#bookreview: Realms of the Mist by Jude Itakali

Click on the cover to purchase from Amazon.

My Review

I must say up front that I ventured out of my reading comfort zone when I accepted a review copy of Realms of the Mist from the author and agreed to provide an honest review. I have read very little fantasy except for a handful of short stories, so I am unfamiliar with the conventions of the genre.

Genre conventions are an important consideration to keep in mind when recommending a book to other readers, so I read a detailed article to inform myself. I am happy to say that experienced readers of fantasy will find in Realms of the Mist the world-building, magic systems, protagonist and antagonist with magical powers, action scenes, and overarching theme of good versus evil they have come to expect.

What’s more, the book is written in an engaging and thought-provoking way, as Kamau, a young man on the verge of his coming-of-age ceremony as a Hadiza–guardians of the veil between this world and the spirit world–sets off on a quest to learn who killed his beloved younger sister and to avenge her death.

Adding to his burden, he soon learns he must also fulfill his destiny in a conflict between good and evil he does not fully understand: he must journey through the realms of the mist. The realms are hierarchical, representing various aspects of the human condition. As Kamau moves through each one, overcoming challenges characteristic of that realm, I was reminded of Plato’s allegory of the cave about the nature and acquisition of knowledge.

The world-building was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. Each of the realms is quite different from the others in appearance, purpose, and inhabitants who carry out that purpose. I greatly enjoyed the descriptions of each realm because the imagery was colorful, glowing, and unexpected. I also appreciated a jaw-dropping plot twist that drove a final, fast-paced battle scene where the various characters’ magical powers were on full display.

Realms of the Mist put me in mind of the archetypal hero’s journey seen in Gilgamesh, as well as the journey to spiritual enlightenment in Siddartha. In Kamau’s case, however, the journey has not yet reached its end. Stay tuned for books two and three of the trilogy!

The Author

In an age not different from yours, Jude Itakali was born, sprawling in the suburbs of Kampala, Uganda.

A dramatic introduction, yes. But that is the beauty of writing as Jude puts it. It does life justice; be it subtle or exaggerating, real or imagined, writing does it best.

Jude is a growing author who published his first poetic works (CROSSROADS Winds of Love) in May 2021, to humble but unanimous acclaim. He has quickly followed this up with his first novel trilogy, the first book (Realms of the Mist) published by TSL publications in Spring 2022, with the 2nd book scheduled for Summer 2023.

When not being an athlete on the rugby field, or crunching down numbers for work, he delicately pens the epiphanies from life, its different relationships, hopes and fears, beauty and ugliness. And still he always has room for plunges into fantasy and magic. After all, as Jude likes to say, “reality is all around us, but fantasy is part of us.”

Satisfying My Curiosity

I had a delightful conversation with Jude to satisfy my curiosity about various aspects of the book. Here is a short video with the highlights!

140 thoughts on “#bookreview: Realms of the Mist by Jude Itakali

  1. Liz, thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Jude’s book. I love his writing, world building, and the myths and legends that wrap around these characters. The real BONUS was your interview with Jude. He and I have been friends a couple of years now, and it was so great to finally hear his voice. The interview was superb! ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Terrific review package, as always, Liz! I’m also not much of a fantasy reader (just “The Lord of the Rings” and a few other works), but Jude Itakali’s “Realms of the Mist” sounds masterful and compelling.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. As someone who’s dipped into fantasy series in the last few years, your review and video have intrigued me. At Amazon I read the “Look Inside” preview for Realms of the Mist and was quite impressed. Fantasy writers are not typically known for character development but rather known for world building instead. Mr. Itakali seems to be a welcome exception by doing both. When I read of the siblings being separated and accidentally reunited, it touched my heart for personal reasons. That’s just a small example of how universal appeal works. 🙂 Nice job, Liz!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. First, congratulations to Jude on his new book!
    Thank you Liz for digging into this genre, informing yourself and sharing a rich report on the book. And thank you for going the extra mile by filming video. Really amazing review. Well done Liz!!.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Jude’s posts always make me think. You’ve really opened the book up–I’m not a fantasy reader either, but it sounds very appealing. And thanks for the interview–Jude sounds just as I would have imagined. He’s a very interesting person, full of warmth. (K)

