Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite 

The book Mysterious Depths, An African Adventure, opens with two sisters Mamuke and the pregnant Sisim, being left all alone, devoid of any family. Author Mimizz Efemena Agwarota then builds up her story’s plot slowly, when Mamuke goes on an errand to get food that her pregnant sister craves. Little does she know that this act will set her on an arduous journey to her past. And how she faces her challenges will determine her family’s future. Born in mysterious circumstances, Mamuke has no memory of her parents. Lured into the arms of a prince, her courage and loyalty will be tested, as she is introduced into the mysterious African world of spirits, kings, evil spirits, and medicine men. Will Mamuke rise to these challenges, even if it becomes a matter of life and death?


Mimizz Efemena Agwarota’s story, Mysterious Depths, is set in the mystical world of ancient Africa. She writes in beautiful prose and with vivid clarity so that it is easy to visualize her story. From the beginning, it is difficult not to feel sympathy for Mamuke and Sisim, the beautiful young sisters who seem to be very vulnerable to their precarious situation in life. This is a story of love, deception, and intrigue. It may sound common enough but then it is based on the culturally fertile world of ancient Africa, and this makes the story simply fascinating. Obviously, the author knows her subject very well. This is evident in the ease with which she is able to weave her story. Her characters are all well rounded so that in spite of the fact that some of the twists and turns are steeped in ancient African culture, any reader can still empathize with them. This book is absolutely an interesting read!

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Mysterious Depths - An African Adventure by Mimizz Efemena Agwarota is a story set against an African backdrop. Mamuke finds herself discovering other things while taking care of her pregnant sister. She encounters a world of adventure and suspense. Her time with her sister takes her on a path of self-discovery. The book speaks about the African culture that existed in a bygone era. The book also speaks abut love. The African backdrop gives the story an element of mystery which makes the story even more exciting to readers. We get to know a lot about African culture, traditions, and the customs that they believed in and followed.

An element of mystery runs throughout the story. Mamuke's meeting with Uwami is again another beautiful setting where the beauty of Africa is captured. The rich culture, traditions, and the religious rites followed by the African people are incorporated into the story, adding greater interest. Mamuke's journey is a thrilling adventure which takes you through the African tribes, culture, customs, and traditions and reveals a deeper insight into those. The author has woven the sub-plots into the main story masterfully. The other characters in the story are also powerfully portrayed to lend good support to the main characters and plot.

The author's writing is vivid and the descriptions are so detailed that you can actually see the scenes unfolding in front of your eyes. The story is fast paced and there is never a dull moment till you put the book down.

A well written story that takes you into the mysterious world of the African tribes. The setting and the narration is handled with aplomb.

Rating: 5.0 Stars

Reviewed by Tom Jalio for Barnes & Noble

Mysterious Depths is a walk back in time to an era when Africa was ruled by men whose power was as great as the ability of the priests who did their bidding with the gods. A time when curses could make or break one’s destiny, fates were decided by long and lethal rituals, and life was littered with bad omens. It’s against this backdrop that Mamuke ventures to the market around Irigi village one day but gets lost in the forest. She stumbles on a ceremony she was not supposed to see, setting off a series of events that open the doors of her family’s history, bring the wrath of the spirit world on herself, and lead to wars that put the future of everything and everyone she holds dear at stake. The tension that runs throughout the text makes it a page-turner, and each chapter ends with a hook that leaves you begging for more. 

I was privileged to read this story before its publication and can vouch for the fact that it is a veritable African epic, up there with the likes of Shaka Zulu. It has the pleasant surprise of a strong female character in the lead and is full of adventure. Among its many subplots is one of romance, and if there’s anything that was left to be desired, it is more of this underlying passion. But that is more than adequately covered for by the buildup to the moment of truth between Mamuke and the prince she crosses paths with in her journey into the unknown.


Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

The rituals of ancient Africa come rushing into the life of Mamuke as she is suddenly thrust into an adventure of mystery, one of which is the disappearance of her brother-in-law, Otobo, and intrigue which came roaring into her life like the charge of a lion and totally unexpectedly. In Mysterious Depths by Mimizz Efemena Agwarota, Mamuke starts out on a simple errand to get some salted fish and native chalk to satisfy the cravings of her pregnant sister. Along the way, she gets pulled off track and shoved into a cavernous world where ancient secrets and human sacrifices are being used to hide something very sinister. To find her way out of the dark world, she must solve the mysteries which reach far beyond her understanding and walk the tightrope between love and power as ancient Africa rises up to test her fortitude and her loyalties. The cost of failure is beyond what she is willing to pay; her life.

The deep mysterious intrigue of “Mysterious Depths" by Mimizz Efemena Agwarota is a thrilling journey of suspense that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The reader will feel like they are actually looking into the captivating eyes of Prince Uwami as they embark on this path along with Mamuke. With each piece of the puzzle that Mamuke puts in place, the mystery deepens and the danger increases. Suspenseful, adventurous and captivating, Mysterious Depths takes you on a mystical journey that will make you understand why they call Africa the Dark Continent.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Reviewed by IndieHeart for Amazon Customer Reviews

This is the story of young Mamuke and the unexpected trials she and her family must endure when she accidentaly offends the gods. The rituals and mythologies involved in the telling of the tale were interesting and had the ring of authenticity. Descriptions through the book helped me to feel like I was right there viewing the scenes as they happened. You really get a good sense of the richness of the traditions and culture the book draws upon.

The book will not be for everyone -- the prose is older in style than the modern novel -- think Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories rather than Disney's Jungle Book stories. In a sense, this is storytelling rather than novel writing. If you enjoy the descriptive style of older mythical storytelling like Kipling or the Arabian Nights tales, this will be right up your alley.

I give this novel 3.5 stars. I enjoyed it, but I felt that the book went on beyond the natural conclusion of the story (at the point where the family curse theme and the romantic theme of the story had both been wrapped up). Although some exciting and interesting writing eventually occurs after this point, I felt like it probably should have been a second book because it wasn't really the same story. At that point, I felt like I was plodding along for quite a while, which decreased my enjoyment of the book overall.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by George for Amazon Customer Reviews

This book was really fascinating for the African myths and the story was also really good. Has a little bit of everything including romance, war, ancient curses, corrupt tribal chiefs, and angry gods.

It gets slow in places but then it picks up again pretty quickly. I got this book free in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by MBarb for Amazon Customer Reviews

I enjoyed reading this adventure. The author was descriptive in her writing and creative with her plot line. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by A Cup Of Coffee And A Fairytale for GoodReads

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

There are times when you miss reading grandmother's stories and how they used to teach you when you were a kid. Sadly novels these days are missing that. I was very happy to come across this book since it brought me back to the world of stories. I loved the concept of the book. It has everything in it. The mythological aspect, the corrupt officials and some interesting twists and turns. I wanted to finish the book as soon as possible and when I finished I wanted to read my favourite parts again. I am buying a kindle copy for myself so I can highlight and keep the book in my kindle forever. 

Looking forward to reading more books by the author. Wish her all the very best!!

Secrecy, curses and vengeance challenge family love and devotion in this well-plotted drama involving an innocent young African woman caught up in tribal warfare that threatens her life and the lives of her loved ones.

The novel, set in an indeterminate time, opens with young Mamuke terrified by a seductive voice in the darkness of her room. The story then backtracks four days to the same young woman as she sets out to the Great River seeking salted fish and native chalk to ease the cravings of her pregnant sister, Sisim.

Her mission is caught short when a handsome prince tells her "you belong to me" and she is swiftly locked away in a strange room. Attempting escape, she is shocked to witness a horrifying ritual killing involving her brother-in-law, who had gone missing "three moons ago." From there, the book's actions quicken as tribal leaders scheme and frightening ceremonies and deadly battles ensue.

Scenes are vividly drawn in this complex tale, detailing everything from protective chants and healing medicinal potions to war strategies involving hot palm oil, poisoned arrows and angry bees. Readers are given insight into many tribal rituals, cultural myths and fears that threaten the lives of those who are deemed atypical or who anger the gods in some way.

