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#LiterallyWhatsHot: A Little Imagination with Sunday School Never Hurt Anyone – A Review of John Nova’s Kissing Snakes




John Nova is a public speaker, business consultant and underground rock musician (under the name XTSamurai). A lover of tea and long walks, he is also the author of “Our Favourite Demon”. He is largely inclined to religion, a fact which is reflected in his work.

His book, “Kissing Snakes, is the story of a man who takes his son and his neighbour’s daughter on a trip to his farm. He warns them not to touch a chemical called The Goo, but they flout his orders, and gradually transform into reptiles. Things get more complicated when these reptiles begin to reproduce, and he is left with figuring out a way to return the kids to their original state, while trying to stop the reptiles from multiplying.

This body of work, rendered in the first person narrative, could be referred to as a novella, owing to its length. The use of language is graphic, the descriptions are top notch, plus, the themes of sacrifice, the ripple effect of mistakes and the importance of obedience are well explored too.

“Kissing Snakes” could be seen as an analogy for the fall of man, origin of sin and the ultimate sacrifice of redemption as chronicled in the Christian Bible…if only the author did not have to explain himself in the final pages! It would seem that the doctrine of “show, don’t tell” is lost on some creatives. While the book is apparently faith-based and would appeal to Christian literary enthusiasts, it would have been a lot cooler to let readers figure it out. Chronicles Of Narnia, anyone?

Away from its didactic value, the narrative is experimental, it reeks of speculation, and it would be interesting to see how Nova tries to write a longer manuscript in the future, while exploring diverse themes. I admire his sense of imagination, and I think his art should transcend religious perspectives. “Kissing Snakes” is short, not-so-simple, and laden with undeniable literary potential.

We dug out what some other readers had to say about John Nova’s Kissing Snakes. See them below:

“Writing a story which exglains the Christian faith in a way that is believable and makes sense is kind of the holy grail for a Christian storyteller. KISSING SNAKES is a fable that attempts to do just that; and it succeeds far better than most in its goal.”

“Tear-jerking. Nothing prepares you for the read. I was astounded, horrified, moved..and I cried.”

“I wish the whole world would get to read this.”

“What a cliffhanger!!! You are a genius!”

“Beautiful! Just beautiful…”

Rating: 6.8/10

Want a copy of John Nova’s “Kissing Snakes” ? Get one here on the OkadaBooks store.Jerry Chiemeke is a lawyer who resides in Lagos. His works have been featured in The Kalahari Review and Brittle Paper. His editorials have also appeared on True Nollywood Stories and he is currently a book reviewer on literary blog Bagus Mutendi. He recently published his first book, “The Colours In These Leaves”.


  1. Agbabi Solomon

    December 14, 2017 at 9:40 am

    The narrative and presentation is awesome and wonderful. I hope it could be adapted into a movie just like many novels, a case in study is the novel ‘The Shack’ about a man encounter with God during his dark moment over the weekend in a Shack of all places.

  2. Christopher

    December 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I agree that “show, don’t tell” should be practiced more. I guess some creative writers are very particular about readers not missing the point.

    I have read a number of his works, and I think he has been consistent. He really is a creative writer. The story got me hooked, for its length. He wrote Black I, which is longer. I’d say he keeps at it. Whilst we expect people to turn out works on widely different themes, we should remember motivation varies, and some writer’s best works are those from a few themes.

  3. Chu

    December 14, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I loved reading it.

  4. Writer Too

    December 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Not surprised to see this. I’ve read a number of John Nova’s writings and he sure as hell has a unique and creative way with words. One writer whose i craft i really respect. Well done. Look forward to reading ALL his books.

  5. Wansim

    December 15, 2017 at 9:05 am

    The garden story in modern day context, brilliant work!

  6. Gboyega

    December 15, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Y’all should get a copy….intriguing and captivating.

  7. Kabze-el

    December 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    John is an awesome writer…I know him personally and he is also one of the writers in our comic scripts…Epoch Comics.
    Kissing Snakes is a must read for folks that love good story telling. You just need to read his other works to know how good this guy is.

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