Meet the wonderfully creative writer Karen Prince and her magic fantasy jungle story Switch

on my website … @realKarenPrince


“Switch (The Kingdoms of Karibu)” by Karen Prince is a wonderful and magic story for young adults.
Set in parts in rural contemporary Zimbabwe (with all its beauty but also its faults) and in other parts in the secret rift valley of Karibu the story ‘switches’ between two narratives, keeping up a sense of suspense throughout.
In Karibu, a witch and her leopard suddenly have to escape the Tokoloshe, but their getaway via a magic trick goes terribly wrong and forces an ordinary boy from Zimbabwe into the kingdom instead, while the witch is on the other side.
The rest of the story follows the attempts to reverse the switch.
The book owes a lot to modern fairy tales such as the Lion King or The Jungle Book that opened our minds to speaking animals and even animals that can be human. “Switch” pays a loving tribute to African tribal culture with the colourful characters as well as to the magical mythology.
Karen Prince has written an awesome book that overflows with her love for the continent and its creatures and culture but more importantly so with a lot of original ideas and vivid powers of imagination. One of my favourite parts of the book was about a group of crocodiles who are re-paying a moral debt and therefore help humans across a tricky waterfall.
Easy to read, entertaining and full of surprises this is an excellent debut novel and should do well with both African and non-African readers. I was quite captured by the romantic vision of nature on the continent and thanks to the great characterisation of the boys and the witch it had a light hearted and wonderful touch.


A young adult fantasy adventure about magic, friendship and bravery, but also about bad judgement, rascally witches and thoroughly irresponsible adults.

Trouble is brewing in the secret African rift valley of Karibu and Gogo Maya, the witch, and her leopard familiar are about to make matters worse. Of all the dubious magic tricks in her repertoire, they choose a risky ‘switch’ she’s been working on, to escape from somebody lurking in the forest. Unfortunately they overshoot, switching right out of Karibu and drawing an ordinary Zimbabwean boy into the vacuum they left behind them. The whole disaster that followed might have been averted if another boy had not gone and sucked up what was left of the witch’s power, leaving her too weak to switch back again. CPR, the daft boy called it. He should know better than to risk kissing a witch.

If you had to choose between Joe’s two best friends, or his fifteen-year-old cousin, Ethan, to lead an adventure into the bush to rescue him, Ethan would be the last one you’d pick because, well … he’s useless that way. Yet, the witch’s leopard inexplicably chooses him, and starts issuing instructions right into his head. Apparently he’s Joe’s best hope because he has absorbed some of the witch’s questionable magic powers. Powers which might come in handy if he ever learns how to wield them, and if he can endure the painful backlash he suffers every time he tries.

In a world that quite literally defies belief, where magic seeps into the drinking water for anyone to use or abuse, and the terrain is impossible to navigate without help from extremely risky sources, this is the tale of Ethan’s struggle to reach his cousin, Joe, before Joe falls into the wrong hands and gets himself killed