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 gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.
Now, Binti has been a book on my TBR for quite a while but I’ve held off on reading it for months despite adoring other books by Nnedi Okorafor. The main reason being that as I loved her other books so much, I didn’t want to read this and then have to wait ages for the third book. I finally gave in and selected it as my first book of 2018 as then the wait for the third wouldn’t be as long – indeed at the time I wrote this it was just 10 days away and already pre-ordered so I’ll wake up to it on my Kindle.
So, for the actual review I don’t know where to begin. I joked about turning my thoughts of “AHH I LOVE THIS” into something coherant but it’s difficult because I literally loved everything about this book. I love Binti, I love the worldbuilding, I love the plot, I love the writing style. I adored this so much I read it in one sitting and dove straight into Binti:Home (which I would have read in one sitting too except it was very late so I took a break for sleep)
I went into this book knowing almost nothing about it since I’d not read any of the many reviews I’ve seen floating around and actually I felt that highly increased my enjoyment of it because it was all so new and refreshing. Nnedi Okorafor does a fantastic job of focusing on cultures that are often overlooked in SFF and Binti and her people are based on the Himba people of Namibia.
The book is actually a novella so it’s all quite fast paced but is incredibly well written to give us an excellent overview of the world that Binti lives in and of the various different alien races that exist. I finished this book hungry for more of this world and just couldn’t get enough of the glimpses we saw of the worldbuilding. Strong worldbuilding is always important to me and is an area that Nnedi Okorafor consistently excels at and I’d recommend reading her work for that alone.
In short, this is an absolutely brilliant novella that I heartily adore and I’m super pleased that it was the book I chose to start my reading challenge with. It’s certainly got the year off on a great footing and I would highly recommend this novella to everybody (especially since as a novella, it’s not that expensive either). Even if you’re not a SF fan, I can still see a lot of people enjoying this because the story is just so good. Indeed, it’s so good I struggle to express just how much I adore it and how much we need more books like this in SF!