Book Review: “Akata Witch” by Nnedi Okorafor + Launching SIR Book Club

All I need to say about this book is YES.

Akata Witch is:

  • Inventive
  • Vibrant
  • Engaging
  • Imaginative
  • Exciting
  • Fun
  • Unique

Be sure to read to the bottom for information on how to join the virtual SIR Book Club—let’s read together!

THE BOOK:

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, book one of the Akata Witch series

GENRE (ACCORDING TO ME):

Middle Grade, Fantasy

SHITS GIVEN:

SIR book blog 5 shits given

ALL THE SHITS: This book earns the SIR Seal of Approval

SIR Seal of Approval for Great books

FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKE:

fantasy, juju (magic), vibrant imagery, fun on every page

IN A NUTSHELL:

After a young girl envisions the end of the world in a candle flame, she learns this strange ability is more than just a fluke: she’s a free agent, capable of juju, and has been chosen to join three other kids to defeat an evil child murderer.

WHY I LIKED IT:

First and foremost, it was one of the most creative things I’ve ever read. The imagination this author has is off the charts. Every page has a sense of whimsy typically exclusive to young kids. Nnedi paints a vivid, engaging, exciting, and often funny picture of magic in Nigeria.

To be blunt, it was nice to read something different. Not only is the main character not some lonely white girl in Manhattan who discovers she’s “the chosen one” (yawn), the magic is refreshing. Juju is its own unique thing.

I was truly impressed that not one inch of this story was ripped off from anything else. That’s tough to do in fantasy, especially younger fantasy. She stayed within expected tropes (the ones fantasy readers love) without telling the same story the same way. I fell in love with Leopard Knocks and all the strangeness of their world.

And I really appreciated that Sunny (the protagonist) needed her coven to be successful. It’s kind of frustrating when the main character, who knew nothing about magic at the beginning, is suddenly some all competent wizard by the end.

Though she certainly finds her power and overcomes her sheepish nature, Sunny isn’t some arrogant, overpowered Leopard Person. In fact, most of her coven is more powerful and skilled than her, as they should be since they grew up learning and studying juju.

This author is fucking talented. She has a pantheon of other books, several of which I’ve already purchased and added to my to-read shelf. I can’t wait to read book two in this series, Akata Warrior.

Where you can find it: Goodreads | Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Last year, Nnedi shared an exciting tweet: “My novel Who Fears Death has been optioned by HBO and is now in early development as a TV series with George RR Martin as executive producer.”

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

I haven’t read the award-winning novel, but after reading this book, the fact HBO picked it up, and that George RR Martin is more interested in it than he was in finishing his own series = this is gonna be awesome. Keep your eyes out for it, and maybe read it beforehand.

More about Nnedi from Goodreads:

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American author of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults and a professor at the University at Buffalo, New York. Her works include Who Fears Death, the Binti novella trilogy, the Book of Phoenix, the Akata books and Lagoon. She is the winner of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards and her debut novel Zahrah the Windseeker won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. She lives with her daughter Anyaugo and family in Illinois. Learn more about Nnedi at Nnedi.com.

Where you can find Nnedi: Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Follow Nnedi to keep up with all the exciting things happening with all her awesome books!

Launching the SIR Book Club

I’m hosting a virtual book club using Slack and I want you to join me! Books are more enjoyable when read together.

How it will work:

  • On a monthly basis, I’ll let you know what book is next on the review list on the blog and in the Slack channel.
  • A week before the discussion officially launches, I’ll post book discussion questions as a guide.
  • When it’s time, the feed will begin and you can contribute your thoughts live! I’ll be on for an hour to chat with anyone who wants to discuss, both on Skype and on the Slack channel.
  • Can’t make the live time? No worries—the beauty of a virtual book club is that you can join in whenever you have time. I’ll respond as I can, and any other SIR peeps can chime in as they please.

FAQ:

Can anyone join? Yes, and if you are offended by profanity or violent/lewd reading material, this isn’t the book club for you. Though reading will vary from middle grade to adult, I don’t limit my reading options—sometimes things get pretty R-rated. Also, I have a potty mouth, and I’m not inclined to censor it here.

I don’t understand how Slack or Skype work. Can you help? Yes! Send me a note ([email protected]) and I’ll do my best to help.

Do I have a say in what we read? Definitely. You’re welcome to submit a book idea anytime you like and I’ll take a poll based on submissions.

Can we talk about other books besides the monthly pick? Please do! Feel free to use the Slack channel as an opportunity to meet other people who enjoy reading as much as you. You can chat on it as much or as little as you like. We may even create sub-channels for different genres. Who knows?!

This month’s book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Live discussion time: April 21, 2018 at 12pm CST

Click here to join the Slack Channel!

Share that link with anyone you think might be interested in sharing the book magic.

Never stop reading,

*This review is purely my own opinion. I read this book for fun and am sharing it because I wanna.