NJÀNSÍ is a unique, dramatic and action-packed story that is incredibly visual in style while still maintaining emotional content. The narrative is complex, but once untangled, it’s a clear “good versus evil” structure to which many can relate. While the unfolding narrative lends itself to adaptation for either television or feature film, alterations will be necessary in order to strengthen it for further development. One of the most compelling aspects of the narrative is the relationship between Njànsí and his mother, Comfort. The guilt she feels for bringing her child into the world under such evil circumstances and looking the other way as he flourished represents a mother’s unwavering love for her child, despite the fact that all signs lead her to distance herself from him.

Throughout the book, Njànsí expresses anger and sadness towards his mother, and denounces her for making the choices that she did. In a way, this severed relationship is not given a proper conclusion. It’s implied that Njànsí becomes well-adjusted and fits back into his loving family unit after he rejects the Black Witches, but the two are never given a time to apologize to one another and accept their respective faults. If this aspect were to be elaborated upon, it could provide an emotional high point in the story and add to the narrative’s depth.

In addition, little is shown about the life that the family leads before the accident that forces the family to believe their son is dead. It’s said that they live a fairly traditional life, although Maureen has always been uneasy around Njànsí. The narrative would benefit from showing more of the family’s previous daily routine in order to provide a starker contrast to the current story. This approach would further illustrate the love that the family has for one another, and make the current circumstance all the more tragic. For instance, the book mentions that Njànsí and Nkechi are very close as children, but this isn’t illustrated. The narrative taking on more of a “show, don’t tell” mentality would give audiences something stronger to grasp onto as the story moves forward.

Finally, the conclusion is left somewhat open-ended since the Black Witches still have power. The Kalu family has found peace, but others are still susceptible to the persuasion of the dark lords. The end of the narrative could provide a strong jumping off point for a new segment of stories in which Njànsí commits the rest of his life to defeating the powers that nearly ruined him. NJÀNSÍ is incredibly creative and emotional. The emotional stakes can be raised by providing a cathartic moment between Njànsí and his mother. In addition, showing the family’s life before it was torn apart by the Black Witches will add to the dramatic impact. If this issues are addressed, the book has the potential to be adapted into a compelling feature film or alternative television series.

Written by Louie Nielson, Authorhouse, UK. February 2015