Lagoon (Nnedi Okorafor)

Lagoon is a novel by Nnedi Okorafor.
Finished on: 4.7.2020

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.

The film poster showing a drawing of various sea creature in the sea, and the shape of a woman among them.
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The Shadow Speaker (Nnedi Okorafor)

The Shadow Speaker is a novel by Nnedi Okorafor.
Finished on: 8.4.2017

In a post-nuclear future, Eiji lives in a small village in Nigeria. She has a difficult position there: her father used to be the dictator of the village, claiming that he did the bidding of the Red Queen, a much respected nomad. But when the Queen herself came to the village, she beheaded him instead of supporting him. In addition to her family history, Eiji also has magic powers – she is a shadow speaker, which singles her out even more. And now the Red Queen has come back to town with her two husbands and she’s about to drastically change Eiji’s life.

I enjoyed The Shadow Speaker, though I maybe didn’t like it quite as much as Zahrah the Windseeker. Eiji is a great character and the setting – that is connected to Zahrah’s world – is wonderfully unusual for Western readers.

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Zahrah the Windseeker (Nnedi Okorafor)

Zahrah the Windseeker is young adult novel by Nnedi Okorafor.

Zahrah is dada. Mostly that means that there are flowers growing in her hair and that people look at her weirdly – but dada people are also rumored to have special powers. But nobody is more suprised than Zahrah when that turns out to be true and she starts to fly. With the help of her best friend Dari she starts to explore her abilities in secret – in the Forbidden Jungle. But when Dari is bitten by a snake, it’s up to Zahrah to seek out a elgort egg, the one thing that might save his life.

Zahrah the Windseeker has a nice coming of age story with a sweet message. But it’s really the setting that makes this book special and fascinating. For one thing, it’s set in an African world, which is rare and interesting by itself. But the marriage between nature and technology (there are CPU plants. How awesome is that?) is amazingly perfect.

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