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review 2017-09-18 17:07
Akata Witch / Nnedi Okorafor
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

 

Read to fill the “Diverse Voices” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

The Nigerian version of Harry Potter, with an albino Nigerian-American girl as the star. Sunny really only wants to be able to play football and attend school without being bullied, but her family has a legacy of magic that no one talks about and which is going to take her life in unexpected direction. Her talent is recognized by the friend of a friend and soon Sunny is being coached in juju, taken to the magical city of the Leopard People, and dealing with some very serious magical situations. Fortunately, she has her own coven of friends to aid and abet her in her adventures.

Here, there are leopards and lambs, rather than magicians and muggles, there is football rather than quidditch, but there is also a whole window into West African life and mythology that will be unfamiliar to many North American readers. Nnedi Okorafor is in the perfect position to open this window for us, being born in the United States with Nigerian immigrant parents. With feet in both worlds, she is able to weave a tale understandable to both sides of the divide.

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url 2016-05-03 13:21
100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Women Writers (from Book Riot)

Not a perfect list (since there is no such thing) but not bad either.

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url 2016-05-02 14:59
40 Tiny Tasks for a Richer Reading Life (from Book Riot)

No one is going to convince me to get up 15 minutes earlier to do ANYTHING-- even read-- but I think I'm going to try at least a few of these.

 

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review 2016-04-12 17:35
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch,Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Probationary Constable Peter Grant wants to become a murder cop but seems far more likely to become a paper pusher. That all changes after he speaks to a ghostly witness at a crime scene and his abilities and willingness to keep an open mind bring him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the only member of the London Metropolitan Police who is also a magician. Peter becomes Nightingale's apprentice and tries to get a handle on magic and its rules, even as he investigates brutal murders and attempts to keep the peace between feuding river gods.

I bought this during an Audible sale because I enjoyed the book when I first read it several years ago and because I mostly liked the narrator's voice. The narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, was wonderful as both Peter and Nightingale, but he had an unfortunate tendency to sound out to breath. It wasn't so bad as to affect my enjoyment of the book, but it was noticeable. It was worst at the beginning but thankfully got better later on, only cropping up again during the action scenes. I was left wondering if maybe he had been a little sick when he first started recording.

At any rate, the things I enjoyed about his narration outweighed the things I didn't. Most of his character voices were decent. The only one I came close to disliking was his voice for Lesley. He was great as Peter, but it was his voice for Nightingale that truly won me over. It felt like he was imitating an actor I'd seen/heard before, but I couldn't place who it was.

As far as the story went, it was about as good as I remembered, although a bit gorier than I recalled. Faces falling off and all that. Also, as a warning for those who need it, there was one instance of an infant being killed – unlike some of the book's other deaths, that one wasn't particularly detailed, but it was on-page.

Peter irked me a bit more this time around. I don't know if it was just me or the audio format making it more obvious or what, but it seemed like sex was always on his mind. He didn't act as though anyone owed it to him, and Aaronovitch didn't use it as an excuse for Lesley and Beverley to act catty with each other, but it was still a bit tiresome.

Although I own a paper copy of Whispers Under Ground (the next book in the series that I haven't yet read), I'm leaning towards getting it in audio form and listening to it instead. The narration really grew on me. Plus, I have an Audible credit that needs to be used soon.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2016-03-23 20:09
Reading progress update: I've listened 587 out of 596 minutes.
Midnight Riot - Ben Aaronovitch,Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

"Phantom dick snatcher" sounds slightly less horrifying than "vagina dentata." Like maybe the guy could get it back if he spent enough time looking for it, or asked very nicely.

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