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The Voyage of Saints by Marvin Abe: Book Review


Ever wondered what strange form love could take in the heart of a twelve-year old boy? The conviction that must have pushed his decision to search for the fragile girl from his dream?

This is the story of how Michael Ajose found Lami. "How he loved her like an addiction. And how she loved him like an anchor for his soul."

Marvin Abe digs into yet another layer of the unlimited theme of love and brings out a tale that would keep you enthralled long after you have relished it. 

Told with simplicity of style, the Voyage of Saints has the ability to bring out and shuffle your emotions without your consent. That is how powerful the themes and messages in this book are. The events that surround Michael and Lami's love unfold with ease from the pre-military era of Nigeria's existence to somewhere in your head where you can't seem to comprehend the pain and suffering two determined lovers have to endure just to be together. The letters exchanged between the two love birds, for one, are essential elements in this buildup. If you ever wondered how romance and long-distance relationships played out in the military era, then this book is your answer.

The characters are real, unforgettable, and the emotional attachment to the two main characters is not what anyone could avoid. 

The book has a personal touch to it. My heart was particularly plagued with a strange heaviness as I read through the last paragraph. On turning over to the next page and seeing an old picture, my heart dropped and shattered. If you are heavy on love, and/or would like to experience how love eventually conquers all, then Michael and Lami's trajectory in this book will resonate closely.

In spite of all these, less attention was paid to world-building. Nigeria, for one, was not conjured with the kind of intimacy that will ACTUALLY pull non-native readers into it. And considering the author's history of working in the maritime industry, the seafare wasn't painted in very familiar colours. In short, more focus was placed on the plot than the setting.

Readers may also find it difficult to establish a relationship between the girl in Michael's dream, the girl he met at brother Umar's house, and Lami; they seem like three different people. Also, there are a few plot holes in the story. For example, mama's actual role in Michael and Lami's struggles was not spelt out, and towards the end, it felt like the numerous visits to Ikare were unnecessary in this regard.

Although the book is generally fast-paced, the end still felt rushed.

All in all, this thrilling story of love, betrayal and sacrifice will mend your heart, levitate your soul on the wings of hope, and nudge you lovingly in the path of love. For me, it's a 4 out of 5.

Here's a short poem I composed after reading. 



ABOUT THE BOOK

Author: Marvin Abe 

Publisher: Masobe Books

Language: English

Publication date: August 9, 2020

Pages: 366

Get your copy here

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