Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

Last Gate of the Emperor Cover Art

Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen
Scholastic Press 
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 978-1338665857 

Yared Heywat lives a lonely, meagre life with his Uncle Moti and his bionic lioness Besa as his only companions. But when Yared’s forced to sign into his favorite augmented reality game with his real name, he finds himself at the center of a galaxy-spanning conflict. During the attack on his city, Addis Prime, his uncle goes missing. With the help of Besa and the Ibis, an in-game rival turned ally, Yared must track down Uncle Moti and find his place in the galaxy.

The engaging cover draws readers into Yared’s world. This Afrofuturist adventure blends science fiction, fantasy, mythology, and Ethiopian history into an action-packed romp that will keep readers engaged until the very last word. 

Fans of Daniel José Older’s Flood City, the Black Panther movies and graphic novels (including Nnedi Okorafor’s Shuri run), B.B. Alston’s Amari and the Night Brothers, and Mbalia’s Tristan Strong trilogy will enjoy this action-packed adventure.

–Ness Shortley, Pittsboro, NC

Other Nominated Titles

  • Sunkissed by Kasie West (May 4, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the Title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.