Tag: Nnedi Okorafor

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #3
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), Home (Binti, #2)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 208
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don't miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

This is the third and final installment of the Binti trilogy. The trilogy definitely needs to be read in order.

I’m of two minds about this trilogy. The world-building is well done. I thoroughly enjoyed Binti’s journey as she left her village and dared to travel through space during the first two novellas. I also enjoyed her return home and watching as she discovered more about her past, her father’s family and herself. There were parts in each that moved slow, but I was invested in discovering what the future had in store for Binti. In this installment, I still enjoyed the world-building and Binti herself. The first 3/4 of the book were wonderfully done. I was totally immersed in Binti’s world and she struggles to deal with loss, love and the possible destruction of everything she holds dear.

This seemed to be a total departure from the earlier books and the overall story-arc. Much of the story itself seemed to go off the rails in the second half. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I spent a lot of time wondering if I missed something.

View Spoiler »

While this isn’t my favorite entry, I really enjoyed the themes Nnedi Okorafor explored throughout the series, the world-building and Binti herself. The girl is a badass. I’m glad I stuck with it. It was very satisfying overall.

3.25 out of 5

Binti

three-half-stars


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Review: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Home by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Home (Binti, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #2
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 164
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

In Home, Binti is returning home to Earth after a year away at Oomza University. She snuck away from her village to attend, and dealt with some harsh situations while she was gone. In the process she brokered peace between two warring factions and became an interplanetary hero for uniting two cultures. She befriended an enemy race, the Meduse and grew quite a lot as a person. Okwu, a Muduse who has become Binti’s best friend, is returning home with her. He’s the first of his race to visit Earth since a war between his people and Earth’s happened over one hundred years ago.

The first half of this novella showed us Binti’s life at University, while the second focused on her journey home. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used the world now, or if the story flowed better, but I fell into this one right away. Binti’s journey home was at times heartbreaking and uplifting. Her personal struggles with PTSD, and her determination to act as Liaison, were well told and gave us more insight into her character. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were some dark themes here I think are reflected in our current society. Okorafor deftly handled it all. I was angry and inspired while reading.

Once again, I immediately picked the next installment.

3.75 out of 5

Binti

four-stars


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Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Binti by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 90
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

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

Binti

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted June 11, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 0 Comments

9780670011964_p0_v1_s260x420Whitley’s review of Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.

Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

I wanted to like this one. I’d heard such good things about it, mostly about the originality and imagination. And…eh. There really wasn’t much to write home about. I mean, you can call your magic “juju,” but when it works the same way in the end, is it really different? I’ll grant you, there are a few clever ideas in here, but they end up being random scattered details, and nearly every book has that, so I’m not really seeing where all the hype came from. The framework is the same we’ve seen in a million other stories, and most of the original stuff doesn’t hang very well on it.

Basically, this is your “young person discovers there’s a world of magic and they’re part of this secret group of people living right under the mundanes’ noses and now they have to go and learn about their magical powers” story. Which, fine, it’s a good framework. It’s been used in a lot of stories, but there’s room to change enough of the set-dressing and still make it fun and entertaining. This…was not fun and entertaining. This was a lot of really random things hung willy-nilly on that familiar framework until it more resembled a ratty Christmas tree than a story. I never got any sense of cohesion from the setting we had. There was no larger whole. There were people, and they did magic, and sometimes they did magic in this one magic place, and…ooooh, look, something shiny. And then money falls out of the sky. Literally.

This could be the fault of the plot, which is literally “no one tells Sunny anything for 100 pages, followed by a bunch of random and completely unconnected magic lessons that do not add up to anything.” I guess it is hard to see much of the world when your characters are only wandering around on random, pointless tasks. For much of the story, magic wasn’t even really a big focus of the book. Hell, the biggest event that happened was a soccer game where magic was strictly forbidden. It made everything drag on interminably, until the final showdown with a villain who has had, like, 1% of presence in the novel before that. Really, in the final 50 pages or so, some people drag Sunny out of bed and say “hey, the bad guy is over there, go get him” and then shove her out the door. She didn’t have to do anything to lead up to this showdown, there was no build up, no rising action at all, just shoving the main character out the door and calling it a day.

By the way, let’s talk about that money that falls from the sky. In this book’s world, you get paid by money that just…appears. Ostensibly you get paid by…God, or whatever, when you learn something, but it’s not very clear what constitutes learning. Hell, the kids got paid for that damn soccer game somehow. You’re right, that doesn’t make sense. Also topping the charts in no-sense-making: how do you make an economy out of something that literally falls out of the sky? And which shows up for something that doesn’t even contribute to society! You can invent new magic, make magical charms and equipment, write magical books, build magical buildings…and some smug asshole hermit who sits around reading is going to be literally showered in coins instead. To top off the cake? The money eventually disappears back to where it came from. So smug asshole hermit can get free money from reading, pay a farmer for his food, and the farmer will have to…I guess just hope and pray that the coins don’t evaporate before his rent is due? There is nothing about this system that doesn’t scream intellectual elitism and it rubs me wrong in every conceivable way. (Starting with the fact that it’s not even smart and going all the way through to “wait, does that make me intellectually elite, too? Damn, no, I don’t want anything in common with this concept!”)

There were a lot of other things that irked me: the stilted writing, the lack of attention or history given to Sunny’s domestic problems, the fact that the sparse and distracted worldbuilding extended to the mundane Nigerian setting as well as the magical one, the plethora of random characters that just…take up space and then leave again. Most of this book was a cool idea, but unfortunately, most of this book didn’t get past the “cool idea” stage.

Rating: 2 out of 5

This title is available from Viking Children’s.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.


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