October 1, 2021

BOOK TOUR: The Gatekeeper's Staff (TJ Young and the Orishas Book 1) by Antoine Bandele

Check out the launch post for the TJ Young and the Orishas Book Tour on the Caffeine Book Tours website: https://caffeinebooktours.wordpress.com/2021/09/27/tj-young-tour/


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SYNOPSISTJ 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 Orishas, where TJ will encounter unlikely allies, tough-as-gatorhide instructors, and the ancient secrets of the orishas.

The Gatekeeper's Staff (TJ Young and the Orishas Book 1) by Antoine Bandele
Release Date: 
Format: eARC
Publisher: Bandele Books (Self-Published)
Audience Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Antoine Bandele puts a modern twist on the culture and mythology of Western Africa with the sure-to-be smash hit TJ Young and the Orishas series. A definite must-read for any young mythology lovers!

In a family of legendary and prodigious diviners, TJ is absolutely normal. No magical ability, no super smarts, and no chance of living up to the legacy that his mother and older sister have left him. Until the day of his sister’s funeral, that is. When TJ ends up showing sparks of being able to wield “ashe”, he ends up being sent to Camp Olosa, a camp for other late bloomer diviners like him. The hope? Make it to the prestigious Ife Academy one day like his sister. Before he can do so, he’ll have to work hard to catch up to the other campers who are competing for the same spots. TJ learns that he’s more than just behind when secrets about diviner society and his sister start popping up, and he has to save the day what to do with his newfound friends. 

I loved the pacing of this book. There was never a moment when I was bored or wondering when the action would pick back up. Despite it being aimed towards a young adult level, I think it would be suitable for older readers as well. Nothing ever felt simplified or dumbed down. TJ is a great main character. Yes, he definitely has his moments where he acts childish or naively but it’s simply a reflection of his age. I wouldn’t really expect TJ to have everything figured out - he’s just a kid. One of my favorite moments in the book is when TJ (accidentally) mistakes Portuguese for Spanish - his embarrassment is super relatable and added a layer of authenticity to the story. 

I would recommend this book to readers at the young adult level or older who enjoy books based on culture and mythology. TJ Young and the Orishas is a PERFECT choice for fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and American Gods. I’m excited to read the next book in the series, The Windweaver’s Storm, and see what’s next for TJ because the author set up some BIG events towards the end of this book and dropped some MAJOR plot twists. Counting down the days until 2022! 

If you enjoy The Gatekeeper’s Staff, I recommend heading to the author’s website and picking up Will of the Mischief Maker and When the Wind Speaks. Both stories are set in the same world as the Gatekeeper’s Staff and will make your overall reading experience better. Thank you to the author Antoine Bandele and Caffeine Book Tours for allowing me to read a review copy of this book - I received an ARC as part of my participation in their tour. I voluntarily read and reviewed the book - all opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. 

CW: Mild Swearing - Mild Violence

  • “Everything in the house half-worked, not so broken that it needed immediate replacing, but enough of an inconvenience to earn complaints from everyone in the family.”

  • “‘Normal parade?’ Dad questioned skeptically. ‘Y’all brought half the Motherland to South Central.”

  • “Right now we’re talking about being those kids who die in the cautionary tale.”

  • “Not every bird is equally endowed or whatever...but some of those birds need to know their lane. I’m not some hawk or some peacock or whatever else you’ll call me. I’m a pigeon, and you know what? That’s fine. I may not be the best, but I make everyone else around me better.” 

  • “We are all differently endowed, Tomori. Be secure in who you are; envy no one."

ABOUT THE AUTHORAntoine Bandele is an Amazon bestselling author in action-adventure fantasy, dark fantasy, sword and sorcery, African American fantasy, and African literature.

He lives in Los Angeles with his girlfriend and cat. You can find him producing videos all over YouTube, including his own channel (which you should totally check out). He is also an audiobook engineer.

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