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Imaro Audiobook

Imaro

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Publisher's Summary

Saunders' novel fuses the narrative style of fantasy fiction with a pre-colonial, alternate Africa. Inspired by and directly addresses the alienation of growing up an African American fan of science fiction and fantasy, which to this day remains a very ethnically homogonous genre. It addresses this both structurally (via its unique setting) and thematically (via its alienated, tribeless hero-protagonist). The tribal tensions and histories presented in this fantasy novel reflect actual African tribal histories and tensions, and provide a unique perspective to current and recent conflicts in Africa, particularly the Rwandan genocide and the ongoing conflict in The Sudan.

©2006 Charles Saunders (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Saunders alone has appreciated the potential of Africa as a backdrop for heroic fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (33 )
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4.4 (31 )
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4.4 (31 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Troy 10-12-17
    Troy 10-12-17
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    "Sword & Sorcery in Fantasy Africa"

    I finally read this Africanized sword & sorcery tale (or, "Sword & Soul" tale, if you will). Here's the bullet points:

    • Capable if not overly-impressive writing that sometimes gets mired in the protagonist's semi-believable viewpoint. I'm pretty sure I would like these stories better if the main character's ideas were more hidden and more time was spent on dialogue and description/atmosphere.

    • Cool enemies that felt part Lovecraftian, part African folklore, and all demon. Honestly, these were by far my favorite bits of the stories. The best was a kind of equally gross and voluptuous many-breasted hippo demon who wants to "love" the hero to death beneath the waters of its pool.

    • A heavy Burroughsian influence, to the story's detriment I think. Men fall into three camps: the mighty-thewed and invincible protagonist, yes-men, and traitors. Women are of a single type: voluptuous, clever, slavishly devoted, and generally either capable, victims, or invisible as the plot and their hero-lord-husband needs them to be.

    • I don't know if I can expertly speak to the Africanized nature of this, but my impression is that a) it does a great job of incorporating African tropes, but b) they feel like Westernized versions - not like an insider treatment. That's just my impression.

    I should add that the novel is from a collection of stories written in the 1970's and the author is an African American currently living in Canada.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    June 08-09-17
    June 08-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Awesome Story.... Imaro please be a movie!"

    Saunders wrote the Imaro stories not only to give fantasy ‘a black character that matters’, but to also have the kind of stories he wanted to read himself – a worthy motivation that has led to the creation of some great works of fantasy. 

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne Hood 06-21-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Immersive African High Fantasy"

    Imaro was nothing short of awe-inducing. Mirron Willis as narrator gives this tale a gravitas that helps elevate it to the realm of myth. Coupled with Charles Saunders' rich descriptions, listening to this book left me feeling as though I'd indulged in the written equivalent of decadent cake. It was like hearing a recounting of an ancient legend - the landscape is sweeping and the hero appropriately epic.

    I have loved science fiction and fantasy since I was a child. As I grew, I began to lean more heavily towards sci-fi, not only because I am deeply passionate about science and technology, but also because the genre ultimately felt more diverse, which is something intimately important to me. I still enjoy the concept of magic as an adult now, and have been actively seeking out fantasy works that break from the tried-and-true Old World European-inspired settings. Imaro does not disappoint as a high fantasy work set in an African-influenced world.

    I quickly became emotionally invested in this story. The protagonist, after whom the book is titled, has a life full of pain as an outsider no matter where he goes, but he has such an unfailing determination, one can't help but hope that *this time* something good will happen, or *this time* he's found his place. There are forces at work, however, that seem hell-bent on preventing Imaro from finding peace, and my heart ached for him many times. The book ends on a cliffhanger to which I eagerly await the resolution. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys grand fantasy and is looking for something different from the genre's usual settings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Steven L Stringfellow 09-24-16
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    "Not a token, not a sidekick, he's the HERO."
    If you could sum up Imaro in three words, what would they be?

    Swords + sorcery + soul. This is an entire world purely base on African culture, folklore and mythology. Today, there are other works of fantasy in the "sword and soul" tradition, but this was first (or at the very least, among the first). It is unique and refreshing in how it treats people of color and it's a really great adventure story on top of that. I wish I discovered this when I was in middle school, but I 'm glad I found it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Imaro?

    This will be a spoiler: For me the most memorable moment was when Imaro rejects his people, or rather his mother's people. That was the first big thing that was really unexpected but was not the last. It's always a good thing when the progatonist can surprise you.


    Have you listened to any of Mirron Willis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I have not heard any of Willis's other work, but this is a good example sample of his work. He narrated in a pretty standard voice but each of the characters had an "African" accent that gave the entire story a cultural feel. Given that and the fact that that he did this for multiple characters, I'd say it was an impressive performace.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I don't think such a book exist for me. When I really enjoy a reading or listening session, I don't always just want to plow ahead. A lot of time I like to put the book down and reflect on what I've read or heard.


    Any additional comments?

    Although this is one book, the story is divided into about four or five separate adventures that each have their own beginning, middle and end, but all of them fit together to make Imaro into a true epic. Additionally, there is language that further enhances the imagined culture. I'll have to get a printed version so I can actually see it on the page.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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