Review: Who Fears Death

Who Fears Death Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Conceived in violence, born of love, and raised in a mixture of exile and community, Onyesonwu must find her way in a world that rejects her kind (ewu--people born from the two groups/races) within this post-apocalyptic afro-futurist novel. Like Okorafor's other novels, readers slip very quickly into this story with Onyesonwu's first-person narrative that shifts times sometimes to fill in the past but largely moves forward from the day when she begins to realize that she has magical abilities to her confrontation with her father and her fate. The story follows Onyesonwu as she finds a formidable partner, a group of friends, and learns much about her magical abilities, the complex nature of the world, and what it means to be truly powerful. However, also like Okorafor's other novels, it's more than just a singular story. Okorafor interweaves stories about the relationships between lovers, amongst friends, between parent and child as well as mentor and student. These elements of the characters' lives allow many of them to transcend the violence and turmoil they face in a world where such prejudice leads to genocide. Yet, the morals of these characters are no simple or perfect; they are complicated by the things they witness, experience, and feel. It's a powerful novel that can be brutal, beautiful, and visceral all at the same time and leaves readers feeling satiated in the journey.

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