Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Book of Phoenix - Nnedi Okorafor

The Book of Phoenix
Nnedi Okorafor
DAW, May 5 2015, $24.95
ISBN 9780756410193

Created in the top secret Tower 7 research facility in midtown New York three years ago, Phoenix appears to look like she is in her late thirties, early forties.  Her behavior is also that of someone with four decades of experience rather than that of a toddler.

Phoenix loves her life in the lab until something horrific observed by her once happy best friend Saeed led to deep depression and eventually suicide.  No longer feeling the only home she ever knew is heavenly, Phoenix tries to leave, but is not allowed.  Stunned by finally understanding her captivity and beginning to comprehend much more, Phoenix finally escapes after several failures.  However, her creators pursue her as a valuable biological weapon that they own.

This interesting prequel to Who Fears Death centers on the salad years of the angry heroine.  Like its predecessor, the well-written The Book of Phoenix blends together West African and Western mythologies to provide the reader with a profound unique look at human rights.  However, the climax makes this tale feel more as if it is the first part of a much larger fantasy rather than a stand-alone novel.

Harriet Klausner

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