Sunday, June 2, 2019

Binti: Home (Binti #2), by Nnedi Okorafor, ISBN 9780765393104, January 2017

This is the second novella in Okorafor's Binti trilogy; I previously reviewed the first, Binti.

Binti has been at Oomza Uni for a year, studying mathematics while her Meduse friend, Okwu, studies weapons technology. Binti, of course, is now partly Meduse herself, with her hair replaced by tentacles that leave her permanently connected to the Meduse. On the one hand, she's truly enjoying her education and her life there. On the hand, she's still suffering from PTSD and experiencing panic attacks, after the traumatic events on the ship The Third Fish that brought her to Oomza.

She's also intermittently experiencing rages that she barely contains, and that, as a master harmonizer, are simply wrong. She fears she's broken something within her by leaving her home in defiance of the customs and wishes of her people.

So she decides that, at the end of the term, she needs to go home, and go on pilgrimage with other Himba women. She also decides to bring Okwu with her.
The first novella, Binti, is basically a Heinlein coming of age story, and I really enjoyed her. However, it was, barring a young African girl who is really African and not just someone we're told has that background, not a lot more than a Heinlein coming of age story. Binti: Home is a significantly richer, fuller story, giving us more background on her family, her culture, and the world they live in. This is includes more about the technology that isn't as visible in their culture as ours is in our culture, but every much a part of their lives--and secrets Binti never knew about her own family.

Her welcome home isn't as warm as she had hoped, and perhaps not helped by her decision to bring Okwu with her, given the history of conflict between the Meduse and the Himbas' neighbors, the Koush.

I found it a really enjoyable and absorbing story. Fair warning, though: It ends on a cliffhanger, and you'll want to have Binti: The Night Masquerade ready to hand when you finish reading Binti: Home.


I bought this book.

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