What Sunny Saw In The Flames by Nnedi Okorafor.
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, thirteen-year-old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino. Her eyes are so sensitive to the sun that she has to wait until evening to play football. Apart from being good at the beautiful game, she has a special gift: she can see into the future.
At school, she soon becomes part of a special quartet with unique powers. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha explore this exciting realm of strange creatures and dark secrets. The good news is that in this world, your worst defect is actually your greatest asset. But there’s a catch. Someone is kidnapping children and maiming or killing them. The group is asked to help track down the criminal.
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?
What Sunny Saw In The Flames is the first instalment in a series about Sunny, a Nigerian albino with magical powers. This first book takes us through Sunny’s “awakening” as she begins to learn more about her magical history and heritage.
It doesn’t take long before Sunny learns that she and her friends are destined to form a coven of sorts. This coven’s destiny includes ending the reign of terror of the most dangerous wizard of the time. A wizard that has picked off children in town one after the other for blood magic.
Not surprisingly, Sunny is soon proclaimed to have abilities far beyond what is expected and she might actually be the second coming. You can insert a major eye roll here because I never saw a real demonstration of Sunny’s unique abilities.
The big battle against evil that Sunny and her friends are charged to fight was over so quickly, you could actually miss it. Frankly, I think there was too much going on in a book this small and many aspects of the story suffered for this.
Like with other Nnedi Okorafor books I’ve read, something just seemed off about the magical world the reader should be immersed in. She likes to create these fantastical realities but I just don’t believe it. The best world building she’s done so far was in Who Fears Death and that was a big book so I’m here thinking maybe that’s the format we should go for ‘cos these novellas…
Also, If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, it won’t take long before you begin to notice similarities in What Sunny Saw in The Flames. The biggest one being the memorable scene where Harry gets dragged to court for the use of underage magic. In this book, Sunny gets a stern warning from a prospective mentor for… I’m sorry I can’t even remember.
One thing I enjoyed about this book was the female characters and how apt the author described the way women generally have to work twice as hard to prove themselves and get access to real opportunities.
Not bad. However, I know it could have been better. And I hope that it is, seeing as the 2nd instalment has already been published. The main reason this book didn’t do much for me was that it felt rushed. I just don’t get why since this is a series and that by default, should allow for a nice pace.
Anyways, I’ll still recommend it to a younger audience. I imagine that I don’t exactly fall into the original target group for this novel.
Have you read What Sunny Saw in The Flames? I’ll love to hear your thoughts about it.