Review: Binti, & Binti: Home

This series has been described as “African girl leaves home, comes home, becomes home”. Also, Nnedi Okorafor is on Twitter and she’s awesome.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

I loved this. My only complaint is that it’s too short! (It’s a novella).

There is so much in this that just gives a twist to something, and makes it different: mathematics as a mix of divination and foretelling, bound up with meditation; an alien culture and mindset, and the struggle to both interpret and understand it; a university in the space age, for all races and peoples; and a girl leaving her home, her culture, her land – yet carrying them with her, and binding them into her new life.

The story itself is simple, and sweet; a journey from home to a new place, a new adventure and all the emotions and trials that go along with it. It’s complicated by troubles during the journey, but Binit finds new strengths, ways around, new ways to think.

If you haven’t yet read this, and you like fantasy or sci-fi – read it. Even if you don’t like it, it will open your mind!

Binti: Home

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders. But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace. After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

Still as beautiful, and still too short!

This novella is more about the culture, the home, the land; this is the girl who has been away and changed returning to a place that hasn’t changed, and how both she and it adapt. In Binti’s case, she’s also returning with her good friend – who happens to be a deadly enemy of one of her homeworld’s tribes, and terrifying and confusing to everyone else. The story is one of adaption and custom, of being a stranger in a familiar land, of family and home and belonging.

There’s also the surprise that Binti has seen the Night Masquerade, a rare and unusual sighting – and that her family and tribe may contain secrets and surprises that she does not expect…

Read the first one, read this one, and wait impatiently for the third!

The third book in the series, Binti: The Night Masquerade, is out in January 2018.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

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