Saturday, June 14, 2014Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Title: Akata Witch
Auhor: Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Viking Children's
Num. of Pages: 352 pages
Published: April 2011
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing-she is a "free agent," with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
I found this book through a suggestion made by a blog I follow on Tumblr. I have to say that the suggestion didn't disappoint me.
Akata Witch follows the story of Sunny, a 12 y.o. albino Nigerian girl. One day she befriends Chichi, Sasha, and Orlu from whom she learns about the Leopard, people with the ability to use juju--magic. Under the tutelage of Anatov, Sunny and her 3 new friends explore the new magical world.
At first impression, this book reminds me to Harry Potter. A lot. The misfitting main character, some people with magical ability (they are called Leopard in this book) and some who don't (the Lamb), an object as personal magic channel (the wand, but they use juju knife here), and the magical city (the Leopard Knocks reminds me of Diagon Alley). However, this book doesn't try "to be" Harry Potter. It stands on its own foot.
The first magical concept I like is "the bigger the flaw, the bigger the magical talent is". For example, Sunny, who is albino, is able to enter both the human world and the spirit world. She also has the power of invicibility, thanks to her albino. Orlu is another example. Suffering from dyslexia, he has the power to undo all kind of juju.
Another interesting concept is the "money" system. The Leopard people use chittim as their money. The interesting idea is that you could get chittim every time you learn something new. Which emphasize that knowledge is the wealth for Leopard people.
While I do really enjoy the magical world and the African vibe of the book, I found the story to be a bit so-so. Maybe because this is an introductory book, therefore it contains a lot of explanation about the community, characters, and the magic system. Leaving narrow room for action. I even feel like the climax is rushed.
Overall, I really enjoy the book and still curious about the second book (which, apparently, will publish in 2014). It's a 3.5 stars for me.
This book is for the following reading challenges:
- 2014 Young Adult Reading Challenge
- 2014 New Authors Reading Challenge
View all my reviews