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Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

Zahrah the Windseeker

by Nnedi Okorafor

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3342047,450 (4.11)35
  1. 00
    AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers by Ivor W. Hartmann (goddesspt2)
  2. 00
    The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Zahrah the Windseeker and The Shadow Speaker occur within the same world-system, and those who have read Zahrah the Windseeker will find that it makes The Shadow Speaker a richer experience. Still, both delightfully stand alone and it is not necessary to have read both to enjoy these excellent coming of age stories.… (more)

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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I was super excited to read this book even though I had to wait for my local library to order it. Well worth the wait! I adored Akata Witch and Nnedi Okorafor has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I can always connect with her characters.

"You don't have to explain. It's OK to care about what other people think, but you should give a little weight to what you, yourself, think."


In Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor (308 pages), Zahrah's fourteen and Dada, so she doesn't fit in the Kirki village of the Ooni Kingdom. Her Dada heritage gives her long dreadlocks embedded with plants and an undeveloped wind power. Because Ooni people are so image-conscious, she sticks out like a snake with fingers. After Zahrah gets her first period (menstruation cycle), her wind powers begin to fully develop. Through a series of events surrounding the forbidden Greeny jungle, Zahrah's best friend Dari gets injured. The cure for Dari's comatose state is in the jungle, and this is where the story truly begins. I felt so bad for Zahrah in the jungle like why does my baby have to go through so much pain?

Another quote I like, taken from when Zahrah was on her journey:
"Look at you. You're just as strange and misunderstood as the jungle. It'll welcome you, I'm sure of it."

As much as I like romance, I love the fact that the story is dedicated to Zahrah's growth as a character. That's not to say there aren't any adorable hints thrown in.

I love the names, Zahrah and Dari, they are so pretty!

I also enjoy the fantasy elements. Flower computers! Zahrah has a lot of plant technology in her world. A person can plant a seed and water it to grow a computer. Very imaginative.

I could tell early on that I would love this book. Black people in a fantasy setting? Adorable characters? An innocent friendship? Nnedi is cruel; She wants me to buy this book and parade it on my bookshelf.

What did I dislike? Hmm... If I had to nitpick, the ending could be considered a bit anticlimactic. Also, certain stuff at the hospital was dragged out a little long.


Zahrah! I completely sympathize with her. She's an adorable crybaby, who doesn't yet know her potential. Her journey is not only through the Greeny jungle, but to grow more confident. She's my fictional baby! Zahrah has a real "aww " factor.

Dari, the best friend, is my favorite. He's a middle-school activist, who has a talent for talking. The village people and everyone at Dari (and Zahrah)'s school hang onto his ever word. Since he found an interest in Zahrah, as a bold little kid, the two have been friends ever since.

I like the mentor angle Nsibidi provides for Zahrah. She's one cool chick! I almost wish she had been featured more in the story.

The simplest characters, like the frog, all play an important part in the story and Zahrah's life.


Read this. Read this. Read this.

I liked this book a lot and will add it to my bookshelf when I get some extra cash. ( )
  DestDest | Oct 11, 2018 |
I do believe I need to read everything this author has written. Yup. ( )
  hopeevey | May 20, 2018 |
13-year-old Zahrah's quest to save her best friend, Dari, is an action-packed adventure through a forbidden jungle that will empower young readers, especially introverted Black girls, to believe in their own power and abilities. Now unfortunately, unlike Zahrah, those young readers' hidden powers aren't likely to be the ability to fly, but you know, having a voice you're not afraid to use or being okay with who you are, is nothing to snub your nose at either.

I loved the blend of African folklore with science fiction. Okorafor's love of animals and nature shine through every page and I loved that. Plants and technology. All-knowing pink frogs. A confused and misunderstood war snake. A village of gorillas. Mischievous trees who protect their bees. All that is only a sampling of life on the planet Ginen.

3 stars
(Simply because its audience is definitely the younger side of YA. I'd actually classify this as Middle Grade because Zahrah is a quiet 13, still coming into her own young adult womanhood.) ( )
  flying_monkeys | Feb 9, 2018 |
This was a really sweet book about a young girl born with “dada-locks” (dreadlocks with vines growing through them). Her hair marks her as different and just a little fey, which makes her an outsider. She and her best friend decide to explore The Forbidden Greeny Jungle, and have strange and dangerous encounters. Zahrah lives in a tree city, where people grow computers out of plant seeds and grow buildings instead of building them. Her world is far more interesting than the book itself, which is marked as YA but is really more a children’s book. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This was a nice story but I never did get used to the narrator's voice. It seemed to be pitched for young readers, more so than other YA books I've read recently. For me, it felt a little choppy, but the world-building was really interesting, and it was a nice coming-of-age adventure/quest story. ( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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To the late Virginia Hamilton, who showed me that people could fly, and my father and mother; who gave me the means to soar

The eyes of eagles see far
First words
When I was born, my mother took one look at me and laughed.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Green vines growing in hair,
make an outcast of the wise,
that will save her friend. (AgentBookworm)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547020287, Paperback)

In the Ooni Kingdom, children born dada—with vines growing in their hair—are rumored to have special powers. Zahrah Tsami doesn’t know anything about that. She feels normal. Others think she’s different—they fear her. Only Dari, her best friend, isn’t afraid of her. But then something begins to happen—something that definitely marks Zahrah as different—and the only person she can tell is Dari. He pushes her to investigate, edging them both closer and closer to danger. Until Dari’s life is on the line. Only Zahrah can save him, but to do so she’ll have to face her worst fears alone, including the very thing that makes her different.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:43 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Zahrah, a timid thirteen-year-old girl, undertakes a dangerous quest into the Forbidden Greeny Jungle to seek the antidote for her best friend after he is bitten by a snake, and finds knowledge, courage, and hidden powers along the way.

» see all 2 descriptions

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Nnedi Okorafor is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Average: (4.11)
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2.5 1
3 13
3.5 3
4 29
4.5 7
5 23


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