Updated: Jan 25, 2022
My introduction to K'wan's work was through his Hood Rat series. All my reader friends on Facebook were ranting and raving about Animal, and to get to him, you had to go through the hood. I remember reading out of order, so eager to get started, improperly researching where my journey should begin. Even with reading out of order, it didn't take away from the author, his storylines, or his characters. The series was classic to me, and anyone looking for an urban fiction recommendation from me will always have that series included in the list. After years of writing, K'wan's pen game has evolved, somewhat leaving the hood rats behind. Making me, I'm sure along with other readers, miss his urban fiction flex. That changed with Promise Broken. The cover had me leaning towards a love story, which it is, kind of. The King of Urban Fiction has returned to claim his crown and I am elated that he gave me a front row seat to the show.
Promise Mohammad isn't your typical teenager. Abandoned by her father at an early age, and losing her mother in a car accident, Promise is left to be the hood's newest version of Cinderella. Her being biracial seems to make her life that much harder. Left in the care of her Aunt Dell, who is just as evil as Lady Tremaine (Cinderella's stepmother). "You ungrateful cow! How dare you fix your mouth to talk slick like that little bit of money the state gives me for you every month is making or breaking something. Them funky few dollars, including the food stamps don't even cover all the food you eat up, Miss Piggy. The only reason I even let your troublesome ass stay with me is because I promised my sister that if anything happened to her, I'd take you in. It's a promise that I'm finding harder and harder to keep, so if I were you I'd keep my mouth shut before you find yourself homeless." Hence the title of the story, Promise Broken.
Dell and her daughter, Brianna, make Promise's life a living hell, but her friends, Mouse and Keys, make life a little bit more bearable. But like the rest of the characters in the book, they're fighting their own battles. Keys is living in an abusive home and Mouse's mother is a crackhead that leaves her to fend for herself and her sister. When the battlefield shifts for the friends, placing the dynamics of their friendship at risk, the story takes a pivotal turn for all three characters. "Keys listened to the girls chattering back and forth, Mouse was about all the ones she planned to make working with Ab and Promise about how fine Asher was. It made him sick to his stomach." Promise is put in a few precarious situations, forcing her friends to show her just how much they really care about her.
And finally, the love portion of the story. While navigating her way up the hood's totem pole, Promise catches the eyes of Asher, one of the hood's up and coming lieutenants. "While he was making his way across the street to greet his people, a fair-skinned chick came out of the liquor store. For an instant their eyes connected, but she quickly turned away and went to look at the ground in front of her." The attraction between them is noticeable, even to Asher's girlfriend, Ruby. Like most of the hood dudes, Asher comes with a ton of baggage, but Promise's skimpy self-esteem and lack of attention has her willing to risk it all. "I see you, all starry-eyed because Asher finally noticed you. I'll bet you think he's going to be your ghetto knight in shining armor, huh? Same as the other half dozen chicks he's knocked off between here and Market Street. He's only out for the pussy. Asher ain't got no serious interest in you Promise."
If you're familiar with K'wan's work, you know how he give it up. This book comes with a host of characters, all layered and entertaining in their own way. There are breadcrumbs throughout the story, so you can't just rush through reading this, it's imperative you pay attention. Nothing is as it seems, and if you thought he forgot about a certain aspect of the story, he didn't. And you will run across some familiar characters. "All of them were wearing heavy jewelry, but none heavier than a bearded man wearing a Cincinnati Reds cap. Dark sunglasses covered his eyes and a thick chain hung around his neck. Dangling from the end of the chain was a diamond-encrusted Rottweiler head." At the end of the book, K'wan decides to Mortal Kombat finish us, as if to give a friendly reminder that he's his own competition. 2022 is off to a great literary start and I love to see it. Excellent read!
This book is book is set to be released March, 15, 2022.