Aliens land in the ocean just outside Lagos. Their ambassador has taken human form and made contact with marine biologist Adaora, Ghanaian hip-hop artist Anthony, and soldier Agu. The three take the ambassador – who they have named Ayodele – back to Adaora’s home because she has a lab in her basement and wants to get a firmer grasp on Ayodele. But Adaora’s husband – who has been harboring suspicion that Adaora is a witch – doesn’t handle the surprise visit very well. And Ayodele has plans of her own which she hopes to achieve through the help of her chosen humans. As news of the alien landing spreads, chaos erupts in Lagos.
Lagoon has many strong parts, but I just didn’t really click with this novel. I enjoyed reading it, but I just didn’t really build a strong emotional connection to it.
There is a lot happening in Lagoon and the cast of characters is quite big. While the story does keep returning to Adaora, Agu, Anthony and Ayodele, there are several subplots and some get quite a lot of space, but then appear almost forgotten about later. I think that there was just too much going on for me to focus on any particular character(s), so the story lacked some depth for me.
But there are some parts of it that I outright adored. The chapter written from the point of view of a spider (and the other animal chapters). The Bone Collector is an amazing bit of new lore. And quite simply the fact that aliens decide to land in Nigeria for once, and not Washington, DC or maybe London.
I also liked what they do with the aliens’ arrival and how society is ultimately changed by it. Here, too, the story deviates from the usual Western takes of alien landings and I definitely enjoyed that deviation.
However, in the end there was something missing for me in the novel. Some connection or spark that made me really fall in love with it. But maybe that spark will be there for you – it’s worht a try.
Summarizing: a good read.