Friday, December 18, 2020

Who Fears Death (Who Fears Death #1), by Nnedi Okorafor (author), Anne Flosnik (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, ISBN 9781441879851, June 2010

In a far-future Africa, in a region plagued by waves of genocide, a baby girl is born of rape, and her mother names her Onyesonwu, a name which means "Who fears death?" Her mother is Okeke, her mother's rapist Nunu. Onyesonwu herself is Awo, what the Okeke and Nunu alike call the products of such rape. She has sand-colored hair and skin, not to be mistaken for either the dark brown Okeke, or the golden-skinned Nunu who persecute them.

But Onyesonwu is different, with gifts her mother demanded of the gods, but which at first neither the girl herself nor those around her suspect. She makes friends, and rivals, and becomes the apprentice of an old, traditional shaman, who at first strongly resists teaching a girl.

As her powers manifest, Onyesonwu is pursued by resentment, fear, and a bizarre prophecy. Onyesonwu and her friends set out on a journey to confront the prophecy, and death, and the sorcerer who haunts her dreams.

There's wonderful, rich, layered world-building, here. There's also wonderful characterization, and complex, believable relationships, that develop and change and produce surprises along the way. I read science fiction and fantasy to experience new and different people, ideas, and things, and this offers that in abundance. Meanwhile, the plot carries us along to an unexpected and satisfying ending.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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