Imaro : Imaro

  • by Charles Saunders
  • Narrated by Mirron Willis
  • Series: Imaro
  • 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Saunders' novel fuses the narrative style of fantasy fiction with a pre-colonial, alternate Africa. Inspired by and directly addresses the alienation of growing up an African American fan of science fiction and fantasy, which to this day remains a very ethnically homogonous genre. It addresses this both structurally (via its unique setting) and thematically (via its alienated, tribeless hero-protagonist). The tribal tensions and histories presented in this fantasy novel reflect actual African tribal histories and tensions, and provide a unique perspective to current and recent conflicts in Africa, particularly the Rwandan genocide and the ongoing conflict in The Sudan.


What the Critics Say

"Saunders alone has appreciated the potential of Africa as a backdrop for heroic fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Immersive African High Fantasy

Imaro was nothing short of awe-inducing. Mirron Willis as narrator gives this tale a gravitas that helps elevate it to the realm of myth. Coupled with Charles Saunders' rich descriptions, listening to this book left me feeling as though I'd indulged in the written equivalent of decadent cake. It was like hearing a recounting of an ancient legend - the landscape is sweeping and the hero appropriately epic.

I have loved science fiction and fantasy since I was a child. As I grew, I began to lean more heavily towards sci-fi, not only because I am deeply passionate about science and technology, but also because the genre ultimately felt more diverse, which is something intimately important to me. I still enjoy the concept of magic as an adult now, and have been actively seeking out fantasy works that break from the tried-and-true Old World European-inspired settings. Imaro does not disappoint as a high fantasy work set in an African-influenced world.

I quickly became emotionally invested in this story. The protagonist, after whom the book is titled, has a life full of pain as an outsider no matter where he goes, but he has such an unfailing determination, one can't help but hope that *this time* something good will happen, or *this time* he's found his place. There are forces at work, however, that seem hell-bent on preventing Imaro from finding peace, and my heart ached for him many times. The book ends on a cliffhanger to which I eagerly await the resolution. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys grand fantasy and is looking for something different from the genre's usual settings.
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- Adrienne Hood

Not a token, not a sidekick, he's the HERO.

If you could sum up Imaro in three words, what would they be?

Swords + sorcery + soul. This is an entire world purely base on African culture, folklore and mythology. Today, there are other works of fantasy in the "sword and soul" tradition, but this was first (or at the very least, among the first). It is unique and refreshing in how it treats people of color and it's a really great adventure story on top of that. I wish I discovered this when I was in middle school, but I 'm glad I found it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Imaro?

This will be a spoiler: For me the most memorable moment was when Imaro rejects his people, or rather his mother's people. That was the first big thing that was really unexpected but was not the last. It's always a good thing when the progatonist can surprise you.

Have you listened to any of Mirron Willis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. I have not heard any of Willis's other work, but this is a good example sample of his work. He narrated in a pretty standard voice but each of the characters had an "African" accent that gave the entire story a cultural feel. Given that and the fact that that he did this for multiple characters, I'd say it was an impressive performace.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I don't think such a book exist for me. When I really enjoy a reading or listening session, I don't always just want to plow ahead. A lot of time I like to put the book down and reflect on what I've read or heard.

Any additional comments?

Although this is one book, the story is divided into about four or five separate adventures that each have their own beginning, middle and end, but all of them fit together to make Imaro into a true epic. Additionally, there is language that further enhances the imagined culture. I'll have to get a printed version so I can actually see it on the page.

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- Steven L Stringfellow

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-21-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios