Review of Nnedi Okorafor’s AKATA WITCH

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book on a whim (which usually ends up in two ways: I either hate the result or find a new author to follow). The premise was intriguing enough, if not entirely novel: the outcast discovering they have magical abilities. But diving into the world Ms. Okorafor created was a wonder. And once I started reading, it wasn’t easy to set the book down, even when I found myself hours and hours past a reasonable bedtime.

My knowledge of juju could fit into a thimble, so I had nothing that needed breaking down or correcting. And it was positively fascinating to get this glimpse into the practice and belief system. And the different spirit faces and their abilities blended seamlessly into the juju practice. It created an other world that gained richness and texture. And the magic rules were so different from anything I’ve read before, with the notion of chittim rewarded for knowledge gained.

I wasn’t entirely certain about the insertion of the soccer game – clearly, Ms. Okorafor is a fan. It gave Sunny a chance to find her place, and I appreciated the nod to a female carving her place in a male-dominated world. It just disrupted the flow of the story for me. (Much as I recognize it was an established part of the Festival) It felt out of place and tacked on to fill pages.

Otherwise, though, I’m a convert and delighted to add a new author to my shelves.

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