March 19, 2018

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Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor | SLJ Review

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redstarOKORAFOR, Nnedi. Akata Warrior. 496p. Viking. Oct. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670785612.

Gr 7 Up –Fans of Akata Witch will fall again for the wondrously intriguing fantasy world in modern-day Nigeria in this imaginative sequel. Ekwensu, the evil spirit that Sunny, now 13, and her leopard society friends defeated in the previous book has returned. He severs Sunny’s connection to her spirit face Anyanwu, and without it, Sunny feels lost and unsure of herself. The fact that the severing did not kill her means that the vision that she saw a year ago of a fiery apocalypse may come true. The prevalence of oil spills caused by companies in the Niger Delta makes the threat of a massive fire all too real. To restore Sunny’s spirit face, she and the others must find the giant spider spirit Udide, ask it to spin a flying grasscutter (a van-sized rodentlike creature) for them, then fly it to the city of Osisi in Lagos to prevent the world’s end. The magic in Sunny’s world is not always kind or gentle, and the punishment for breaking the rules can be brutal. This, alongside the novel’s portrayal of contemporary Nigeria with its cuisine, multiethnic groups speaking many languages, economic inequality between social classes, and threats against albinos, will make readers believe that this magical world could really exist. The story has playful elements too, like Grashcoatah the grasscutter and Sunny’s wasp artist. VERDICT Don’t miss this beautifully written fantasy that seamlessly weaves inventive juju with contemporary Nigerian culture and history.–Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2017 issue.

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