The Gatekeeper's Staff by Antoine Bandele

SPFBO7 Indie Recs Indie

TJ Young has been surrounded by magic his entire life, yet he has never tapped into it… until now. Fourteen-year-old TJ grew up normal in a secret community of gifted diviners in the heart of modern-day Los Angeles. His powerful sister was ordained to lead his people into a new age of prosperity, but her mysterious death in Nigeria threatens to destroy the very foundations of TJ’s world. Desperate to pick up where his sister left off and uncover the secrets behind her questionable death, TJ commits himself to unlocking the magical heritage that has always eluded him. So he enrolls in Camp Olosa—a remedial magic school for the divinely less-than-gifted in the humid swamps of New Orleans. But little does he know, TJ is destined to cross paths with powerful spirits of old thought lost to time: the Orishas. Delve into this young adult fantasy based on the mythology of the West African gods, where TJ will encounter unlikely allies, tough-as-gatorhide instructors, and the ancient secrets of the Orishas.


Age: Young Adult

Genre: Children’s Fiction/Science Fiction and Fantasy

Genre: Diversity Representation/BIPOC

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SKaeth ✓ author

Worldbuilding: Aided the story
Plot: Straightforward
Characters: Roles are clear
Storytelling: Balanced
Immersion: Didn’t want to put the book down
Emotional Response: Engaging
Thought Provoking: New ideas came up
Cover: Matches the story well

This is the kick off to a new YA series with super refreshing worldbuilding playing off of West African mythology, like a Percy Jackson meets Black Panther with excellent, diverse characters to connect with.


Submitted by SKaeth on



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