Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Bout of Books 38 #boutofbooks Day 3 #readathon #bookreview Binti by Nnedi Okorafor #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Bout of Books 38! Day 3
On Goodreads, I have bookshelves dedicated to reviews I've written about books I've read during previous BoutOfBooks events. Here's the current one:

My Book Reviews can be found on:
Please follow @JLenniDorner on BookBub Follow and friend author J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads please J Lenni Dorner on Storygraph

Today's Bout of Books prompt is Celebrating Diversity

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

This short fiction was highly enjoyable and very fast-paced. It wove real culture and science fiction together perfectly. The main character is easy to root for because she's such an outsider and so deeply devoted to her love of learning. I got this book on June 15, 2022, and I am so glad I took an hour to finally read it. This is my honest and unbiased review.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves to learn, enjoys science fiction, and wants a great read with a Himba main character from Namibia (Namib) in Southern Africa. In the book, her people have many brilliant advancements and a strong connection to the earth. There is a passage about her hair that feels so deeply meaningful to me and is an excellent summary of her values:

{Heru touches her hair} "You have exactly twenty-one," he said. "And they're braided in tessellating triangles. Is it some sort of code?"
I wanted to tell him that there was a code, that the pattern spoke my family's bloodline, culture, and history. That my father had designed the code and my mother and aunties had shown me how to braid it into my hair.

It's that beautiful? I would give this book five stars on that passage alone. This is what a good diverse book should do, show how even something as easily overlooked as hair can hold such a deep meaning and reveal a great deal about someone. Binti describes herself as having dark skin and extra-bushy hair because her father's side has the blood of the Desert People. 

The best science fiction description in this book, to me, was the ship. "Third Fish was a Miri 12, a type of ship closely related to a shrimp." Space travel inside a living creature that had been genetically enhanced for travel. The ship, being a living beast, makes sounds and quakes because it has functional bowels. A living ship is a beautiful concept. I do not read a lot of scifi, but this really caught my attention.

This opens with immediate action. Then, just as the story seems to settle for a moment, there's an unexpected twist full of heart-pounding action. Eventually, Binti has to make a choice. I do wish it had been a more well-informed decision, that she knew what she'd actually sacrifice, that the Meduse were more forthcoming. They believe humans only understand violence. 

A mirror to society, to a real-life issue, is presented in a discussion as to whether a museum or university should keep a prestigious and high-valued piece or return it to the people to whom it belongs. 

This feels like it could be realistic fiction in the future. Math lovers will really enjoy parts of this story. As all goals are met, there is a happily-ever-after (or happy for now). There is a chilling scene with violence.  It's action-packed, fast-paced, and has many plot twists. The story felt mostly unpredictable. It was very fun, entertaining, and informative to me. 

1 comment:

  1. so happy you met Binti! It's actually book 1 of a trilogy, and the other books, Home, and the Night Masquerade, are just as good, and short.
    I actually did a short video on the trilogy on Instagram a few years ago:


Welcome! Please let me know how to find you to say hello back.
What is your favorite fiction genre to read?