Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Akata Warrior

Nnedi Okorafor
Completed 6/21/2022, Reviewed 6/21/2022
4 stars

This is the second entry in the Nsibidi Scripts trilogy.  It continues the story of Sunny Nwazue and her training as a Leopard, that is, a person with magical powers.  Sometimes, the sophomore effort of a series is not as good as the first, but this one matched the awesomeness of Akata Witch.  I enjoyed it just as much as the first.  It’s still set in the alternate Nigeria of the present where some people are magical and a whole other dimension exists side by side with the non-magical.  Sunny grows, being thirteen in this book, learns more magic, and has to fight an even more dangerous enemy.  The writing and imagination are simply terrific.  Yes, it’s YA so it’s easy reading, but it’s also engrossing, fast paced, and believable.  It was nominated for a Nommo Award and won the Locus YA Award.

The story continues as Sunny trains under her mentor, Sugar Cream, an older, very experienced, and very powerful Leopard.  Her relationship with her family is still strained as they are Lambs, that is, non-magical, and the rules say that she cannot let them know anything about her magic life.  However, they are beginning to realize that she is more than their disappointing albino daughter and give her more leeway, allowing her to spend more time with her Leopard friends and in training.  When her eldest brother goes away to college he gets caught up in with a dangerous confraternity.  Sunny and her friend Chichi must help to get him out.  Around the same time, she discovers that the masquerade, that is, masked demon, that was behind the evil Leopard of the last book is crossing over into the Lamb world and may cause the apocalypse.  It is revealed to Sunny that she is the one who must defeat the masquerade and save the world.  

The characterization in the book is still wonderful.  I love Sunny and her little coven, which includes Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha.  Chichi and Sasha still live dangerously and Orlu is still the one with the level head.  This time around, they are accompanied by a giant grasscutter, a large rodent that flies.  The grasscutter, known as Grashcoatah, is helpful and also precocious.  He has the power of invisibility, but loves to appear for a fraction of a second to Lambs to make them feel terror for what they believe is no reason.  This of course eventually leads to trouble.  However, he lightens the mood, throwing a little humor into the serious situation.

We also get a more descriptions of Sunny’s family, particularly her older brother Chukwu, whose name is also the name of the supreme deity.  Chukwu is in love with Chichi, but Sasha is also in love with her.  It becomes a love triangle as Chichi plays both boys against each other.  Sunny writes her brother off, considering he wrote her off most of her life, until he gets into trouble at university.  Chukwu actually grows and becomes a likeable person even through the tension with Chichi and Sasha.  I came to really like Chukwu and empathize with him as he became an unwilling aide to the coven.

I give this book four stars out of five.  It’s fast paced, exciting, and believable.  I enjoyed every page of this longest book in the trilogy.  The prose is terrific and the world building continues to expand in wondrous ways.  I already borrowed the third book from the library which I’m going to read after a break of one book, the July selection for Book Club.  

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