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Mini book review: ‘Who Fears Death,’ by Nnedi Okorafor

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“Who Fears Death,” by Nnedi Okorafor
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“Who Fears Death,” by Nnedi Okorafor

Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor won a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel for “Who Fears Death,” and it ain’t hard to see why. It’s a compelling, complex fantasy novel that takes place in a post-apocalyptic Sudan where the light-skinned Nuru oppress the dark-skinned Okeke. We follow Onyesonwu, a young woman on a quest to end the genocide of her people.

This is not necessarily an easy book to read. It’s a heavy story that involves rape, slavery, child soldiers, and female genital mutilation, but this book is not all violence. Amidst the brutality there is the beauty of a woman coming into her (magical) power and deciding to change the world.

If you like Octavia Butler, dystopian fiction, or hella detailed worldbuilding, try out Okorafor’s “Who Fears Death.”

Bonus for after you finish the book: Okorafor announced back in 2017 that “Who Fears Death” was in development to be a TV show on HBO with George R. R. Martin (yep, “Game of Thrones” George Martin) as executive producer.

— Patty Templeton

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“Who Fears Death,” by Nnedi Okorafor