TA LĘ

Book 1: Knowledge

Fiction - Fantasy - General
326 Pages
Reviewed on 07/28/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

TA LĘ: Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D. introduces Kobenan who, at a very young age, lands an important job in the enigmatic West African government of Côte d'Esperance. He works for the S-cell, a shadowy unit of the government that deals with mystical occurrences and sorcery. Investigating a high-profile murder case with agent Biafle, Kobenan finds himself thrust into the whirlwind of a world he never knew existed, a mystical world co-existing with the physical. With the political stakes raised and the path getting more complex with every step they take, he must come to grips quickly with the mystical world unfolding before him. Can he solve this murder before it is too late?

TA LĘ: Book 1: Knowledge introduces an Africa that readers will find fascinating, and while this is a fictional work, it is very relevant with a stunningly imagined setting in typical traditional Africa with secret societies, strange and mystical practices, rituals, and involvement in sorcery. The author presents a young protagonist who occupies an enviable position in the secret S-cell; he is intelligent and brave, but with limited knowledge of the world he inhabits. When thrown into a murder case, he has to do more than analyze files. He must grow quickly and learn to accept the startling truths that stare him in the face. Yessoh G.D.’s tale is twisty, written in a unique and captivating voice. The world-building is impeccably accomplished, a world that is steeped in mystery and the author does an impeccable job of exploring the thin line between the rational and the troublingly mystical, deftly illustrating the duality in African existentialism while developing strong plot points and characters that are solid and elaborately written.

Jamie Michele

What happens when one is forced into the spirit world and immersed completely into that which has only been whispered of in oral tradition and mystical practice? Author Yessoh G.D. paints a first-hand account from two distinctive points of view in the thriller TA LĘ; Book 1: Knowledge. Kobenan works in the sphere of a West African President who places the inexperienced young man with a talent for analytics into the role of investigator after the unexpected death of a minister. Kobenan's connection between human and supernatural runs deep and so too does the terrifying reality of what this genuinely means. Joel, a teenager close in age to Kobenan, is a clairvoyant who is desperate to find his sister after she disappears into the dark spiritual world, and both are navigating their narrow paths when the lives and purposes of the two young strangers clash.

TA LĘ; Book 1: Knowledge might start with the character Kobenan but it soon becomes clear that Yessoh G.D. has a surprise up their literary sleeve and the novel is, in fact, central to the plot of Joel and his sister. Both men are absolutely captivating and even though Kobenan's storyline initially feels somewhat more intriguing, as it progresses it is Joel's that drives the plot toward a super intense climax. The S-cell acts as a congruent body with the appeal of a secret agency but, honestly, it is the array of ancillary phantasms that rope a reader in. As someone who has djinn in my own religion, it was incredible to see them brought to life and understand their connection to African mysticism. The elements of possession were my favorite, second only to chase scenes and one in particular when Kobenan and Mr. Biafle are in a frantic race to a lift with evil clipping at their heels. Red herrings abound and there are enough twists and turns to blindside with wonderful results. The novel does not end on a traditional cliffhanger per se, but provides the promise of more to come. I can't wait.

Vincent Dublado

Knowledge is the first book in the TA LĘ Series by Yessoh G.D. It is an engaging African urban fantasy that you find every day. Kobenan works for a classified branch of the Western African government where he is given a special assignment of analyzing confidential files. He has no idea what Sector 0 does at the beginning, but soon learns that it is one of the most powerful prisons on Earth: The biggest and most secure prison for the deadliest sorcerers, djinns, and lost spirits. Along with Agent Biafle, Kobenan becomes involved with a high-profile murder case that involves supernatural means. Kobenan and Biafle will need to elicit information from a powerful soul eater to solve the case.

Knowledge is a welcome treat for any readers tired of digesting too many Western and Asian fantasy novels. Yessoh G.D. pulls the rug from under your feet when you least expect it. It is the manifestation of his vivid imagination since childhood, and you’ll be glad that he shares it. In this elaborate and imaginative tale, you are invited to enter a world and experience the same feelings that Kobenan has upon entering a bizarre world that he knows little about and this makes him vulnerable. What is even more impressive is that Yessoh G.D.’s narrative is rich in the texture of African mysticism, and the language he uses immerses you in its magical and philosophical view of ontology. It is a story that becomes even more powerful when you put three-dimensional characters into the plot. Fans of urban fantasy will get a kick from reading Knowledge. It is a brilliant mix of thought processes, attitudes, representations, and allusions.

Asher Syed

TA LĘ; Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D. is a supernatural mystery that revolves around two primary characters, a teenager named Joel and a young government analytics expert named Kobenan. The story begins in the fictional West African Côte d'Esperance. A white minister is dead and tasked to unravel the mystery is Biafle Herbert, appointed by the President himself, with Kobenan assigned as a partner. Kobenan is gifted in ways he never imagined and is almost instantly enmeshed in a previously unseen world of African sorcery and mysticism brought to life. In a parallel narrative, Joel is also in pursuit of answers but his motivation is in a mystery closer to home and in search of his sister. Joel and Kobenan are woefully unprepared for the evils that pierce the veil between the physical and the metaphysical, and as their stories intersect we are shown the Africa few will hear of, fewer will see, and that both Joel and Kobenan are likely to traverse intact.

There is just so much to unpack after reading TA LĘ that it really did take me some time to decompress before I could even consider discussing this work by Yessoh G.D. I am from the subcontinent and while lore, superstition, mysticism, and pretty much anything supernatural is not new to me, the undercurrent of West African spirituality definitely is. Yessoh delivers an ambitious opening to a series that isn't always easy to follow but is worth the effort. The writing has the rawness of new authorship and the occasional tendency to over-describe unnecessary details does not do the pacing any favors, but once the wheel is rolling down the hill at full speed, there is no turning back. The tension is ripe, the answers remain elusive, and as readers dance between two points of view, we are able to experience this dark recess of the unexplored through the eyes of characters as naïve as we are. In short, the TA LĘ series has massive potential. Get a notepad, settle in, and prepare to not be able to sleep with the lights off for a night or two. You can thank me later. Very highly recommended.

Delene Vrey

TA LĘ, Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D. is about two young men, two young girls, and an unknown power set on stealing the girls away for its own nefarious reasons. At 16, Joel had always seen beings that especially appeared before accidents; he also had a being who lived in his room with him. He always ignored the strange being in his room until one day, these beings take note of him and attack his home. A Djinn saves his life, and Joel starts on a journey to find his little sister. Kobenan is working for the President as an analyst. When he is given an assignment with the leader of the S-cell to visit the secret prison for sorcerers and supernatural beings, he is thrown into a race to find a griot – a girl filled with magic that could wreak havoc on the land. As Kobenan's and Joel’s journeys come together, an awful truth becomes known. Ancient knowledge has shown itself, and the wielder of its magic is very powerful. Will the two young men survive the path they are on, and what will become of the world if the new enemy cannot be stopped?

TA LĘ, Book 1: Knowledge by Yessoh G.D. is a Young Adult fantasy based in West African culture. The story is filled with the mythical and mystical elements found in African folklore and beliefs. As with many recent fiction books, the main theme in this story is that of man’s greed for profit without consideration for nature. The story is authentically African with supernatural and traditional characters fighting to save the people of Africa and the world from the great threat of others destroying the world for their own benefit and monetary success. The story is fast-paced and juxtaposes the modern world with the traditional world in Africa. This gives credibility to the idea that many people no longer recognize the supernatural when they see it. This book has indeed been a refreshing read on the YA fantasy scene.