Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans (Hardcover)
The first book in a fast-paced, witty, and big-hearted debut Afrofantasy trilogy about a twelve-year-old apprenticing in the kitchens at the prestigious Academy of Shamans, who must ally with a snarky goddess and a knife-wielding warrior to save her kingdom. Perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and The School for Good and Evil.
Life is tough for twelve-year-old orphan Adia. Her aunt and uncle believe she’s an ogbanje, a demon-possessed child that brings misfortune wherever they go, and Adia can’t disagree—especially when she suddenly manifests mysterious powers that she can’t control, causing an earthquake in her village.
So when Adia is offered a kitchen apprenticeship at the faraway Academy of Shamans, she flees with nothing but a pouch of change, her cat Bubbles, and the hope that someone there can figure out what's wrong with her—and fix it. But just as she's settling in, Adia stumbles upon a shocking secret: Unlike her, the kingdom's emperor really is possessed—by a demon more wicked than any other. And he’s on his way to the Academy for a visit.
Joining forces with a snarky goddess, a 500-year-old warrior girl, and an annoying soldier-in-training, Adia must travel through hidden realms to exorcise the emperor and save her kingdom. But to succeed, she first must come to understand the powers inside her….
The fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Isi Hendrix is a children’s book author who has been lucky enough to live and work all over the world, from the Himalayas to the Amazon rainforest, during her past life as an anthropologist. Now she’s based in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where she lives with a rotating roster of foster kittens and a stubborn refusal to accept that she is highly allergic to cats. Her debut novel, Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans, received a starred review from Booklist and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
“This book is incredible! With a dazzling cast of characters wrapped up in a rich, imaginative afrofantasy world, Adia’s thrilling journey will have you eager to turn the next page!” — B.B. Alston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Amari and the Night Brothers
“Deep, piercing, and urgent, Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans marries historic heft with the soaring possibilities of magic to tell a spellbinding story of empowerment and liberation. Author Isi Hendrix makes a passion-packed entrance onto the middle grade stage, and readers of all ages will do well to pick up this first entry in a powerful new fantasy series.” — Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series.
“With heart and humor, Adia Kelbara is a tale of victory for anyone who’s been made to feel ashamed of who they are. Not only does Adia prove that our power can be reclaimed, she takes us on a rollicking fun adventure along the way.” — Graci Kim, New York Times bestselling author of the Gifted Clans trilogy
“By turns immersive, thrilling, funny, and powerful, Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans will grab readers from the first lines to the breathtaking finale. Readers will fall in love with Adia and root for her fierce quest to right the wrongs done against her people.” — Sylvia Liu, award-winning author of Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation
“An immersive, funny, clever fantasy with real emotional depth. I couldn’t put it down!” — A.F. Steadman, New York Times bestselling author of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief
“A truly masterful addition to the afrofantasy genre. This immersive fantasy deserves to be on every shelf.” — Booklist (starred review)
"Adrenaline-fueled action and inventive worldbuilding personify this captivating Afrofantasy, which teems with smartly rendered twists and oodles of hope and heart." — Publishers Weekly
"Igbo cosmology forms the basis of this engaging fantasy, and Hendrix not only uses the surviving mythology but also depicts some of the ways Western hegemonists have contributed to its loss. Adia’s emotional growth remains central to the narrative, which lays out intriguing tidbits that build over the course of the novel to support the satisfying reveal at book’s end." — Horn Book Magazine