O.O Sangoyomi

Historical African Fantasy

Set in a wonderfully reimagined 15th century West Africa, Masquerade is a dazzling, lyrical tale exploring the true cost of one woman’s fight for freedom and self-discovery, and the lengths she’ll go to secure her future.

Òdòdó’s hometown of Timbuktu has been conquered by the the warrior king of Yorùbáland. Already shunned as social pariahs, living conditions for Òdòdó and the other women in her blacksmith guild grow even worse under Yorùbá rule.

Then Òdòdó is abducted. She is whisked across the Sahara to the capital city of Ṣàngótẹ̀, where she is shocked to discover that her kidnapper is none other than the vagrant who had visited her guild just days prior. But now that he is swathed in riches rather than rags, Òdòdó realizes he is not a vagrant at all; he is the warrior king, and he has chosen her to be his wife.

In a sudden change of fortune, Òdòdó soars to the very heights of society. But after a lifetime of subjugation, the power that saturates this world of battle and political savvy becomes too enticing to resist. As tensions with rival states grow, revealing elaborate schemes and enemies hidden in plain sight, Òdòdó must defy the cruel king she has been forced to wed by re-forging the shaky loyalties of the court in her favor, or risk losing everything—including her life.

Loosely based on the myth of Persephone, O.O. Sangoyomi’s Masquerade takes you on a journey of epic power struggles and political intrigue that turn an entire region on its head.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

“Her rise to fortune, paid in blood.”

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) Òdòdó is from a small African town of Timbuktu. Along with her mother and aunts, they make a living as blacksmiths which is seen as the lowest class, but the fact that they are seen as witches makes it even worse. Then Òdòdó is kidnapped, suddenly and violently. She is drugged and taken days away to a kingdom to be married to a warrior king in a place her family fears and despises. She realizes she has met this man before when he was dressed as a vagrant.

This book is loosely based on the story of Persephone. Both women are taken against their will to marry a man they do not know. The king insists he is in love with Òdòdó and will wait for her to love him back before they marry.

We follow Òdòdó as she grows accustomed to this region and people, and even toys with the possibility of marrying him. This is where the story started to falter for me. For one, she took to being kidnapped very well. She hardly complained or even fought back. It was hard to believe she just accepted this so quickly. But secondly, she didn’t love the king. She debates on marrying him but only for her family to be brought out of poverty and low class station. While I believe she could have done this, it didn’t feel genuine. Because of this, any romance felt forced and unbelievable. Thirdly, she apparently becomes exactly as Persephone but I won’t go into detail. However, this is where I really struggled. There were small examples of her being shrewd or clever but even these did not feel true to her character. The end was definitely exciting and adventurous but left me with so many questions. I wanted to see more of an obvious path to when these changes happened and why. I felt I had a solid understanding of who she was and I couldn’t wrap my mind around these choices and her thriving in them.

AUDIO REVIEW: Ariel Blake did a great job with the African words spoken and accent. My own brain would have mutilated those words so it was nice to hear them spoken eloquently. She also did a great job with cadence in situations of intensity.

General content summary: F 1

Killing (sword, blood, few details, beheading some details)

Parent slaps a child

Man slaps a woman 

Sedative given unwillingly 



Attempted rape (aggression by a man saying he would “take” her)

Alcohol (multiple)

Battle (injuries, weapons, blood, limb cut off, stabbing, death, some details but no gore)

Fire (house, people inside, death, burns, injuries)

Physical violence (punch, unconscious, few)

Cutting off part of arm (injury, blood, pain)

Attempted murder (fire, some intensity)

Killing of a docile animal 

Rape (child produced, previous)

Stabbing (death, blood)

Battle (few details)

Intimate moment (few details)

Slit throat (blood, few details) 

Thank you to Macmillan Audio for the copy!

The book releases July 2, 2024.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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