The author's writing is straight-forward with minimal flourishes (and includes her helpful glossary of terms) and the characters are aptly described, externally as well as in their minds and hearts. However, the protagonists are dimensionally thin, making it difficult for readers to form an emotional attachment to them.

Nonetheless, Agwarota's novel is a page-turner, original in concept and filled with compelling details. It likely will be a draw for anyone interested in the cultural struggles of ancient African times powered by the gods, guardian spirits, love and evil.

Also available in paperback.

Author’s Current Residence
London, England

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Lorraine Sears for GoodReads

In the interests of openness, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As the star rating will tell you, I liked this story. It was filled with adventure and personal discovery, and moved at a rapid pace, constantly keeping me engaged with the plot. The main character Mamuke is put through trials and labours at the hands of humans and gods alike, and is a strong and determined character that any reader will want to root for.

At times the story is guilty of over-indulging in the amount of words, often taking pages to describe a scene, where a paragraph would have sufficed. However it's easy to see that this is because the author had such a passion to tell the story and clearly communicate the the scenes, rituals, ways and even less-important characters of the world she had created. But after a time this can become tedious and I did fight the urge to skim pages on more than one occasion, as the story was delayed by long-winded explanations.

The journey this story takes you on is a gripping one, and demonstrates the belief that one person's actions can have serious consequences for many, over long periods of time. It's definitely worth a read, and should appeal to a broad range of readers, including: adventure, fantasy and paranormal.

Rating: 3.0 stars

Reviewed by Jeannie Zelos for Amazon Customer Reviews

This is way off my usual comfort zone but its good to stretch reading into something different and this reminded me of the books I loved as a child, about the mysteries of life in other countries, the spiritual sides, and the cultural traditions.

Though I enjoyed this novel and it started well, leaving me wanting to know what was going to happen next, I did feel it became very long and drawn out as it went on. The beginning impetus where the story was moving at a good pace was lost, and I felt I wasn't enjoying the tale so much as I had been. I was interested in the traditions, in times past we all relied much more on spirit portents and signs from nature. I think maybe its that need to have something or someone with a higher power to take the praise or blame when necessary. I don't know – just seems that way to me. I'm thinking of how the Christians in the bible made and worshipped the Golden Calf, when their leader Moses was gone for a while. They had a need to believe in something other than just themselves.

Of course as this tale goes on we see its not just traditions being played out, but human manipulation to get revenge and the results greedy people wanted. That happens, and poor Mamuke – her journey was made so much harder because of it. Still, she stuck with it, stuck with the advice of her teachers and held steadfast in her trials despite her fear, wavering at times but not giving in. Sometimes the results seemed cruel and unfair, and the judgements and punishments harsh, but then other cultures have different ways of looking at the world and we need to put ourselves in their shoes ( before passing judgement walk a moon in a man's shoes as the Native Indians say )

An unusual and enjoyable novel, but a one off read for me.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Vandy V for Barnes & Noble Customer Reviews

The story has a lot of action and good characters. It is easy to follow and the author took her time explaining details and backgrounds. The details are exceptional and this is an interesting. A great book and if you like fantasy, you will love this.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Taryn Sloane for Amazon Customer Reviews

An African tale about tradition, love, destiny and war. A gripping book that I found hard to put down. Although this is outside my normal reading genre, I felt this book was very easy to read and follow.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Trevor Coote for GoodReads

Young Mamuke is sent by her beloved sister Sisim to search for her missing husband and the father of her unborn child, Otobo. What follows is a curious, Alice-like adventure into a nether world of spirits, oracles, vengeful gods and sacrificial rites. However, danger lurks around every corner and Mamuke’s adventures become ever more bizarre and violent, her trials more demanding and her foes more numerous and sadistic, culminating in battle scenes and confrontations that are positively Homeric. 

