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Akata Witch Kindle Edition
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Read Zahra the Windseeker, instead.
In the course of the story, Sunny discovers that her background and nature are far more confusing than she could have ever dreamed. She and Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, three other teens who become her close friends, all find that they are “Leopard People,” possessed of magical powers—a fact that they must hide from the Lambs, or, as Harry Potter would have said, the Mundanes. The other three are the children of Leopard parents, but Sunny is a “free agent,” born to Lamb parents—although she eventually learns that there is Leopard magic further back in her family tree. Much of the story focuses on the four, with the help of Leopard elders who act as their mentors, learning to identify their powers and use them appropriately. The elders also task them with finding and destroying Black Hat, a mysterious serial killer who preys on young children for magical purposes.
The book’s main strength is its Nigerian setting, which includes a variety of things from foods to forms of magic that will be unfamiliar and probably intriguing to most American readers. Sunny and her friends are all likeable, in a mischievous sort of way; inevitably they get into trouble, annoying their mentors, as they overreach in using their newfound powers—but their story, at root, is a very well-trodden one. I had heard a great deal about Okorafor as an author and was expecting something a bit more unusual—but maybe she held back a little because this was a young adult book, or because she wrote it early in her career. I will be interested to compare this book with its sequel, Akata Warrior, which just came out in 2017, six years after Akata Witch appeared.
When I sat down to read this book, I wasn't sure that I would like it. You see, I like my books for pure entertainment value. I want to be carried away to another world. Between the cover art, the title, and the Nigerian setting, I wasn't sure that this was that kind of book.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. This is an extremely pleasurable read. It's entertaining, yet it gave me fantastic insight into Nigerian culture. Mix that with a very plucky and likeable heroine and some magic that puts Harry Potter to shame, this book is a winner.
I really hope that more people take the time to at least download the sample. Within a few pages, I'm sure you'll want to read more.
What do I want? A sequel to this book and a movie version!
This is a captivating book. Characters and every-day situations I could relate to, and fantasy elements that kept it interesting. And, I learned a lot about the culture.
I have become a fan of Ms. Okorafor's work. She is very creative and talented, and her work has an interesting element of spirituality that appeals to me.