Title: The Jumbies
Author: Tracy Baptiste
Series: The Jumbies #1
Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?
When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.
I really enjoyed this story. I am not familiar with the original folklore but the writing and pacing just made it leap off the page. Filled with rich description, just the right level of creepy it was quick to grab your attention and kept the pages turning.
It was filled with beautiful family moments, strong friendships, mischief and magic. It was just such a fun read. Corinne is a fantastic main character, she has a strength and bravery about her but doesn’t loose her age. The children in this story still read as children, with all the bravery, compassion and excitability. I love that despite all that is going on there is still an element of play.
The description of the Island is fantastic, you get a feel for how Corinne and her friends view their part of the world, it makes the forest, filled with Jumbies of all shapes and sizes feel atmospheric and spooky. It will also make you crave sweet Oranges by the end. We also got a taste of the island and its traditions, as well as an insight into how that correlated with all the different Jumbies. This was my first time encountering these mythical creatures (the Author’s note gave lots of insight too) some of them seem so creepy, that you just want to learn more.
While this does read on the younger side of the middle grade age range I still think it is a fantastic book for any age. I am really glad I joined in the Middle Grade Marvels book club for this book as I would have never have discovered it otherwise and I will definitely continue with the series.
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