Review: “Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi


Release Date: January 21, 2020
Publisher: Publishing
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy


“Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience.

Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.”


My Thoughts

RIotBaby-coverTo bring it back around to MLK, Riot Baby stands “between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist.” Stretching the comparison even further: Kev is the “Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom,” and Ella is the “something without has reminded him that it can be gained.” Onyebuchi could have ended the story on a note of desperation and cynicism; instead he opts for hope. Well, it’s hopeful if you’re BIPOC. Maybe not so much if you like being in power…

To read the rest of my review, head over to


Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

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