Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction
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Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.
Ames recommended this series to me. It took a bit for me to fall into the story, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Binti is a 16 year old girl who has never been outside her City. She is Himba. Her people have very firm ideas about life and marriage, and follow old customs and rules. Binti was allowed to take the planetary exams and her entire village was thrilled when she scored so high Ooomza University offers to pay for her to attend, including all costs related to her travel to them, but they didn’t expect her to attend. The honor of being asked was enough for them. For Binti, it wasn’t. She wanted to accept her place at the University, even though she knew it would mean never being accepted by her people again. She sneaks away and takes a living ship (think: Large Shrimp-like creature you can ride inside) to the university. Though she’s different from others on the ship, it isn’t long before she settles in, makes friends and even develops a crush on a boy.
But then the ship is attacked by the highly feared Meduse, who were wronged by those at Oomza University and are seeking revenge. Binti is the only survivor. As she struggles to stay alive in an Alien world, she also finds strength in herself and friends in unexpected places.
Binti is an interesting character and I love the premise. The story is short and ends in a cliffhanger, but I expected that based on the length of the story and the fact that it’s the first of a trilogy. It started slow, but once Binti reaches the ship the story really picked up. I loved watching her open up to her fellow classmates, and my heart was bounding during the attack by the Meduse, and what followed. There are some pretty serious plot holes, but I was able to set aside any frustration over that because 1) I was enjoying the story and 2) I tend to be more forgiving of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, as the general rules of life and science don’t always apply.
I immediately started the next story.
3.5 out of 5