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Akata witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata witch (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Nnedi Okorafor

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4333324,328 (4.01)27
Title:Akata witch
Authors:Nnedi Okorafor
Info:New York : Viking, 2011.
Collections:Your library
Tags:age: young adult, genre: fantasy, read 2013

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Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (Author) (2011)

  1. 10
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (questionablepotato, amanda4242)
    questionablepotato: I loved this book(which is admittedly better written than the HP stuff) for the same reasons I loved Harry Potter. Both books have likeable kids learning about themselves and their worlds, a vivid and unique sense of place, and really, really awesome world building.… (more)
  2. 10
    The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (questionablepotato)
  3. 00
    AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers by Ivor W. Hartmann (goddesspt2)

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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
That was super fun! Great characterization, plenty of action, and an imaginative setting all made for a great read. There was a level of predictability that made it hard for me to enjoy everything that was going on with the characters — the romances, especially. I'm hoping they will reach a new level of sophistication in the next book. Can't wait!! ( )
  srsharms | Jul 20, 2017 |
This book was AMAZING. It was so good: fun, exciting, fast, and so original. I can see why it might be likened to the Harry Potter book--there are four young teens, one of whom, Sunny, belatedly realizes that she has magical powers. The four kids learn magic together in order to face a very evil foe that only they can defeat. The basics are similar, and there are also brilliant details like strange magical animals and lots of food and stern but ultimately loving teachers and magical objects. But besides these very basic elements, there is very little that is similar to the Harry Potter books. Akata Witch is, I think, for older children (even though Sunny is 12), because it is much scarier and darker than the Harry Potter books, even the later ones. Akata Witch is just so original: Okorafor has created a version of our world that is just so rich and well-thought out. This book is not light and fun like a lot of YA, but there is a lot of humor, and the four main characters are great: funny, brilliant, kind, and confident. Sunny has a great voice, as do all of the main four. Okorafor is brilliant at world building, and I love that she has created a very magical world, one that is based on African mythology, which is quite rare in western fantasy. Unlike the Harry Potter books, Akata Witch does not feel whimsical and old-fashioned. Instead, it is gritty and very firmly rooted in our world, in spite of the magic. The kids are not separate from the rest of the world ("Lambs" are non-magical people, "Leopards" are magical people), at boarding school for instance, and thus there is much more of a sense of our world intermingling with the magical world. This is such an amazing book, and I absolutely love that it is coming from a very different point of view, with a very different culture, than the vast majority of western YA and fantasy. ( )
  vanderschloot | Jul 13, 2017 |
Yes, this is another "chosen kid" book, but the Nigerian setting and Okorafor skillful telling make it a refreshing take on the old trope (which long predates Harry Potter). My only complaint about Akata Witch is that the climax is too rushed, but I really enjoyed the rest of it and will definitely read the sequel.

Received via First to Read. ( )
  amanda4242 | Jul 10, 2017 |
We've all read this story. It's an old standard that's possibly been around, in one form or another, for millennia: A young person (in our case a girl, Sunny Nwazue,) an outsider bullied by her family and peers, discovers that she has within her a talent, a power, and with her few friends goes on to save the world from a horrible villain.

What makes this story worth reading is the atypical setting, the atypical style of magic, and the atypically excellent skill of the author to present a character that one cares for within a world that some people today might believe actually exists! The story is set in Nigeria, where some people do have a belief in Voodoo, so when Sunny, an emigrant from the United States, starts to display a talent for juju and becomes identified as a "Leopard Person" (an actual cult in Nigeria,) the boundary between reality and fantasy becomes quite blurry for the reader. Is the author, Nnedi Okorafor, describing a fantasy world of her own creation or is she describing, or at least mixing in, elements of the Voodoo beliefs and juju practices that play a part in the lives of some present day Nigerians? Whatever the answer, Akata Witch takes full advantage of the mystique and the ambivalence.

As Nnedi's world slides between reality and fantasy, so does her protagonist, Sunny. She is interstitial, someone between, sliding from a 21st century reality of school bullies and a father who beats her to a way of dealing with the world through magic; from a material realm to a spiritual realm; from an American girl with Nigerian parents to a Nigerian emigre, not completely accepted. She is a black girl who is an albino. She is someone who exists between realities but partakes in all.

Although the story is directly aimed at the middle school / young adult market, any adult with an interest in a fascinating take on a very ethnically-based fantasy would enjoy it. I certainly did! My only complaint about the story and the reason I'm giving it four stars rather than five is the way the climax was handled. I felt that the particular nature of Sunny's ability at that crucial juncture required more extensive foreshadowing, as it had a distinct deus ex machina flavor without that elaboration.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  TempleCat | Jun 22, 2017 |
Sunny is an albino girl in Nigeria, and so she has always felt different from everyone else. But little did she know that she's actually a Leopard, magical humans that live among us unsuspecting Lambs. Two of her schoolmates introduce her to the Leopard world, and once she is initiated her albinism turns from a hindrance to a gift. But not everything is fun and games, because the Lamb newspapers are full of stories of a madman kidnapping and murdering children in Nigeria and Sunny and her friends are the only ones who can stop him.

The plot of this book leaves a little to be desired, but the world-building is AMAZING. Every fascinating detail is well-thought out, from a library full of magic books to a magical wrestling match to cute magical creatures only Leopards can see. I'm dying to read more and will be picking other books by Nnedi Okorafor ASAP. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  norabelle414 | May 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
"Akata Witch" is a much-needed addition to the many titles featuring Caucasian protagonists — one that will appeal to readers who are interested in foreign cultures, tradition and beliefs, or those who live between cultures themselves.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Okorafor, NnediAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoover, JimCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamaki, JillianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Here, in the new venture, the extraordinary, the magical, the wonderful, and even the strange come out of the ordinary and the familiar.

--Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o
To Sandra Marume, the spunky Igbo girl with the sharp tongue and mysterious ways, who just happened to be albino.

It's been awhile, but I hope I captured you well.

And to my mother, who was terrified of masquerades as a kid and still is.  This book dances with them.  Enjoy.
First words
I've always been fascinated by candles.  (prologue)
The moment Sunny walked into the school yard, people started pointing.  (Chapter 1)
Her dumb brothers never cooked. She didn't think they even knew how! A human being who needs food to live but cannot prepare that food to eat? Pathetic.
So there you have it. All you need to know to get started. As I have repeated incessantly throughout this book, there is no direction you can turn that does not face you toward certain death.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670011967, Hardcover)

Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing - she is a "free agent," with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:05 -0400)

Twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, an American-born albino child of Nigerian parents, moves with her family back to Nigeria, where she learns that she has latent magical powers which she and three similarly gifted friends use to catch a serial killer.

(summary from another edition)

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