December 11, 2023

REVIEW Serwa Boateng's Guide to Witchcraft and Mayhem by Roseanne A. Brown

Serwa Boateng's Guide to Witchcraft and Mayhem by Roseanne A. Brown
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: September 12, 2023
Format: Audiobook (Personal Library,
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Witchcraft and Mayhem is the second book in Roseanne A. Brown’s middle grade Ghanaian mythology series, and it is an entertaining and magical adventure that maintains the energy of the first book and sets things up well for the next book in the series. 

Without spoiling the events of the story, Serwa’s family suffered from the reveal of a major secret at the end of the book. Instead of spending time with her parents, Serwa is now living with her aunt Effie and learning to embrace the other side of her heritage. It’s an interesting conundrum, as Serwa has been forced to re-evaluate everything her parents have told her over the years. She’s becoming her own person, as she’s in a place where she has very limited people to depend on to help her. This also raises the stakes of the story - her maternal grandmother is the big bad of the series, the leader of the obayifo (or black magic using witches) Nana Bekoe and she has to decide whether to help free her or leave her in the prison she’s been stuck in for almost two decades.  

I loved getting to learn more about Ghanaian culture, as I can’t think of another series that features it. The two headed crocodile, or “Funtunfunefu-Denkyemfunefu” was a cool creature to be heavily featured in the book (please don’t ask me to say that though lol). I also liked getting to learn about other magical beings like the mmoatia and bonsam. For those who are not familiar with the culture or the language, I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook as the narrator Soneela Nankani does a great job with all of the pronunciations. One heavier theme that Roseanne A Brown touched upon within the book was the witch prisoner camps that have been an issue throughout history (and are still an issue in present day Ghana). I didn’t even know that was a thing, post Salem witch trial era. It inspired my own research, and I appreciate that the author provided some resources to further your own education on the topic. 

Overall, this was an excellent book. The story ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m excited to get to see the next chapter(s) of Serwa’s story and see what ultimately happens with her family’s newest challenges. It’s unclear how many books will be in the series, but as of right now I’m guessing there will be at least 3 (which matches up with many of the other books under the Rick Riordan presents imprint). 

About Roseanne A. Brown:

Roseanne “Rosie” A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild jungles of central Maryland as a child. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s JimĂ©nez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her debut novel A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was an instant New York Times Bestseller, an Indie Bestseller, and received six starred reviews. She has worked with Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney among other publishers.

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