Sunday, July 3, 2022

Akata Woman

Nnedi Okorafor
Completed 7/3/2022, Reviewed 7/3/2022
3 stars

I was a little disappointed with the third installment of the Nsibidi Scripts series.  It didn’t have the same spark of the first two, Akata Witch and Akata Warrior.  In this one, Sunny and the gang go on a journey to find a scroll stolen from a god.  It took me about half the book to get into it, and then I became somewhat disinterested in the finale.  I can’t quite put my finger on why yet.  Maybe it will unravel as I write this review.

This book picks up when Sunny is almost sixteen years old.  She and Chichi must find the scroll that was stolen from Udide the spider god many years back by Chichi’s mother.  If they don’t, Udide will wreak havoc on their lives and the sisterhood of Nimm, of which Chichi and Sunny are descendants.  They don’t know where it is, so they, along with Orlu and Sasha, travel to where the Nimm live, even though it may mean death for Chichi because of her mother’s transgressions.  They get the info they need, but not without a lot of chaos, and then begin the journey to find the scroll.  The journey takes them across multiple planes of existence, filled with dangers.

The star of the book is once again the world building.  Just when you think that everything is pretty well described in the previous books, Okorafor throws in a different plane of existence, where there are two suns and the people there think Earthlings are not human.  There are some interesting animals there and a fighter pilot from the Biafran War who accidently crash landed in this alternate dimension.  

Okorafor also does a good job of interweaving actual history into the story, giving us a description of the independence movement for Biafra from Nigeria.  Because actual events had been woven so seamlessly into the last two books, when she introduces the Biafran issues and the violent Nigerian response in this one, it flows into the plot naturally.  

I didn’t feel there was as much character development as there could have been in this book.  I felt Okorafor relied on everything we knew about the characters already.  I think this is because there isn’t much interaction with the mentors, except for a little with Sugar Cream.  Sunny’s family is barely in this one, although her father is the same violent patriarchal asshole.  The story really relies on the plot rather than the growth of the characters.

I give this book three stars out of five.  It’s okay, just not in the same league as the first two.  It’s a story about a journey, and that journey is just not quite as interesting as Sunny’s previous labors.  Given the title, I think I would have liked to have seen Sunny perhaps two years later, a little more mature, and little more in love with Orlu.  I would have also liked to have seen her get through more than just one level of magic maturity, as her labors indicate she is doing things well beyond a first level Leopard person.  I’m not positive, but there may be another book in the series, and I would like to see where it takes Sunny and her friends, hopefully, a little older, and dealing as more mature juju wielders.

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