Book Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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Title: Binti

Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Genre: Sci-Fi/Novella

Number of Pages: 96

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


 

 

Binti is the first book in a trilogy of novellas and after getting a brief taste of the different alien races and the overall world-building, I see a lot of potential for the later books here. That said, on it’s own terms I found it to be a little underwhelming. This novella’s eponymous character is a highly intelligent young woman who lives on a planet of a race resembling indigenous Africans, who are brilliantly innovative but are also strongly adverse to communicating with other species.

 

Binti wants to go to a space academy that will help her hone her skills and harness her potential, but she has to run away and cut off all contact with her family to follow that dream. Shit hits the fan quickly when everybody on the ship she’s taking to the academy is brutally killed by jellyfish-like creatures with staggering telekinetic powers. Since she can’t fight and can’t hide, Binti chooses to attempt diplomacy with vengeful aliens of whom she knows nothing of their culture.

 

One of my favorite things about this book was the creatures Binti is forced to deal with and the brief descriptions of other aliens that occupy her diverse universe. Unfortunately, Binti herself did not grab my interest the way some of the other parts of the book did. I didn’t feel she had much of a character arc because she was portrayed as brave and intelligent and ethical going in, so I didn’t see a whole lot of improvements to be made in her hero’s journey.

 

Other than traits specific to her race (like their unique treatment of their hair,) nothing about her stood out to me that much. However, I’m still interested in reading the two other books in the series and seeing if the character grows on me. There’s a lot of interesting things that can be done with the world the author has created, and I hope that there will be more of an emotional component to the future installments.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

  1. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now, I have the collection on my shelf. I hope I find it at least as enjoyable as you did. Your description makes me a little nervous!

    Liked by 1 person

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