Book Title: Akata witch
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Penguin group
Publishing date: 2011
Genre: Juju Fantasy
My name is Sunny Nwazue and I confuse people_ say hello to Sunny.
Sunny Nwaeze is a 12 year old girl who is introduced to the world of Leopard people. Leopard people are a group of magical people who practice the art of juju. She visits Leopard Knocks or Ngbe Abum Obbaw, Efik for Leopard knocks his foot, with her friends the brilliant Chichi of the Nimm, the wise Orlu Ezulike and the reckless Sasha Jackson. Over time Sunny learns how to read Nsidibi, how to conjure her spirit face and harness her powers all with the help of her friends. They are guided by Anatov one of the eight scholars in Nigeria who acts as an overall guardian even though he is only Chichi’s mentor. She learns that she is a free agent, a person without Leopard parents/ family, this along with the fact that she is an albino; who is believed to exist between the spirit world and the physical, doesn’t make life easier. Leopard people currency is chittim( a metallic coin that could be gold, bronze or copper) a reward that appears when a leopard person has acquired knowledge. She has to learn how to balance her new found life with the old and still keep her shit together. She and her friends also learn that they are part of an Oha coven destined to fight the terrible Black Hat Otokoto, a corrupt Leopard person who kills children in the preparation for welcoming Ekwensu the forerunner of the end of days. There are mistakes and slight mishaps, there is tension, lust and love as the four children evolve and become a single unit. There are also creatures like the Wasp artist, red ghost grasshopper and the floating tunguwa ball that add colour to the bland magic of juju.
What I like
Nnedi is a pacecetter in the world of juju-fantasy. She is one of the few people who writes fantasy relating to Africans and their culture and does it very well. I love the idea of the book, a girl, some friends, some annoying adults and most importantly, lots of magic. She used a lot of dialogue and still made the book understandable.
What I don’t like
Firstly, if I am asked “Do you like Akata witch?”, I would say No. The book is not bad but there were some grammatical errors( in my copy anyway) and I didn’t enjoy the overall story. She wrote it like a white woman trying to depict a truly African story. Sunny is Nigerian-American, so is Sasha and Anatov. There was an air of foriegnness that the book carried making it non-relatable to the typical African. Maybe it’s just me personally but I didn’t truly enjoy the book, it didn’t have the air of an African story teller at all. It sounded like she just heard a story put two-and-two together and didn’t do much research about it to further butress the true magic. There are so many creatures in Nigerian folklore that she could have added but she decided to use her own approach. It took me a while to read the book and being a lover of fantasy I really expected something better.
The dialogue was wayyy too much, it’s like all they did was talk and talk. We didn’t see Sunny practice her magic, even the one she would eventually use to banish Ekwensu. We didn’t see any of them practice their magic at all. She gave her characters very amusing names, I mean, what is sugar cream? Why depict Juju to the world with such a funny name? The characters spoke mainly Igbo but it didn’t seem like it. No sentence to express a bit of our language. I was just weak at the end of the book because it felt like brain drain and I had highly anticipated it because of its good press but as they say, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
It was definitely Anatov. He was such a jerk in a kind and loving way. He cared enough to not care if they lived or died. It even surprised Sunny when he asked her if she enjoyed the Zuma games.
To be honest, I had none. *shrugs*
I think the book is between a 3-3.5 out of 5 and it is readable. Just don’t expect too much. The book looks like a Nigerian Harry Potter and this isn’t me quoting someone.
About the Author
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American writer of juju-fantasy and Afro-futurism. She was born to immigrant parents in the United States but frequently visited Nigeria. Her other books include Lagoon(A British science-fiction association award finalist for best Novel), Who fears death( A world fantasy award winner for best novel), Kabu-Kabu(A publishers weekly book for 2013), Bintu series, Zahrah the wind seeker(2008 Woke Soyinka prize for literature) Akata witch, Akata warrior, The book of phoenix and The shadow speaker. Phew! That’s alot of books. She’s a professor at the University of Buffalo, New york. For more details, visit her website at www.nnedi.com
You can purchase the book or find more information about it from the places below.
-Roving heights Lagos.
-Patabah books limiter at Adeniran Ogusanya shopping complex.
-Glendora bookshop at Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja Lagos.
-Her website at http://www.nnedi.com.