    Liked by 4 people

  6. A brilliant interview, Liz. Your questions were spot on and Jude’s responses were an exploration into the new realms of possibilities. I have downloaded Realms of the Mist on Kindle and look forward to the read!! I hope you have more video interviews – you are very good at showcasing books and authors.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Liz, I believe our reading tastes are similar, and I rarely dip into fantasy either. Bless you for doing that, and for encouraging a young author. Your review is splendid and has the ring of truth. Brava to you and bravo to Jude. Thanks too for posting the video. 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Like you, I rarely read fantasy, though I enjoy Diana Peach’s books. I think it’s essential to be a well-rounded reader, and we can always learn something regardless if it’s not our preferred genre.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I am finding that I am increasingly drawn to reading more fantasy and I love the structure of your review Liz particularly the interview it adds an extra dimension to the review it has definitely sparked my interest although it is out of stock at the moment I am going to check Amazon UK 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  10. What an interesting review and interview, Liz. Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone and actually doing a little research about the fantasy genre. The book sounds allegorical on some level and I think fantasy is a great way to present that kind of tale. I loved listening to his thoughts behind the story and what inspired him, as well as the things he considered as part of story-telling. Great post and congrats to Jude!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. You’re amazing! Not only did you go out of your comfort zone to read and review this fantasy book, but you researched about the genre, and then you gave us this wonderful introduction to Jude. I’m enjoying it all. I usually don’t read fantasy either, but Diana Peach’s books always are wonderful, and I’ve learned that it takes work to read fantasy, because you need to pay attention to this new world (thus the world building that a fantasy author must do). Thanks for sharing your great review, and best of luck to Jude!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I’m not usually one for this genre either, but I know of several fantasy writers that are amazing! This sounds like one of those reads. Thank you for venturing out of your comfort zone, Liz, and introducing us to Jude.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Another interesting review – and great with a zoom-interview! Interesting how Jude says he wants to showcase equality in African culture – and show the global audience something perhaps unexpected. Did you pick up on that when reading the book, Liz?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Therese. I know so little about African culture that I didn’t pick up on the goal of showcasing equality in Aftrican culture when I was reading the book. I wanted to know more, which is why I asked him for the interview.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you so much Liz for giving my book your time and attention, even carrying out the extra research on the genre. I was so nervous to do my first ever video interview, and I thank you for putting me at ease. Thank you, Liz. Deeply appreciated. 🤍🌷😇🙏🏽🍻

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Ah, I’d missed it. I’d travelled without my P.c and phone is all weird with wordpress😌
          Just seen your email too. I love that that I didn’t get to see it before, or have a say in what you chose or wrote.

          Liked by 1 person

  15. This is a wonderful review, Liz. While this genre is not usually one I read, this review of yours has me intrigued. I also like the addition of learning a bit more about the author too. Great piece of info: Jude likes to say, “reality is all around us, but fantasy is part of us.” 🙂 Beautiful ~ wishing you a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow! I’m definitely going to have to read this book now after such a great review. What an inspiration Jude is! I’m currently in the midst of writing my first novel, and it’s been a challenge for sure! Thank you for sharing this review with us 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! I think you’ll enjoy the book. You are so right that writing a novel is challenging! I’m working on my second one now (not counting the ones that didn’t work). What’s your novel-in-progress about?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome! Ooh wow! That’s so exciting 😃 I love the horror genre, so mine is a little creepy. It’s about conjoined twins who get sold into a freak show where they actually live a great life…but then tragedy strikes and one of the twins goes a-wall and makes a deal with a devil-like figure. There’s a lot of twists and turns and murder and gore along with a crazy ending that no one is going to expect.

        What’s your novel-in-progress about? And what was the first novel that worked out in your favor? I’d love to give it a read! 😃

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Your novel-in-progress sounds pretty wild! Mine is based on the closure of the last poor farm in Vermont in 1968, with much poetic license. The novel of mine that first worked out is Telling Sonny. It tells the story of a young, naive girl who lets herself be seduced by a cad of a vaudevillian.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Haha 😂 it’s definitely been a wild roller coaster for me to write so far, but I love my characters and their development throughout the novel (at least for now. I still have four more chapters and an epilogue to write). Wow! That sounds really interesting, and I can’t wait for it to come out so that I can read it! Can I find Telling Sonny on Amazon so that I can get it for my kindle, or is it only hard copy?

            Liked by 2 people

  17. Your review is outstanding, Liz. Thank you for including information about the author. On a side note, somehow I deleted one of your comments, or worse. I can’t seem to find or fix it. Apologies!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I very much enjoyed the interview, thank you for sharing it. I just ordered a copy but it might be awhile before I get to it. Knowing your poetry, Jude, I know your fiction will be wonderful also. Congratulations on your novel!

    Liked by 1 person

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