Readers first met Corinne La Mer in Tracey Baptiste’s The Jumbies, in which she defeated the malevolent jumbie Severine, who fell to the depths of the sea and was crushed by rockfall. While on her quest to restore peace to her Caribbean island, Corinne discovered she wasn’t just part jumbie—an evil spirit or trickster—but that Severine was her tante (French for aunt). At the revelation of her blood ties, many ostracized the youngster, and tensions have yet to dissolve.
In the captivating sequel, Rise of the Jumbies, islanders’ tempers and accusations against Corrine flare when neighboring children vanish. To clear her own name and find the missing, Corinne seek the help of sea-dwelling jumbie Mama D’Leau, who’s known for entrapping the naive and turning the wisest of men into stone.
Mama D’Leau agrees to help Corrine and her friends Bouki, Dru and Malik—for a price. A quick trip to an unknown land leagues away seems like a fair trade in Mama D’Leau’s icy blue eyes. To guide them on their quest, Mama D’Leau partners Corrine and her crew with four mermaids, and the serpentine jumbie sends them to the shores of West Africa to pilfer a long-lost treasure. But will Mama D’Leau hold up her end of the bargain if the group returns victorious? Or is there another game piece at play that prevents even the goddess of the ocean from intervening?
Rise of the Jumbies is a captivating tale that hooks readers from the onset and doesn’t let go. The imagery is crisp and nuanced, the leading characters are gutsy yet kindhearted, and the villains are just the right amount of wicked for middle schoolers. Baptiste’s inventive story is based on Haitian folklore, a nod to her Trinidadian culture. Readers learn about diverse characters, are exposed to Francophone terminology and even take a brief dip into an age-appropriate account of the Transatlantic slave trade.
If you’re looking for a story that’s original, action-packed and inspiring, look no further than Rise of the Jumbies.