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review 2018-04-11 18:46
Girl Harry Potter in Nigeria
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny is an outcast. Albino, returned from living overseas, ahead of her older classmates academically, and forced to live with the limitations of staying out of the sun, she has many challenges holding her down. When new friends introduce her to the magical world she was born to power in, she discovers that her flaws fuel her greatest strengths and she is absolutely necessary.

 

I loved this. The writing style is clear, direct, and seamless. The world-building is flawless and fascinating - I don't have any particular familiarity with Nigeria, but was able to understand everything I needed to just through context. The plot is unusual in that it doesn't seem to build in a steady arc toward the dramatic finale, but rather spends much of its runtime in letting its characters explore the limits of their newly expanded, magical world, and yet at no point was I bored or distracted.

 

I loved the way it treated the teen protagonists with respect; they were challenged to high standards, punished for failures and disobedience, and allowed to take risks for a worthy cause. There are good and not-so-good parental figures. The magic system was fascinating, believable (as far as these things go) and richly detailed. Loved the way knowledge was literally wealth, and the nuance it gave to abuses of power, morality/ethics, and navigating an uncertain, adult world -- there was a lot of scope to explore big ideas without putting them in boxes. Can't wait to read the sequel, and I'm ordering all her backlist to marathon as well.

 

The only trouble with books like this is that whatever I read next seems dull in comparison!

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text 2018-04-02 02:55
Library Books, Updated
The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines - Shohreh Aghdashloo
The Boat People - Sharon Bala
Northwest Garden Manifesto: Create, Restore, and Maintain a Sustainable Yard - John Albers,David F. Perry
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach - Kelly Robson
Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty
New York 2140 - Kim Stanley Robinson
Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate - Zoe Quinn
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor
In Other Lands - Sarah Rees Brennan,Carolyn Nowak

Checked Out

The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines - Shohreh Aghdashloo (DUE 04-13-18)

The Boat People - Sharon Bala  (DUE 04-27-18)

Northwest Garden Manifesto: Create, Restore, and Maintain a Sustainable Yard - John Albers, David F. Perry (DUE 05-04-18)

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach - Kelly Robson  (DUE 05-10-18)

 

On Hold

New York 2140 - Kim Stanley Robinson   (In Transit)

Six Wakes - Mur Lafferty   (1 of 1 holds)

Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate - Zoe Quinn  (1 of 1 holds)

Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor  (1 of 1 holds) 

In Other Lands - Sarah Rees Brennan,Carolyn Nowak  (1 of 1 holds)

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris   (2 of 2 holds)

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review 2018-03-30 12:55
World Building Got Too Complicated & Cliffhanger Ending Didn't Resonate
Binti: Home - Nnedi Okorafor

So I really enjoyed the first Binti book. This one definitely reads like a middle book. We have a lot of revelations thrown at Binti in this one and then we get a cliffhanger ending. I felt really annoyed since I think every story should be able to end on it's own. Don't get me started on the problem with trilogies in Young Adult fantasy fiction. 

 

In "Home" we find Binti a year later after the events in the first book. Binti is still dealing with the effects she has experienced from the Meduse. She's also rightfully dealing with PTSD after watching her classmates all be murdered in front of her. She is returning home to her people with Okwu in tow.

 

Though the book synopsis tries to make it about Okwu being able to meet Binti and her people and be at peace with them, actually this book really is about Binti and being able to make peace with her family and friends. Due to the changes in her appearance she is shunned. Her former best friend won't have a thing to do with her. And her family is angry she left to go to Oomza University. 

 

I am rooting for Binti though and liked that she refused to back down from wanting more than to be married, have children, and be a master harmonizer. 

 

The other characters are written in such broad strokes though. We don't get to spend much time with anyone (I read the 176 page Kindle edition of this book) due to the length of this book. I honestly don't get why Binti and Okwu even traveled back to Earth together. I do understand her ambivalence about him though due to him or his people being responsible for the deaths of so many students. I am glad that Okorafor addressed that in this book though since I thought book #1 was way too rah rah everyone is going to learn together. 

 

The writing is interesting. Okorafor is obviously blending some African folklore with fantasy elements. I am sad to say that I am not that familiar with some of the themes she has in this book, but it was pretty interesting to read about. The flow was off though. I think it's because towards the end we just have Binti reacting to things she's being told and we had way too many information dumps coming our way via secondary characters regarding the Himba/Desert People thing which is still confusing to me. 

 

Speaking of that, I do think the world-building was a bit of a mess in this one though. I didn't understand everything we were being told about the golden people, the edan, etc. 

 

The book ends on a cliffhanger which always irritates me. I like each story/book to have a proper beginning, middle, and end. If you need a cliffhanger in your book, you did something wrong along the way.  

 

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text 2018-03-29 22:36
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Binti: Home - Nnedi Okorafor

I need to read this again. Got distracted by dust. Don't judge me!

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text 2018-03-29 21:00
Reading progress update: I've read 36%.
Binti: Home - Nnedi Okorafor

Okwu is an asshole.


Also I am high as heck on nasal decongestant and everything seems funny to me right now, so apologies for any misspellings or random asides when I post updates. 

 

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