Mysterious Depths is written with extreme clarity and an unusual amount of care as there are very few errors. It is in turns exciting, touching and gory and is obviously a world in which the author feels comfortable, and she is a fine writer. So what are its faults? Few really, once it is accepted that it is not a traditional novel but rather a folkloric tale. Yes, the characters are delineated into saintly good and irredeemably bad but that works in this kind of quasi-fantasy where ancient traditions and superstitions are interwoven with the spirit world. There is one moment of Hollywood (a bugbear of mine) where one of the heroines (no spoiler here) encounters three armed adversaries who, for reasons best known to them, instead of simply overpowering her, come at her one at a time enabling her to dispatch all three one after the other. But this minor quibble should not deter anyone from reading this enjoyable and highly imaginative African fable. 

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by OlaWriter for Barnes & Noble Customer Reviews

A beautifully crafted story by a talented writer which mirrors the myths, cultures and intrigues that were prevalent in many parts of pre-colonial Africa. The author’s ability to craft such a complex plot and resolve the subplots adequately is quite impressive.

Also her description was very good. In fact, too good sometimes because some of the details given about some minor characters are not really necessary and sometimes you feel that there is a little bit of repetition and over-description with some characters.

Mysterious Depths follows in the tradition of classic African literature which the likes of Chinua Achebe, Ng¿g¿ wa Thiong'o, Elechi Amadi, Francis Bebey and others have pioneered. It is a very good read for those interested in African literature and I really enjoyed the novel.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Eguolo Ozomaro for Amazon Customer Reviews

I have always have been curious about African culture and tales, this book is just superb! It is indeed an "An African Adventure". It gives you this deep insight of what most most books have been trying to do. You can tell the writer has done more than research on African tales. The writer has infact experienced it. This is a must read. A+

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Majiro for Amazon Customer Reviews

Well written novel, I highly recommend this book. Couldn't put it down. The book paints a clear picture of the African culture. The author does an amazing job by putting the reader in the midst of it all. Have a lot to learn and understand about the culture within the text to make it an even better read.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Jude for Amazon Customer Reviews

Absolute page-turner! Suspense, Love.....Writer knows her stuff. She draws you into each character and you feel like you are a part of the book. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Tibby Dozier Steedly for Amazon Customer Reviews

When I began reading about the journey of young Mamuke, a young African woman traveling to the marketplace for her pregnant sister, I had no idea I would become so caught up in the mystical adventures of a true hero. I had gotten lazy in my reading habits, re-reading several old series, so when given this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, I put aside my easy books and ventured into a world I never knew existed.

Mimizz Efemena Agwarota has written an amazing book that explores an African spirituality that is compelling and fascinating. I loved the characters and Agwarota's descriptions of the African landscape, ancient caves and deeply sacred rituals were excellent. This book truly explores the different levels of a person's soul and how easily evil can manipulate human beings - leaving them in a limbo state between life on earth and the spirit world. However, I was mostly captivated by Mamuke and her brave, trusting and enduring spirit through the many trials of her body and her soul.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Denis Vukosav for Amazon Customer Reviews

'Mysterious Depths' written by Mimizz Efemena Agwarota is debut novel of this British author with African roots that brings the exciting story of sister love in Africa, about the temptations in the way which one will go to help another.

Agwarota wrote a novel that with its style more resembles to some folk tale such as '1001 Arabian nights' than some modern novel, therefore reader will feel more like hearing a story, then reading a novel.

Still, her story about young girl Mamuke who is sent by her beloved sister Sisim to find her missing husband and the father of her child that soon will be born. Mamuke awaits an adventure that is both mystical and strange, passing through the world of sacrificial rites, oracles and goods that seeks vengeance.

The author does not hesitate to present reader many violent scenes while telling a story about the journey that is becoming increasingly difficult and uncertain, while there are many opponents that Mamuke needs to vanquish in order to reach the goal she is seeking...

Mimizz Efemena Agwarota managed to create a good story with complex plot that convincingly speaks about African culture and myths. Therefore her novel can be recommended to those readers interested to learn about the unknown things and certainly deserves attention.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Reviewed by Beverly Diehl for Amazon Customer Review

There are many things to like about this debut work by a promising new author. There are interesting characters, lots of tension and suspense, a magickal element, and a happily ever after.

