Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy) by Marlon James [Book Review]

May 26, 2019


Happy Sunday everyone. I know I know I’ve been MIA around here for a while now but I am back with another  book review. 

Please excuse my review today if its all over, I just finished this book now and I wanted to write my review and post it the moment I finish it. My thoughts are all over just because of the whirlwind James took me through whilst reading this book. But lets get to the review.

Book Details

Title: Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy)

Author: Marlon James

Published: 5 February 2019

Pages: 620

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, High fantasy, Historical fantasy

Imprint: Penguin UK

Publicist: Lauren Mc Diarmid


In the stunning first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child. 

Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a saga of breathtaking adventure that’s also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truths, the limits of power, the excesses of ambition, and our need to understand them all. 

My Thoughts

Okay I don’t know where to start lol. 

This is my first book by Marlon James and I think if I read his book before this I’d have been a bit prepared on what to expect in terms of the writing style. James takes you in this fantasy adventure throughout the book and through his writing style, he grips you. The first 100 or so pages were a bit difficult for me but because of his writing and other aspects of the book, I was eager to continue and see where the story leads. One thing that might have been confusing was the fact that , he does not take time to build the world (which is something different from other fantasy books) everything is built as the story unravels which I found to be intriguing.

With no world building or descriptions at the beginning of the story, the author leaves everything to the readers imagination which is amazing. It feels like you are actually writing the story with James but using your own imagination to come up with other things.

Okay lets talk about characters, there are so many characters in this book and one thing that was a challenge for me at the beginning of the book was remembering all these characters. However, I enjoyed following these characters, they are so different from each other and it is always a problem attaching to certain characters in a fantasy book that is packed with a lot of violence because that attachment could be broken at any point when the author decides to kill that character. New characters introduced throughout the book, blends in seamlessly, which was a plus for me.  

The narrative of the story is just amazing and the humor as well. This book follows African history and mythology which excited me when I started reading this book. I was so happy when I identified with a lot of aspects that I’ve heard about in my childhood and are still used in South Africa. We don’t see a lot of epic fantasy books set in the African context.

Usually, the first book in a trilogy is there for world building and most of the time the second book picks up where book one left and continue with the story. Yet, for this trilogy its not the case at all, the whole story is told in book one and I am just excited to see which direction the second book will take.

If you are on a lookout for a fantasy book that will take you places you’ve never imagined, then I recommend you pick this up. If you get past the first part of the book then know that you’ll enjoy it.



Those were my thoughts, I am sorry if I’m all over the place but I just finished this book and I wanted to share my thoughts today.

Thank you Penguin Random House SA for sending me this copy.

Until next time, lets keep reading.

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2 responses to “Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy) by Marlon James [Book Review]”

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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