Amari and the Great Game is the 2nd-book in B.B. Alston’s Middle Grade Fantasy series, Supernatural Investigations.
The 1st-book in the series, Amari and the Night Brothers, completely stole my heart when I read it in 2021. It was one of those spectacular cases where the story meets the hype. It was just as great as I had anticipated.
It was one of the most engaging Middle Grade stories I had read in a while and I was excited for more!
Amari and the Great Game released in August of 2022 and because I had listened to, and enjoyed, the audiobook for the 1st-book, I wanted to continue with that format moving forward with the series.
Y’all, the library loan wait was real. She was long.
It finally came through at a time when I could utilize it; my annual Thanksgiving solo-road trip. Perfection.
The well-narrated audio was a great way to pass the hours, and the miles. I was swept up again into this world and loved the new aspects and feel that Alston delivered.
This story follows Amari after the tumultuous events of the 1st-book. Her life has completely changed and she finds all sorts of new responsibilities and worries on her plate.
We deal a lot in this one with magicians and the sort of negative associations many in the Bureau have of them. We also get treated to the Great Game, a magical competition, that puts all competitors at risk.
I will say, for me, this did have a different feel than the first book. I think mainly because of the nature of the story. Amari has grown up so much since the 1st-book and she’s now a fairly confident and astute young practitioner, who knows how to fight the good fight. It’s bittersweet.
In the 1st-book, her character was more the kind that you want to shelter and protect. She was like a baby bird, who has now grown so much, she’s ready to leave the nest.
Because of that, I don’t think I was able to form the same emotional attachment to the story. Hence the 4-star rating here, versus the glowing 5-stars of that 1st-book.
Also, middle book syndrome being what it is, this did feel like we were building a lot towards something. With this being said, I am really looking forward to the 3rd-book, which I expect to be absolutely epic.
Regardless of my slight, and I do mean very slight, diminished enjoyment, this is still hands-down one of the best Middle Grade Fantasy series on the market currently. If you haven’t started it yet, and love this genre, you need to.
Alston knows how to bring the action and the world-building is so well done. This is sure to have you at the edge of your seat, cheering for the heroes and wishing you were there alongside them.
I can’t wait to see where Amari’s story goes from here. She’s an absolute forced to be reckoned with and I know at the end of the day, she’s going to make me, and her family, proud!