I received a free e-copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I did have some problems with the book. Firstly, I didn't know when/where I was. I got from the subtitle "An African Adventure" that it was set in Africa, but Africa's a big place. Time: from the beginning, when rain is drumming on the zinc rooftop (which sounds like something manufactured, in one piece), I thought it was post-colonial, along with the description of the people growing, among other things, maize, and in other places, references to ears of corn, which I believe (though I could be mistaken) was introduced to Africa in the 16th century by the Portuguese. However, the rest of the story and the active involvement of the gods in religious rituals suggests a pre-colonial time frame. It would be helpful for the reader if the author started the first chapter with some kind of place & time-clue, as I've seen other authors do: "Nigeria, Pre-Colonial Era." (And why are African people wearing a tattoo of a boa constrictor, a snake native to Central and South America?)

It was difficult to tell who/what the story was supposed to be primarily about: sisters Mamuke and Sisim? a romance between Mamuke and Uwami? Wizardly/spiritual struggle between "native doctors" Zakuna and Agogo? (And why are they called "native doctors" here - is there another kind?) It felt like the story began as one thing and morphed into another and morphed into another and another, which might be perfect for some readers, more like an oral storytelling, but may be difficult for other readers to follow. It also seemed like one ritual was piled on top of another ritual, which made it hard to follow which one(s) were important.

Cliches... ugh! Too many, and they gave a jarring modern interruption to the reading experience. Rather than Sinoufu "knowing the forest like the back of her hand," this is where a more experienced author might substitute something like: "knew the forest like the [insert native critter] knew how to find [insert food source].

Still, I overall enjoyed the story, liked the characters (except the bad guys, boo-hiss!), and appreciated the glossary of terms included, the consistency with the spelling of names, spacing, punctuation, etc. which is often lacking even with novels from a "big" publisher. I hope this author continues writing and I look forward to more of her work.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Debbie Leone for Amazon Customer Reviews

This was an interesting book and held my attention fairly well. At times the story was a bit confusing to follow but overall I do recommend.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Shelby Schull for Amazon Customer Reviews

I liked this story. It held my interest which is utmost in my opinion if I'm going to continue reading.

It had intrigue, mystery, and a little supernatural feel to it. The cover is appealing which shows it written
by an author who has lived in Africa.

If you are looking for a book that shows as well as tells what is going on, making you become intertwined with the
main character and you want the best for her. Only, she gets in all kinds of trouble by stumbling into something that
wasn't for her to see.

I liked the main character, Mumuke. She seemed compassionate, determined and after a while, very brave when put
through a test of wills. She had to grow up when facing death in the face, and had to fight for herself, her sister, and her mother.

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Otis G. Sanders for Amazon Customer Reviews

Since developing an interest in books written by African authors after my visit to West Africa years ago, this book: “Mysterious Depths” has given me yet another view of the varying styles of writing. I found this book filled with African rituals, curses, evil spirits and the battle over good and evil to be a page turner.


I liked the fact it was written in what seems to be more of a storytelling style as opposed to novel form; that way the background story of the characters were explained as they appeared and the story unfolds.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Rating: 4.0 stars

Reviewed by Hilary V. Minor for Amazon Customer Reviews

In a male-dominated world, riddled with superstition and illogic, Mamuke strives to make sense of the impossible situation into which she finds herself pitchforked . . .

