Review: “Binti,” “Home,” and “The Night Masquerade” by Nnedi Okorafor

binti-feat

Release Date:  September 22, 2015; January 31, 2017; January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
Series: Binti #1-3
Genre: Science Fiction, Space

Description

Binti
“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.” (via Goodreads)

 

Home

“It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?” (via Goodreads)

 

The Night Masquerade
“Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.” (via Goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

binti-coverAlthough I felt like I was experiencing Binti’s world with blinders on, that didn’t diminish the enjoyment I got out of the glimpses Okorafor offered. Is it really such a bad thing to like spending time with an author’s creation so much that it’s disappointing to not have more? Lucky for me, each novella is longer than the last, so my whinging is diminishing.

Okorafor expertly wields science fiction as a means of exploring the myriad complexities of cultural identity. What does it mean to be oppressed? What does it mean to be an oppressor? What does it mean to be both, or to be neither but trapped between each side? Are we who we say we are because of our traditions or because of how we choose to identify?…

Read the rest of this review at Tor.com.

I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer. I had no idea what I was going to do if it didn’t work. My transporter was cheap, so even a droplet of moisture, or more likely, a grain of sand, would cause it to short. It was faulty and most of the time I had to restart it over and over before it worked. Please not now, please not now, I thought.

The transporter shivered in the sand and I held my breath. Tiny, flat, and black as a prayer stone, it buzzed softly and then slowly rose from the sand. Finally, it produced the baggage-lifting force. I grinned. Now I could make it to the shuttle. I swiped otjize from my forehead with my index finger and knelt down. Then I touched the finger to the sand, grounding the sweet smelling red clay into it. “Thank you,” I whispered. It was a half-mile walk along the dark desert road. With the transporter working, I would make it there on time.

Thanks to Tor.com Publishing for sending me review copies.

Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or get it from your public library.

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