The Jumbie God’s Revenge (Jumbies #3) by Tracey Baptiste.
Algonquin Young Readers, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2019.
MG fantasy, 264 pages.
Lexile: not leveled
AR Level: 4.9 (worth 8.0 points) .
NOTE: This is the third book in the Jumbies series so this review will include spoilers for the previous volumes.
Corinne has defeated Severine, brokered a peace with Mama D’Leau and Papa Bois, and still has to face some fellow islanders who distrust her because she is part jumbie. And now there is a new problem – dangerous out of season storms are brewing, laced with lightning and an angry face in the clouds.
After the last Jumbies book gave me all the feels, I wasn’t sure of two things – first, how Baptiste could possibly manage to up the ante, and second, if this would be a trilogy or continuing story. But this book answered both questions.
Ever since Corinne left Severine far away and memoryless at the end of book two, we all knew she was coming back, right? The question was more, what would be awful enough to drive them to bring Severine back to the island…
And the somewhat spoilery answer is, the boss of the Jumbies getting upset about everything that’s been happening.
We knew some of this was coming – Mama D’Leau mentioned it in the previous book. One of the most beautiful things about this series has been going back to the beginning and seeing the seeds Baptiste planted even before this was a series. Several details and points were put into place from the very first book, and they now all fall into place as payment comes due. This book also expands the third person limited viewpoint to cover a much wider range of both human and jumbie activities, so we truly understand the epic scope of the hurricane’s impact.
Spoilers in this paragraph. Since this blog often covers topics related to foster care and adoption, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the major subplot where Bouki and Malik find their birth family. Their parents have died, but they have a large extended family. Of course, they’ve also been essentially adopted by Hugo. The boys are able to save the villagers by remembering a passage to their old home, but they also are then torn between their two families. Baptiste handles this sensitively, and though I wanted more, ultimately Corinne is the main character and her story must come first. Interestingly, it’s now confirmed that Malik has selective mutism (or some other similar challenge) since he begins to be able to speak a small amount. End of spoilers.
Family and belonging are once again a major thread, but this time one with answered questions. As always, someone from the village is angry and resentful about the jumbies, but this time, cooler heads preside, and his lashing out is the exception rather than the norm. The devastating force of nature (and jumbies) is shown to full effect, and Corinne’s powers have to ramp up too in order for her to save her loved ones. As she learned last time, great power also comes with great loss, and this is no exception.
Readers will want to be aware that this book contains death, hurricanes, lightning strikes, mudslides, attempted murder, magical travel, adoption-related trauma, suffocation, property destruction, burning, parental loss, painful magic, fire, theft, notorious aunties in everyone’s business, and a wedding delayed by weather.
The way the ending was written does seem to indicate that this will be a self-contained trilogy. Few loose ends remain. Yet I wish Baptiste would return to this world for another book. Perhaps a story about Bouki and Malik and their family on top of the mountain, or even one from a different island. Maybe a prequel that tells the story of Severine and Corinne’s parents? It’s funny to say because this series was initially one I had trepidation about starting, and at points had too much horror for me, but it has been one of my favorite diverse fantasy stories.