A review by snoakes7001
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James


I was really excited to read this but, despite having adored all of Marlon James's previous novels, this one just didn't quite work for me.

Tracker has a nose and so is recruited to find a missing boy. He is joined on his quest by a disparate group of other magical creatures including a witch, a giant, a shape-shifter and many others who drop in and out of the story.

It's a long and rambling affair - the motley band move through many different lands, travelling by both conventional and magical means. It feels rather disconnected, jumping from place to place, with different combinations of characters. I just couldn't get sufficiently invested to keep track of it all, so I was frequently confused by Tracker's current situation, who he was with and which enemy they were fighting or fleeing.

As you would expect if you've read Marlon James before, the writing has a raw physicality and combines brutal action scenes with occasional glimpses of heartbreaking tenderness.

Tracker is an interesting character but ultimately James just didn't make me care whether he lived or died and frankly the final third of the novel was a bit of a slog. So, sad though I am to say it, I won't be reading the second two instalments of the trilogy.