LAST GATE OF THE EMPEROR by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen

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Yared has his whole day planned out: sail through school right until the last possible moment, then dodge the truancy robots and make his escape to crush the competition in one of the highly secretive VR battles he always dominates. But when the system forces him to log in with his real name for the first time, a shadowy group of warriors swoops in to capture him, with help of a gigantic and terrifying beast that Yared can’t believe exists. The beast and the warriors–those were things out of Uncle Moti’s stories, nothing more than legends. But when Yared returns home to find the warriors trashing his house, he realizes two things. First, Uncle Moti’s stories of the mythical kingdoms locked in an eternal battle were all real. And second, for some unfathomable reason, Yared seems to be caught up in the middle of it. If he has any hope of rescuing Uncle Moti, Yared will need to recall all of his uncle’s bizarre lessons and trust the last person he ever though he’d have to rely on: his VR rival, the Ibis.

This book kept me laughing. It’s fast-paced and imaginative with a great protagonist who is a delight to root for. I’d recommend it to middle grade readers who enjoy SFF and humor, and it will especially appeal to Black Panther fans.

Last Gate of the Emperor: Mbalia, Kwame, Makonnen, Prince Joel, Makonnen,  Prince Joel: 9781338665857: Books

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