I’m embarking on a new research project, and I’ve followed several ideas up by reading books that I think will fit this budding thesis. I had read Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death two years ago for CBR7, and I didn’t know until recent that she had published a prequel of sorts. I wasn’t sure if either of these books would fit my project so a read/reread was in order. I do very much like Okorafor’s concentration on Afrofuturism, about which I know relatively little. I’ll be interested to see what comes out of her canon next.
The Book of Phoenix focuses on a young woman in a medical facility. She has no idea why she is there or how long she has been alive, except for what little she is told by her caretakers. She is two years old, but with the body and mental capacity with an adult. She is in love with Saeed, and then he finds out a truth, which causes everything to change. Phoenix discovers that her home is really her prison, and she seeks to escape in any way she can. Her journey is magical and leads her to Africa and back, the future of humanity resting within her hands.
Despite the fact that this is a prequel to Who Fears Death, it took me a really long time to figure out any connection to the original novel, and the connection still feels somewhat tenuous at best. Phoenix is a compelling narrator, and there are some vivid characters, but overall, this just didn’t grab and provoke me the same way that Who Fears Death did.
Cross-posted to my blog.