I received the second book in author Yasmin Angoe’s series as an advanced reader copy, and as I started reading it, I felt lost. I went back and saw that the first book in the series, Her Name is Night, was available on Kindle Unlimited, so I decided to read that before the book I received. Am I glad I did! Not only does it clear up a few of the things I was lost on, but it also is an excellent book on its own. It’s hard to believe these are her first novels!
Nena Knight, a.k.a. Echo, is a highly trained assassin who works for “The Tribe.” It’s a clandestine organization of African leaders who work together for the betterment of Africa. Her father, Noble Knight, is the lynchpin of the organization, trying to unite Africa so they can better benefit the people who live there versus the western world which wishes to exploit their resources. This wasn’t always Nena’s life, though, and it tells her story in flashbacks to “before.” She grew up in Ghana, the daughter of a tribal leader. Her journey from that place to the modern day in Miami is both interesting and terrifying.
However, Nena is at a crossroads in her life. When she became an assassin, it was designed to help her take her power back after the events of her youth. Now she’s starting to question all that she has known since then. When she’s tasked with dispatching a local prosecutor, she hesitates and questions why. She defies her orders outright when she learns the man he is prosecuting is a man she believed to be dead.
Her Name is Night is well-written and easy to follow, despite the time jumps. Nena’s story evolves and I knew there was some point where she had to be taken in by the Knights and the Tribe, and seeing it happen felt very natural. The story is a compelling one that opens the eyes to modern-day human trafficking and exploitation. It’s not a fun read by any stretch of the imagination, but is necessary to show what The Tribe is fighting against in Africa as well as the background that formed Nena.
At the same time, it’s a world not known to most of us in the West. We see Africa in abstract – as a place where there are animals and poachers for the most part. What we don’t know are the people who live there in primitive settings by western standards. Still, for 14 years Nena had a happy childhood there with her family. That was all taken from her in one night by men who still existed outside of the law on the continent. The Tribe wants to remedy that, but it’s a slow process.
There’s great action and mystery in Her Name is Night. Nena has done what is necessary to make herself feel safe, but it’s really an illusion, as she discovers. I had trouble accepting a few of her decisions, which led to more problems down the road. If she had told her father everything, right from the beginning, the family would have been better protected. I don’t know why she didn’t; it’s one point that really doesn’t make sense but it’s necessary for the story to proceed as it does. There are a few plot devices that made me cringe like that, and that’s the one detraction from the overall story.
Her Name is Night is violent and filled with potential triggers for people. At the same time, I found it compelling, with a strong female character trying to find her place in the world after suffering unimaginable trauma. She’s a survivor, as one of the other characters points out to her. It’s really the story of her pulling her entire life together when she’s managed to compartmentalize things up until now. It’s not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination, but one where I found myself cheering for the truth.
Categories: Book Reviews