.......and dangerous.
Omen Crow - The odd scholar who carries with him the hope of his ancestors in the form of an alligator tooth necklace. He is a strong youth whose family's motto is Strength is the family business. While he is formattable in many ways, doubt clouds the corners of his mind.
Each character in this novel has more than enough quality to sustain their own book. Their opening chapters grip you quickly and hold your attention for the ride. It's too early to tell which will be my favorite, but I am very excited to find out!