Book Review | BB Alston’s book set in the magical world is a thought-provoking fantasy, but the inevitable comparison to Harry Potter isn’t always to its advantage.

The novel by the American BB Alston represents the Harry Potter model, which is very popular in the fantasy of young people, in which the young protagonist is snatched from a nasty everyday reality to a magical school.


BB Alston: Amari and the Night Brothers. Finnish Ilkka Rekiaro. Big Dipper. 363 s.

Amari is a 12-year-old black girl who lives with her mother in a notorious neighborhood. She has got a good school thanks to the scholarship, but there she is discriminated against as black and poor. There is also sorrow in Amar’s family: Amar’s big brother, Quinton, is missing.

The disappearance of Big Brother is related to his secret job. One day, Amar finds out her brother’s secret in one fell swoop. Prior to his disappearance, Brother has arranged for Amar to attend a summer camp at the Agency for Supernatural Affairs, where new agents will be baked for the agency.

Quinton has been a member of the Supernatural Investigations Department, tasked with chasing the villains of the magical world. Quinton has disappeared while hunting followers of the infamous Brothers of the Night magicians. For Amar, summer camp is a new opportunity – she is being thrown out of school.

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Unfortunately, the agency’s summer camp turns out to be exactly the same nest of discrimination as Amar’s regular school. Young people of old families with supernatural abilities do not accept Amaria among them. The situation gets worse when it turns out that Amari himself is a magician, like the frightened Brothers of the Night.

However, Amari gets two friends or allies. Elsie, the smart human dragon, and Dylan. Dylan’s big sister Maria is missing at the same time as Quinton because they were a couple. Dylan and Amari ally to find their lost big brothers. At the same time, they need to find out about the agency’s training to become junior agents.

American BB Alston the novel represents the Harry Potter model, very popular in the fantasy of young people 10-15 years ago, in which the young protagonist is snatched from a nasty everyday reality to a magical school. Alston has used this still life as a tool in his novel – in much the same way that space travel was sometimes the main story in the story, later only a background to the actual subject.

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“Let me stay here. I testify that I am quite like all the other candidates, ”Amari begs when she is revealed to be a magician. And it has been difficult, if not impossible, for Amar to prove similarity in the everyday world.

Amarin has to work hard for her place, while other young people have got their place because they were born into the right families. This is, of course, a fantasy version of the social inequality intertwined with American races. White Americans are given a head start over others when they are born.

But on the other hand, Amari believes she is ready for the challenge, as it is familiar. “I’ve been practicing all my life,” he says.

Mixed Amari and Harry Potter have exceptional abilities and are discriminated against in a non-magical world. But their position in their magical communities is different. Harry is an accepted hero – even though he has strong enemies in the community. Amaria, on the other hand, is not accepted, but luckily she makes friends. The enemies would instead accept him into their ranks. Heavy loyalty is required of Amar: she should choose the side where she is not properly accepted. At the end, the reader is told what is the hope of the discriminated: mutual help and solidarity.

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A Harry Potter-type world is a viable way to convey Alston’s message, but at the same time it slightly weakens the work. The Agency for Supernatural Affairs and the magical world created by Alston are quite fun and fascinating, but the inevitable comparison with Potter is not always to their advantage.

Amari and the Brothers of the Night however, it is a valuable and thought-provoking fantasy.

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