Review: The Jumbies – Tracey Baptiste

The JumbiesA spine-tingling tale rooted in Caribbean folklore that will have readers holding their breath as they fly through its pages.

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters parents make up to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest. Those shining yellow eyes that followed her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market the next day, she knows something unexpected is about to happen. And when this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for Corinne’s father, Corinne is sure that danger is in the air. She soon finds out that bewitching her father, Pierre, is only the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and save her island home.

With its able and gutsy heroine, lyrical narration, and inventive twist on the classic Haitian folktale “The Magic Orange Tree,” The Jumbies will be a favorite of fans of Breadcrumbs, A Tale Dark and Grimm, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

I’d been meaning to read more middlegrade fiction, and I was in the mood for something about the main character finding out they had magic, so I decided to read The Jumbies.

This book is #ownvoices for Caribbean representation.

It’s such a creepy story. I had shivers while reading it. It was also a very emotional story, as Corinne was still dealing with grief and trying to find her own place in the world. The pacing is quite fast, which is fitting to the story as it has a mystery component to it.

I loved how magic was woven into the setting. The forest itself seemed almost as though it was alive itself.

I liked the theme of the oranges. The colour and the fruit are mentioned quite a lot. The reveal at the end that explains why oranges are so crucial to the story and to Corinne’s ability was unexpected!

The characters are definitely the highlight of this story. Especially the children. All of them were well-rounded characters. And they were so active and ready to find for the good cause. It was lovely to see how supportive all four main children characters were of each other. The father-daughter relationship was also so beautiful. I loved how Corinne and her father looked after each other and tried to support each other through their difficult times. Severine, the jumbie, is so creepy. My God! The way she talks about Corinne and the familiarity of her scent. It was fascinating to understand why Severine acted the way she did.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book, as I want to know if the Witch will end up being a mentor for Corinne, and help her to understand her powers. I’m also curious if we will find out who the Witch’s parents are, and why she lives alone.

If you’re looking for a more creepy story for younger readers, which is not full-on horror, I definitely recommend getting this book. It’s a fun, and kinda creepy, fantasy novel!

5 stars

Have you read The Jumbies? How did you enjoy it?

6 thoughts on “Review: The Jumbies – Tracey Baptiste

  1. There are not many MG novels that can stand up to adult reading, but this one had great characters and an interesting plot! As someone who never reads horror, I can also testify that this was creepy without being scary. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel as well.


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