Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor


AKATA WITCH was amazing and I was so excited to read the second book in the series. In my review of the first book, I talked about how it kind of subverts a lot of the typical magical school tropes, and how much I enjoyed the world-building and transformative nature of the magic. AKATA WARRIOR starts off where the last book left off, although it does something really helpful: it has a recap of the last book in the beginning for those, like me, who haven't read the first book in a hot minute. I think if you're reading back to back, you could skip, but I found it really helpful as a reader.

AKATA WARRIOR isn't a bad book but it's much longer than it needed to be and felt draggy as a result. AKATA WITCH was about one hundred pages shorter but was a nonstop action ride of discovery and adventure. AKATA WARRIOR had the characters wandering around a lot, and way too many descriptions of the characters sitting down and reading books. I found the introduction of Nsibidi, a magical and mysterious script, interesting, as did the draining effects on the people who read it, and how the letters could move and form dream-like movie scenes, but I really could have left some of those passages behind in the dust. There were also too many scenes with characters wandering around, talking about what they were going to do. I would say AKATA WARRIOR is a mediocre sequel with some really great moments that stand out and probably make the book feel better than it really was in hindsight.

Some of my favorite moments or introductions: the idea and concept of Nsibidi, the giant flying Grasscutter, the showdown with the spider deity, Sunny's punishment for violating magic law by being thrown into a dark basement haunted by a djinn, and the way Sunny gets revenge on a group of gang leaders who are tormenting her brother. I also liked how the relationship between Sunny and her brothers seemed to deepen in this book. In the first one, the relationship felt more impartial/adversarial, but here, it started to feel like Sunny coming into her own gave her the ability to relate to her family on her own terms while also setting boundaries, and I really liked that.

So overall, not a bad book, but not a great sequel, either. I'll probably still read the third book but I hope it isn't as pointlessly long as this one was.

2.5 to 3 out of 5 stars

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