Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1) by Marlon James

Genre: Fantasy, Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Characters: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Plot: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Themes: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I originally gave this book a 4 on Goodreads after I had finished reading it, but as I sit to write this review, I now realize I cannot give it anything except a 5. This books gets a 5 star rating from me for many reasons:

It’s Unique!

This may be the first novel I’ve ever read that I needed to take breaks from and write notes for. It’s such an enigma, but strategically so. You’re introduced to so many characters and different stories throughout, but it’s all woven together in a masterful way that really makes me appreciate the work that went into it.

It’s Impossible to Predict

Maybe due to the fact that there are so many characters and story arcs, but I had no possible inclination of what would happen in this story in the first half of the book. Once the book got further along, I started to see how the paths would converge, but there was very little built up expectation because I honestly didn’t know what to expect – which was quite refreshing. Most books are pretty simple to predict. They follow the same themes and it starts to get easy to know what is possibly happening next.

It’s the Ultimate Re-read Material

I’m really happy that I bought the hardcover version of this novel (even though I listened to the audiobook to get through it). But, now that I’ve gone through it once, I look forward to really digging into this novel and studying it further. I definitely think this is the start of one of the most complex book series that our generation has seen. I don’t think there are very many writers alive that can write with the same intentionality, complexity, and depth that Marlon James has written this novel in.

It’s Going to be a Movie!

One of the major things that led me to wanting to read this novel was the buzz around it having a movie adaptation. That also might be why I kept reading even though there were many people saying they couldn’t get through it.

It’s Worth the Struggle

Unlike when I made myself finish The Sorceror’s Ring series, I was so glad that I continued reading this novel. Side note: switching to an audiobook really helped me enjoy this book a lot more. The reader(s) did an amazing job and really brought the story to life. (Also, one of the minor characters had a West African accent and it almost brought me to tears – he sounded just like my late grandfather). If you’re looking to read this book, I strongly recommend that you check out the audiobook. It’s 22hours long but well worth it!

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I’m excited for Moon Witch, Night Devil, the second book in The Dark Star trilogy.

*Disclaimer – There are a LOT of explicit and quite detailed sex scenes – so if you’re not comfortable with that, this ain’t for you.

Let me know if you’ve read BLRW or if you plan on reading it!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve seen a lot about this one. Tons of great reviews, but also a lot of people saying it’s overhyped. I definitely plan to read it, but I’m a little nervous…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure, there’s a lot of hype around it because it had a movie contract before release. However, I think it’s a really good book. It’s not an easy read, but I thought getting through it was worth it and I’ll definitely be reading the remaining books.

      Liked by 1 person

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