Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

****

Review:

Another one of the ‘novella that’s been sitting in my Kindle forever and I’m finally pulling it out for a bingo card’ books, I found Binti thoroughly enjoyable. Binti, a brilliant if impulsive 16-year-old is the first of her people to leave her planet and attend the famed Oomza University. On the way, her ship gets attacked by some sapient…tentacle monster(?). Still not totally sure what the Meduse are but their tentacle-y description is very cool. Maybe they’re jellyfish?

Anyways, I really enjoyed Binti’s character. Her determination and drive to attend Oomza and succeed where her people haven’t really reminded me of the drive I had in high school when applying to colleges. The fact that she made mistakes, didn’t always know what to do, freezes and starts just listing mathematical equations (treeing) (what an icon), really fleshes out her character and shows her youth.

Binti is extremely good at math, to the degree where it’s almost a superpower, and I LOVED that about her. She’s attending uni to improve her skills and be around likeminded people and I just could relate so damn much. My only complaint with this is that at one point in the book, she starts treeing and the book says her equations get more and more complicated. Immediately after, she lists the Pythagorean theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2, not very complicated) and I almost burst into laughter during an otherwise extremely tense scene.

Overall, I rate this book a 4/5. I loved the characters, loved the African-inspired sci-fi worldbuilding, and definitely enjoyed the plot. I just wish the novella was a little longer (or a book!) so we could see more of the world.


/r/Fantasy 2019-2020 Bingo Squares:

  • SFF Novella
  • Afrofuturism
  • #OwnVoices

Publication Date: 22 September 2015
Publisher: Tor.com
Format: eBook
Pages: 98
Word Count: ~21,600
ISBN: 0765384469

2 thoughts on “Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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