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Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor
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Zahrah the Windseeker

by Nnedi Okorafor

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1991659,063 (4.17)14
  1. 00
    AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers by Nnedi Okorafor (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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I love the world Zahrah lives in; if I'd been a kid when I read this, it would have been one of the worlds I wished I could go to--like Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-sky books, or Lawrence Yep's Sweetwater, or Narnia. It's a world in which everything is hyper-alive and growing, even the technology (lightbulbs and CPUs are cultivated like garden vegetables), and flower petals are used for currency, a futuristic, alternate-reality, West-Africa sort of world, with baobab and iroko trees, mangos and cashew fruits. And Zahrah, who's already made to feel strange because of the vines and flowers that grow in her hair, discovers she has another, very wonderful, but for her, very daunting, power. She has a pal, Dari, who's as inquisitive as she is timid, and with his help, she starts investigating this new power. Eventually this leads the two of them into the Great Greeny Jungle that surrounds their country--a place where the threat of death lurks under every leaf and behind each tree.

I loved the many people who help Zahrah, whether it's Dari, or the mysterious woman Nisibidi, who has a special friendship with some spirit-reading baboons, or the wise gorilla Misty, or the Speculating Speckled Frog--the jungle's wisest denizen. Zahrah had lots of helpers, but her task is still her own, and she completes it herself. The threats and dangers she faces have an Alice-in-Wonderland whimsy to them that keeps them from being too very terrifying, even when her life is in danger, and while sometimes I wanted the whimsy toned down just a little, other times I was quite entertained by it--and I really loved her smart-alecky digi-guidebook and her anxious electronic compass.

I really appreciated Nnedi Okorafor's vivid descriptions, especially the scent and touch ones, which made Zahrah's world come alive for me. Now I want to make some fan-art drawings! ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
I love the world Zahrah lives in; if I'd been a kid when I read this, it would have been one of the worlds I wished I could go to--like Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-sky books, or Lawrence Yep's Sweetwater, or Narnia. It's a world in which everything is hyper-alive and growing, even the technology (lightbulbs and CPUs are cultivated like garden vegetables), and flower petals are used for currency, a futuristic, alternate-reality, West-Africa sort of world, with baobab and iroko trees, mangos and cashew fruits. And Zahrah, who's already made to feel strange because of the vines and flowers that grow in her hair, discovers she has another, very wonderful, but for her, very daunting, power. She has a pal, Dari, who's as inquisitive as she is timid, and with his help, she starts investigating this new power. Eventually this leads the two of them into the Great Greeny Jungle that surrounds their country--a place where the threat of death lurks under every leaf and behind each tree.

I loved the many people who help Zahrah, whether it's Dari, or the mysterious woman Nisibidi, who has a special friendship with some spirit-reading baboons, or the wise gorilla Misty, or the Speculating Speckled Frog--the jungle's wisest denizen. Zahrah had lots of helpers, but her task is still her own, and she completes it herself. The threats and dangers she faces have an Alice-in-Wonderland whimsy to them that keeps them from being too very terrifying, even when her life is in danger, and while sometimes I wanted the whimsy toned down just a little, other times I was quite entertained by it--and I really loved her smart-alecky digi-guidebook and her anxious electronic compass.

I really appreciated Nnedi Okorafor's vivid descriptions, especially the scent and touch ones, which made Zahrah's world come alive for me. Now I want to make some fan-art drawings! ( )
  FrancescaForrest | May 12, 2014 |
So very charming!! A world where you grow your own computer from a seed, and everyone lives in crazy skyscraper plants, and there is a Forbidden Greeny Jungle and lovely intelligent gorillas and a transparent library grown from a glass plant...I so want there to be a movie of this.
( )
  JenneB | Apr 2, 2013 |
Apparently good enough to read in one sitting, but not good enough for me to really care why. The alternate-universeness of this is delightful, but gets a little precious by the end, especially all the weird flora and fauna in the Forbidden Greeny Jungle. I'm especially irritated by the talking animals, which strikes me as awkwardly patched on top of the world-building. I love the concept of a world that runs on plants for currency and power, but question why, in that case, the jungle is so foreign; the obvious answer is that scale matters, that domesticated flora is okay but wild is not, but I didn't see that come through in the text.

I'll be interested in seeing what else Okorafor publishes -- this shows promise of imagination, and the last scenes are begging for a sequel. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 31, 2013 |
On a planet where technology and plants have merged, Zahrah is dada—born with vines in her hair—which is a somewhat disreputable thing to be. Then, at thirteen, she starts to float, and when her best friend convinces her to enter the forbidden forest, she has to save him from mortal danger. It was a wittily designed world, though I was expecting YA based on my own misunderstanding and got something younger than that; I will probably suggest it to my kids in a few years. ( )
  rivkat | Apr 2, 2012 |
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To the late Virginia Hamilton, who showed me that people could fly, and my father and mother, who gave me means to soar
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:03 -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.

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