Epic Fantasy on a Small Scale : The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi

Release Date: March 21, 2023
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Fantasy


They say there is no water in the City of Lies. They say there are no heroes in the City of Lies. They say there are no friends beyond the City of Lies. But would you believe what they say in the City of Lies?

In the City of Lies, they cut out your tongue when you turn thirteen, to appease the terrifying Ajungo Empire and make sure it continues sending water. Tutu will be thirteen in three days, but his parched mother won’t last that long. So Tutu goes to his oba and makes a deal: she provides water for his mother, and in exchange he will travel out into the desert and bring back water for the city. Thus begins Tutu’s quest for the salvation of his mother, his city, and himself.

The Lies of the Ajungo opens the curtains on a tremendous world, and begins the epic fable of the Forever Desert. With every word, Moses Ose Utomi weaves magic.

My Thoughts

“There is no water in the City of Lies.” No heroes either. And outside its walls are only desert and enemies. Tutu is just shy of his thirteenth birthday. On that day he’ll have his tongue cut out as part of an ancient promise. Long ago, when drought first struck the city, the inhabitants made a Faustian bargain with the Ajungo: the tongues of every adult in exchange for water. But the Ajungo gave them only enough to barely survive. As the decades ticked by, hope withered just like the plants and animals. Hordes of children ventured into the desert as heroes on a great quest to save their people. None ever returned…

Read the rest of this review at Tor.com.

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