Book Review – The Water Dancer

The Water Dancer

I swear five years ago I would have gagged at the idea of historical fiction with a fantasy twist. But… ever since I started reading so much, and since Book of the Month, I’ve become a changed reader. I’ve branched out, and I’ve learned to love doing so!

Book 45:
The Water Dancer
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Historical Fiction, Fantasy

September 2019

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, The Water Dancer tells the story of the underground amidst America’s days of souther slavery. Hiram Walker, a slave with a mysterious power, loses his mother to the coffin of the deep south. As a family of sorts forms around him, he manages to escape to the north, becomes entangled in the underground, and must choose how to use the power he’s been gifted.

Favorite Quote(s):

“There was no peace in slavery, for every day under the rule of another is a day of war.”

– Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer

Awards (based upon my brief research):
None yet.


My Overall Rating:
4 – Confession – for the first 100 pages, I wondered if this was going to be a book that went right over my head. Coates was using figurative and colloquial language without giving explanations, and I thought for sure I was going to give this book a whopping one star.

And then things started to make sense.

And then things started to get good.

And then I could not put the book down.

When someone can take an outlandish concept and weave it into an already solid story and still keep me entrapped, I think that’s pretty impressive. Hiram’s power is crazy. It could not happen (though it arguably mirrors, and is meant to represent, the power of a greater One), yet it made this story better. Tales of slavery are already so heart-wrenching. I would have rooted for the characters without the fantasy element, but the fantasy element made me need to know what was going to happen.

Pages 101-400 were so redemptive of the first 100. Things came together so well and I began to appreciate the beauty of how it was written once I got over that hump.

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