Tag: nnedi okorafor

Zahrah the Windseeker

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Continuing my adventures through Nnedi Okorafor’s catalogue, Zahrah the Windseeker is Okorafor’s other, earlier kids’ book, and I thought it was really great. It has a kind of Alice-in-Wonderland vibe to it, but without the drugs, if that’s possible. It’s set in a fantasy world where all technology is based on plants, and the titular Zahrah has to journey into the Forbidden Greeny Forest to save her best friend.


Akata Witch

Akata Witch is Nnedi Okorafor’s stab at the ‘magic school’ subgenre, and unfortunately it’s kind of a mess. Like her other two books, it really shines in just how unique and exciting its ideas are, but the worldbuilding is nonexistent and I thought its messages ranged from muddled to bad.


The Book of Phoenix

Book of Phoenix is a prequel to Who Fears Death, and I found it very disappointing. The technical quality of the writing was the same, but it smacked of the publisher demanding a money-grab followup and was just not well-constructed. It was well-written enough to be quite compelling, but the actual story was just a mess.


Who Fears Death

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This was an absolutely incredible book. I finished it and thought, “That may have been one of the best books I’ve ever read.” That’s likely hyperbole, but not by much.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor is a genre mismash, part patriarchal dystopia and part fantasy, although the tone is much more magical realism that straight fantasy. The feeling of it was more similar to Salman Rushdie than anything else I’ve ever read. It has that floating, detached, purposely-rushing-along feeling you don’t really find in anything but magical realism, so for me, that is how I’d describe it, even though it was also technically a post-apocalyptic dystopia and the magic elements were more overt than you often see in that genre.

Before you go off and read it, though: this is a book with a lot of violence against women, particularly rape and female genital mutilation, and it can be tough to get through (the author’s note at the end implied it was also at times tough for her to write). If this kind of violence and the attitudes associated with it can set you off, you should definitely have someone who knows your situation well screen it for you.


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