Title: Redemption in Indigo
Author: Karen Lord
Published by: Small Beer Press
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Where I got the book: Public Library
I’m a huge lover of fairy tales and own way too many collections of them. I’m also a huge lover of fairy tale retellings. And when you’re super into fairy tales, I find you spend way too much time reading diverse stories and folklore from around the world. Or is that just me? But anyways, I digress. Redemption in Indigo is a contemporary fairy tale that’s inspired by a Senegalese folk tale and the moment I saw it I knew I needed to read it.
Paama has finally had enough of her husband’s foolery and gluttony, having left him to return to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha. Only getting rid of him isn’t that simple as he follows her there and proceeds to disgrace himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn to sate his bottomless appetite. However Paama’s quick wit and intelligence attracts attention from the djombi, the undying ones. They present her with a gift of power, the Chaos stick, that allows her to manipulate the forces of the world. But a wrathful djombi doesn’t believe that a human should be allowed access to those powers and seeks to take it from her.
Redemption in Indigo is delightful. It is very much a clever tale of magic, adventure and the power of the human spirit. The world is beautiful, tricky and wonderful, and the characters are clever, smart and funny. Although I’m not familiar with the original folk tale that inspired this book, Redemption in Indigo is very much a fairy tale retelling in every sense. It reminds me so much of the fairytale retellings I read when I was younger, but is a book that bridges that divide between children’s and adult literature, bring spell craft, wonder and magic. What I loved the most about it is that it reads like an oral story. Although it’s technically an adult book, I can see it being enjoyed by teens or being perfect for a bedtime story read aloud.