A genre-hopping, continent-spanning debut novel that uses the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade as the backdrop for a magical realist adventure involving four characters from far-flung corners of the African diaspora.
Moore’s vivid characters, beguiling language and powerful subject matter engage us thoroughly. The book is unforgettable ... Magic, ghosts, transmogrification and all manner of hauntings are as commonplace as the casual death and dismemberment of Africans ... The novel examines some...colonial tensions and contradictions, but it leaves many others unexamined in its focus on the European colonial menace. Still, even with these fissures, the story is irresistibly evocative and fierce. She Would Be King is a masterfully wrought alternate history of magical black resistance and should not be missed.
Wayétu Moore’s debut novel is more than an imagining of Liberia’s mid-1800s beginnings; it is a magical account of ongoing, individual and collective independence from oppressive forces ... Moore’s insightful, emotional descriptions graft these stories right onto readers’ hearts. A celebration of freedom and justice that compassionately tells the stories of exceptional people, Moore’s debut is about every fight against death and bondage.
Wayétu Moore does something quite astonishing in She Would Be King, a novel that is awash in poetry, ancestry and hints of what might be called magic, but decidedly rooted in the brutality of history. Composed and compelling, brimming with devastating truths and sparkling with ferocity, this is a masterpiece of a debut. Moore's voice is at once vibrantly original and steeped in lineage ... The lives of these three characters intersect in sharply powerful ways ... Dynamic and mesmeric, this story is freshly woven and gorgeously evoked. It's action-packed and fast-paced, but lingers on prescient moments and brims with aching heart. Moore does not miss a beat. She Would Be King was an honor and a joy to read.