Well this was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while.
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor is about a young girl named Onyesonwu, which means (you guessed it) “who fears death?”. Onye is the product of the horrible rape of her mother, committed by a Nuru man who just assisted in wiping out her entire village. She becomes pregnant and gives birth to Onye, who is automatically feared and hated as child conceived in violence. As Onye gets older she starts showing signs of mysterious and powerful magic, which enables her to learn that someone even more powerful wants her dead. Onye sets off on a mission to learn more about herself and her powers and to finally confront the person that wants to kill her.
This is one of those books that I knew I was going to enjoy (and have no trouble finishing) while I was still in first 30 pages or so. Okorafor is a talented writer, and she completely sucked me in by starting with the narration of a passionate young girl, and immediately progressing to the absolutely terrifying story of how she was conceived. I’m not going to lie – the content in this book is disturbing, but that’s exactly the point. It’s a book about pointless hatred and prejudice, and one woman’s journey to overcome it. And I definitely enjoyed the scathing passages about how females were treated and perceived. Onye is a fantastic character. She’s fiery and indignant and all of the things I like to see in characters, especially those of the magical variety.
I don’t want to spoil too much – this is one of those books best read kind of blind, so you can experience each “oh shit” moment as they come. My only reservation about this story is that it felt a little Biblical at times. That didn’t necessarily retract from my appreciation, it was just something that was kind of always in the back of my mind.
Give it a whirl. It would make a great pick for #Diversiverse, which starts in just a couple days. Still time to sign up! I might grab another of Nnedi Okorafor’s books to read as a #Diversiverse pick myself…
Sarah Says: 4 stars