Thursday, April 11, 2019

Series Review of the Binti Series by Nnedi Okorafor

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

I originally started reading the Binti series last year after the first book made the Booktube SFF Award Shortlist.  The third book now made the list this year so I figured I might as well finish this trilogy of novellas.

Synopsis: "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."

My Review: I have been hearing a lot about this book over the past few months and it fit a couple of challenges for the Bibliophile Prints September Readathon so I gave it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. I normally really struggle with science fiction books and wrapping my head around any of the futuristic buildings/ships and any math or science involved, and I was really worried about this one not having enough description in such a short book. While it did take me a bit to get into the story, and a few things were a little vague and out there for me, the overall story and character pulled me in anyway. I really enjoyed how Binti's character developed throughout the story, gaining in confidence, even when faced with new and frightening events. This is a shorter novella length book, and it is a satisfying and fully developed story but there are more books in the series, and I am intrigued enough to continue.

My Rating: I had originally rated this about a Three Paw book but having read it over 6 months ago and I am still thinking about it, I have decided to increase my rating to Four Paws!


Synopsis: "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 abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.
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?"

My Review: I really enjoyed the first book in this novella series so wanted to continue it. I did find this story to be longer than the first, and I think the 3rd book is even longer almost to the point of not being novellas anymore. The first book was dark and dangerous but I honestly found this one to be even darker. I think it was due to all the emotional fall out from the trauma from the first book and the return to home. It was a great example of how we can return home physically but neither are we the same person nor is home the same place due to growth and experience. I didn't find this one as heart pounding and suspenseful but it was very interesting with all the emotional and mental turmoil.

My Rating: I wasn't as invested in this story, but I did like the premise of returning home and the portrayal of PTSD.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Synopsis: "The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

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.

Don't miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy."

My Review: I started reading Binti last year and really loved the first book, and the second book was rather emotional. This the third and I believe final book was a bit of a let down for me. Things got very weird and we kind of lost a bit of focus. It was difficult to follow the various traditions and customs of so many as well as all the new abilities. I did find that I loved New Fish, such a unique character and concept. Though things did get a bit odd, I still enjoyed it as a whole.

My Rating: Things got a little lost in this one for me, it started to become almost a chosen one trope combined with so many other tangents that it was really difficult to follow. This definitely took the sci-fi element a little too far from my comfort zone. I give it a rating of Two Paws.


Full Series Review: I was super intrigued with the first book, it was far better than I had ever expected after avoiding Sci-Fi for so long. I really enjoyed Binti's story and was at the edge of my seat the whole time.  The second book felt a little anti-climactic for me, and more of an internalized/personal growth story as opposed to the adventure of the first book.  The third book was a big let down for me, there were a lot of elements that were not really explained enough to me and a lot of characters and events that I wasn't able to really follow. It may be a result of me just lacking experience in the Sci-fi genre but it just didn't click with me.  As a whole I give the series a rating of Two Paws, but I do highly recommend the first book!

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