WHO FEARS DEATH
Who Fears Death is unlike anything this reviewer has ever read. Onyesonwu is an unforgettable character with a powerful, exciting, sad and amazing story. The cadence and rhythm of her narrative voice draws the reader in and won’t let go. Okorafor is a master storyteller who combines recent history, fantasy, tradition, advanced technology and culture into something wonderful and new that should not be missed.
Set at some point in a future Africa where magic is replacing technology (or possibly becoming indistinguishable from it), Onyesonwu is an Ewu — the child of a violent encounter between an Okeke woman and a Nuru man. Initially raised by her mother as a nomad in the desert, they eventually settle in a prosperous village, where Onyesonwu is treated as an outcast. Onyesonwu makes a few friends in this village, the three girls with whom she goes through a female rite of passage, and an Ewu boy, Mwita. As Onyesonwu grows up, she manifests great magical power and great anger — and she must master both if she is to fulfill her destiny and change the world. (DAW, Jun., 400 pp., $24.95)