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Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi…
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Binti: The Night Masquerade (2018)

by Nnedi Okorafor

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Binti (3)

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3632544,721 (3.97)73
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» See also 73 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
I grew more and more disappointed with the Binti series as successive volumes were published: I just couldn't maintain my willing suspension of disbelief.

Throughout the series main character Binti acquires more and more pseudo-magical mental abilities. She starts off being able to do "treeing" (which appears to be a mix between concentration help, visualisation technique, sub-conscious processing capacity, and actual magic. It's never really explained.). An encounter with an alien race rewrites part of her dna, and so she becomes part alien, gaining telepathy and other psy-like powers. Then it turns out she's descended from another alien race, whose earthly kindred are capable of a pseudo-magical telepathy that is presented like a mental Instant Messaging programme, complete with relaying attached files, and she starts accessing those skills. There are more; I am not going to mention them all.

In the end, Binti unites so many superhuman and alien capabilities that the whole thing caves in on itself. None of her magical skills are adequately explained; they are not really differentiated either, and -- this is where I check out -- they all become interchangeable. Plot developments cease to have meaning, because anything that happens to or around Binti can be explained by appealing to at least three or four sets of magical abilities that can come into play. And so it's no longer important why or how things happen the way they do: the answer is an undifferentiated "because of interchangeable magical nonsense." At that point, any semblance of plot, tension, relevance or storytelling evaporates -- none of it means anything anymore.

Binti ended up turning into a cheap, massively overpowered Mary Sue; an interesting Afrofuturist series left me with a sense of worst-of-YA-fanfic. Disappointing. ( )
  Petroglyph | Apr 19, 2019 |
The first two Binti books didn't do a ton for me, but there seemed little reason not to read the third given it's only 200 pages and my wife already owned it. I actually think this was my least favorite Binti book yet, with the most muddled emotional throughline, an overly meandering plot, and too much happenstance. If you described these books to me, I would anticipate loving them, but for whatever reason, they just failed to grab me. Learning to appreciate diversity both in the world and in the self at space school seems like a great premise, but the books never adequately sell their protagonist. I do think it was a mistake to not have a book about Binti actually at space school; her return to school here rings hollow because we've never actually seen her there! There should have been a story between Binti and Home, and then Home and The Night Masquerade should have been a single, more focused book.
1 vote Stevil2001 | Mar 30, 2019 |
I'm sad to give this book a low rating, after liking the first two in the trilogy so much. I do love the world of the book - the way it deftly combines African cultural traditions with sci fi, not letting the science overwhelm the culture. But unlike the first two books, the plot felt YA space opera-y to me (I'm not the right reader for that) and was just too over-the-top for a series whose strength was its tone of quiet, measured intensity. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Binti travels through the desert toward home with her Enyi Zinariya guide, Mwinyi, another master harmonizer. She is afraid of bad news at home and indeed, there has been a fight between the Meduse and Khoush, and Binti's family's home, the Root, has been burned to the ground with her whole family inside. Nevertheless, she must broker a truce between the Meduse and the Khoush, or the war will escalate, with Himba land in the middle. She goes to the Himba council, who agree to back her up, but then don't show at the meeting of Meduse and Khoush - so, after seeing the Night Masquerade yet again, in full daylight, Binti calls on the deep culture of the Himba herself to bring the two sides together. And it succeeds - for a moment, before a shot rings out. Both sides exchange fire, and Binti lies dead in the middle.

Mwinyi then discovers Binti's whole family alive inside the Root, which is part of one of the Undying Trees (it's Romeo and Juliet timing). Binti's mother prepares her body for Mwinyi and Okwu to take into space, into the ring of Saturn, and Mwinyi calls New Fish to take them there. (New Fish is the offspring of Third Fish, the Miri-12 that carried Binti on her first trip to Oomza Uni.) In New Fish's breathing chamber, Binti is resurrected, and Mwinyi is able to tell her the good news about her family's survival. They visit the ring of Saturn and then return to Oomza Uni.

Quotes

I am not a follower, but there are times when all you can do is follow. (15)

"You try too hard to be everything, please everyone. Himba, Meduse, Enya Zinariya, Khoush ambassador. You can't. You're a harmonizer. We bring peace because we are stable, simple, clear. What have you brought since you came back to earth, Binti?" (Mwinyi, 23)

The type of harmonizer one was depended on one's teacher's worldview. (37)

A tree with strong roots laughs at storms. (130)

...he didn't really want to hear them express what he was working not to feel. (138)

"I'm afraid of what you'll find."
"We'll definitely find some interesting things, but nothing you can't deal with, Binti. You already are what you are and you're fine." (189) ( )
  JennyArch | Jan 22, 2019 |
Gosh this whole series was so good. ( )
  cavernism | Jan 11, 2019 |
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"Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse. Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her. Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all."--Publisher's description.… (more)

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