Review of Nnedi Okorafor’s AKATA WARRIOR

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Note to self: When there’s a spider silhouette on the cover, you must prepare for arachnids to play a prominent role in the tale. And the resulting intrusion of said spiders into your thoughts and dreams after you insist on staying up reading. (Is it fair to blame Ms. Okorafor for the resulting nightmares?)

Arachnophobia issues aside, Ms. Okorafor delivered another solid descent into the world of juju in all its varied layers. Sunny’s growth – physically and magically – is portrayed so beautifully. And the wrenching tear between her and Anyanwu defies description. It’s a loss of something vital and a gain of understanding. A journey toward self-recognition and a failure of connection. The intertwining imagery leaves you breathless and determined to keep turning pages.

The power (no pun intended) in this book leaves you gasping. There’s so much pain and threat, from Chukwu’s confraternity issues to the final confrontation with Ekwensu. Yet Ms. Okorafor balances each deftly with moments just long enough to catch your breath – a break between the assaults of a powerful djinn. It’s a delicate dance that forces you to set the book down simply to gather your thoughts. Her way with words is beyond astounding.

My only complaint was the summary at the beginning. I didn’t understand why the recap was needed, unless it was intended to allow the book to “stand on its own.” It took away some of the humor and character of the Obi Library’s position and warning. I recognize that, typically, one would be reading the second volume at least a year after the first, but it still felt unnecessary. Sunny’s tale isn’t one that’s easily forgotten. It was out of place and unnecessary. I’d have preferred that those reminder notes be trimmed aside.

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