Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Onyesonwu ("Who Fears Death") is a child born of rape. Her mother is Okeke, a people who have been enslaved by the Nuru for years. Ethnic warfare has escalated and the Okeke people are in danger of being entirely exterminated. Onyesonwu's father is a powerful Nuru sorcerer and she exhibits extraordinary powers even as a young girl, growing up in the Sahara desert with her resourceful mother. It is Onyesonwu's destiny to save the Okeke people.

The story is a genre blend of science fiction and fantasy set in post-apocalyptic Africa. It is a nice change to read fantasy that draws on traditions from this part of the world. It is mostly for this reason that I continued reading even when it felt like a slog. Okorafor's writing style is not really to my taste; I find it quite dry. Onyesonwu is a very strong character, however, and also kept me reading. I loved that she is a shapeshifter. And the ending is rewarding, so I'm glad that I didn't give up.


Amy said...

I'm glad you found something to like even though you weren't a fan of the writing in this one. Too bad!

Lindy said...

There is much to admire in Okorafor's work and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one to women looking for a challenging book discussion title.