This is my second book by Nnedi Okorafor, and I’m beginning to sense a theme in her work. Binti is a bit of an oddball within and outside her community. She goes against the norm and decides to leave her people to realise her full potential. Unfortunately, she finds herself caught in the middle of a massacre. Which promises to turn into a war and she has to find a solution to the crisis before it gets worse.
You come to terms with the Author’s love for plant and animal based technology, i.e. Zahrah, very quickly. And while this has a more mature feel to it, I still have no appreciation for the various made up technologies in this book. These include the various devices and terms mentioned like we should already be familiar with them. A glossary of terms could have come in handy.
Lucky for us, the story moved at the speed of light and it sucked me in fast. I knew it would be too short the instant I started reading. It was such a quick read, I finished it under 4 hours; with interruptions.
The big problem I have with this story is the glossing over the brutal massacre of children. I waited for some mention of it as the conflict was resolved, for some consequence to the perpetrators. Nothing happened. This tragedy was basically used as a tool to set Binti on her solo mission. It felt like the lives of those kids meant nothing to the author. I am well aware it’s fiction but it still bothers me.
I’ll probably be rereading it soon.
P.S. The novella’s second chapter is out today. You can read an excerpt here.
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Published by: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
Date of Publication: September 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
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.