review: Ship of Souls

"Different readers will take away different messages, all of them powerful—quite an accomplishment for so few pages" Booklist

review: Ship of Souls

author: Zetta Elliott

date: Amazon Publishing; 28 February

main character: Dmitri “D”

D never really had a lot of friends so the loss of his mother is particularly devastating to him. As the only child of a single mother, there’s little else for him other than the foster care system. D doesn’t know much about the workings of the system, but he knows that nothing in his life will be secure anymore. Elliott does a masterful job of writing this story on so many levels! Where we see how much D has: his quick placement in a caring home, a good school with teachers who care about him and two true friends; we also feel his immense insecurity and loneliness. D had so little and lost so much that he couldn’t realize his own blessings. There was something in him, though, something from his mother that never allowed him to give up on himself or others. His pain makes him doubtful in his relationships but his upbringing demands him to be thoughtful and giving.

It’s this depth of character that brought Nuru, the bird creature to him so that D could work with her to save the lost souls in the netherworld.

It’s D’s intelligence in math that brings him his new friend, Hakeem, ‘Keem’, the basketball star who needs help in math. While working together, the meet Nyla, an elusive and carefree soul in whom Keem has a bit of an interest. Keem and Nyla prove to be true friends to D as they fight save D from the creatures below.

Some authors are writers while others are storytellers. I think this short novel attests to Elliott’s skills as both. The events flow flawlessly, without contradictions or miscues. Historic elements are woven into the story from the American Revolution to 9/11 which speak to the presence of so many ethnic groups in the creation of America and the historic misinterpretation of their contribution. Water, trees and birds are magical elements of nature that serve as portals between the physical world and other dimensions. And then there’s Nyla and Keem, two supporting characters who are developed so well that we cannot help but wonder what more will happen to them, alone and/or together.

D couldn’t do it alone and America couldn’t be American without the Germans, Africans and other groups of people who have blended—who have fused—their lives, rhythms, beliefs, foods, fashions and stories to make us who we are. I can’t help but to pair, or fuse, this book with this German Music Chart. The day I accessed the chart, it was filled with songs from the US, UK, Germany and Sweden. Even within each song we can find elements of fusion with Madonna, the American living in England; Rea Garvey an Irish singer who plays guitar for the German group Reamonn. “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”/Ah When I Get My Hands On You is sung in Portuguese by Brazilian singer Michel Teló.

 

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“Ai Se Eu Te Pego” Michel Teló

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“She Doesn’t Mind” Sean Paul

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“Somebody That I Used To Know” Gotye Feat. Kimbra

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“Heart Skips A Beat” Olly Murs Feat. Rizzle Kicks

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“Himmel Auf” Silbermond

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“Jar Of Hearts” Christina Perri

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“Video Games” Lana Del Rey

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“Give Me All Your Luvin'” Madonna Feat. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.

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“Levels” Avicii

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“Anti Hero” Marlon Roudette

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“Troublemaker” Taio Cruz

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“Don’t Gimme That” The BossHoss

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“Hangover” Taio Cruz Feat. Flo Rida

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“Bück Dich Hoch” Deichkind

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“Ma Cherie” DJ Antoine Feat. The Beat Shaker

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“Wildes Ding” Culcha Candela

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“Young, Wild & Free (Feat. Wiz Khalifa &, Bruno Mars)” Snoop Dogg

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“Good Feeling” Flo Rida

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“Someone Like You” Adele

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“Colour Me In” Rea Garvey

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Ask readers what songs from what countries, remind them of characters, emotions and situations in the book.

I must disclose that I reviewed a copy of the book that I received from Zetta Elliott who is also a friend. It’s hard reading a book by a friend. You know so much about the story while it is developing, you know how important the book is to the author and you want it to be good. Zetta didn’t let me down with Ship of Souls, she doesn’t let any of us down with this one. Ship of Souls recently received a starred review from Booklist.

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2 thoughts on “review: Ship of Souls

  1. Pingback: christening the ship « Fledgling

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