“The Shadow Speaker” by Nnedi Okorafor
Publication Date: 2007
Number of Pages: 357
When fifteen-year old Ejii witnesses her father’s beheading, her world shatters. In an era of mind-blowing technology and seductive magic, Ejii embarks on a mystical journey to track down her father’s killer. With a newfound friend by her side, Ejii comes face to face with an earth turned inside out — and with her own magical powers.
But Ejii soon discovers that her travels across the sands of the Sahara have a greater purpose. Her people need to be protected from a force seeking to annihilate them. And Ejii may be just the hero to do it.
Source: Nnedi Okorafor’s web site
One of the things I’ve liked the most about trying to read more books by authors of color is learning more about other cultures rather than having the same boring white male main character all the time. “The Shadow Speaker is set in Niger, West Africa in 2070 on a much altered Earth. There is much to learn about Ejii’s world and I think the author does a great job of world building. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and how she described the characters and the surroundings while keeping the story flowing quickly. I really enjoyed learning about Ejii and following along with her on her adventure.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the ending – once the climax happened the the resolution of everything felt a little bit rushed. It felt like the author knew the story needed to end so they summarized the ending by explaining that things happened rather than showing it happening. Also we find out that things happened while Ejii was away from home and I was left wanting to know more about what had happened there more than anything else. Granted that would be another story but still I’d have liked to know a bit more rather than leaving things where it ended. Despite the rushed ending I really did enjoy the book and would recommend it to anyone who’d like to read a great sf/fantasy book by an author of color. And I’ll definitely be reading more of the author’s works.
Be sure to check out the author’s web site linked above. Not only does the author have a blog and web site, her brother does video trailers for her books.