The story begins with Mamuke, the heroine, in the grips of a nightmare. It is a nightmare that will soon become reality! Mamuke has been brought up by her older sister, Sisim, their parents having passed away. Sisim is pregnant and craving a particular “native chalk” and salted fish to help cure the ‘metallic mouth’ symptoms of pregnancy and Mamuke, out of love for her beloved sister, agrees to make the more than half a day’s journey towards the Great River in search of the ancient caves where the native chalk is found. She stops, en route, for a rest and something to eat and falls asleep. It is when she wakes up with a start, in a panic because she is now late to meet the fish traders, that her journey begins the transition into the surreal; from now on, no one she meets seems quite normal and soon she is travelling in darkness, surrounded by faceless shadows that surround her and then part a way for her in a northward direction. “Mamuke fled. As she ran for dear life, she could feel the ground descending underneath her. She felt as though she was running into the core of the earth, and as the blackened, moonless sky receded, she stumbled and lost her footing. The world flowed like a whirlwind as she descended into an abyss”.

Part mystery story, part adventure, part romance, this story is a part of the African landscape that will not be familiar to many readers. It is written very much in the style of a narrative and I can imagine this as part of an oral storytelling tradition. Best-drawn of all the characters is the heroine, Mamuke: “With smooth flawless skin the colour of honey . . . Tall and slender, her pretty, oval face was graced with large almond eyes, a small but perfectly-shaped, pert nose and full lips which smiled wistfully. She was the embodiment of pure unadulterated beauty.” The other actors are somewhat sketchily drawn and remind me very much of the performers in Indian re-enactments of the Ramayana or actors in Kabuki theatre – dramatic but heavily stylised. Like these other genres of theatre, “Mysterious Depths” is a complicated and convoluted tale, sprinkled with local superstitions and witchcraft, but, fear not, dear prospective reader, all is well that ends well and there’s nothing I enjoy more than a vivid tale with an ending that allows you to feel complete and satisfied, as this one does. Read and enjoy!

 

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Sam G. for Amazon Customer Reviews

Mysterious Depths is a dramatic and epic African adventure about a perilous journey taken by the determined Mamuke on behalf of her pregnant sister. Her adventure is reminiscent of an ancient fable - detailed, exotic and full of culture.

The African terms and stylistic intention used in the novel really helped give it life and allowed me as the reader to feel absorbed in the rich and intricate world. The story includes multiple layers of mystery, magic, love, spirituality, and power, and it's nuanced and intensely felt.

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Irish Times for Amazon Customer Reviews

This was a fascinating story that was unlike anything that I have ever read. It is out my normal genre that I read but I am glad I gave it a try. The story starts out with Mamuke deep in a nightmare that sets the tone for the story that follows.

Once Mamuke sets out on the simple task of obtaining some salt to ease her sister's pregnancy things take a decidedly darker turn. After stopping for a rest, she awakens to find that all is not as it is supposed to be. The writer does a really good job building up the tension as the reader is given small tantalizing clues that something is wrong. This is where the story telling really shines. As a reader I knew something was building up and it kept me turning the page to find out what was going to happen. I was fully immersed in the author's world, a hallmark of good storytelling in my opinion.

I thought that the writer did an excellent job of describing the setting and transporting the reader into mamuke's world. The story is so vividly described and in such a unique setting that is impossible to not get caught up in Mamuke's story. Altogether a wonderful read that I wish I had more of.

 

Rating: 5.0 stars

Reviewed by Paige Turner for Amazon Customer Reviews

Oh what a wonderful and enchanting story. I fell into its grasp as soon as I started reading it. It is filled with magic and extraordinary events that left me breathless. The sense of intrigue, mystery, revenge, betrayal and war are so heightened and real. The display of compassion and loyalty is intense. The strong well defined characters are perfectly matched for this story line. The struggle faced by so many of them, as they face the fates of the gods is tremendous.

Love and romance, even ones that took place long ago are rekindled. It is set in Africa and the detailing is unsurpassed and sent me right into the wilds of the jungles and the land of Africa. I was so inspired by the love and bonds of these people for each other and their families. The battle between good and evil reach the climax and I was so captivated I could not stop reading until it ended and I was sad it was over. It is beautifully written and a flow easily from page to page.This is one of the best tales I have read and it is a joy to read. There is so much happening and many twists and turns that lead to a wondrous adventure. I love the mind and imagination of this writer, Mimizz Efemena Agwarota. She is so gifted and her love of writing is so clear. I highly recommend this book. It is a great story.