Milton Davis’s Amber and the Hidden City is an absolutely delightful contemporary fantasy adventure. It’s the story of Amber Robinson, a teenager from Atlanta who crosses the Atlantic with her grandmother because of their supernatural connection to the ancient, hidden city of Marai, located in Mali. Their aim is to use their ancestral divination power to choose Marai’s next ruler, while fighting against the usurper who wants to dominate the city for himself and the shape-shifting villainess he sends to stop them.
I write Africentric fantasy fiction, and Amber and the Hidden City inspires in me the very emotions and intellectual curiosity I hope to inspire in my own readers. Davis combines relatable contemporary characters and dialogue with fascinating denizens and magic systems from an ancient world. What a delight to be learning about classical and medieval West African civilisations inside the world of a thrilling fantasy novel.
Final note: I love finding novels I can share with my daughters. I read the entire book to my six-year-old, who loved every bit of Amber and the Hidden City. The hero is a girl, and her mentor (her grandmother) is a woman; one of the two main villains is a woman, and various other entertaining characters are girls and women. Add it all together, and Amber and the Hidden City belongs on countless “must read” lists.