Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

I don’t have a ton of authors on my “auto-buy” list, so you bet I highly recommend Nnedi Okorafor’s novella Binti. Even if you’re not a sci-fi fantasy reader, give it a chance. I think you’ll enjoy it.

In the middle of the night, Binti sneaks away from her family, her home, her planet. Against her parents’ wishes, she plans to become the first of the Himba people to attend Oozma University–the galaxy’s version of an Ivy League school. Binti fears that leaving her people will force her to change who she is and her people’s customs.

Something terrible happens on her journey to the university. An alien race Meduse attacks her spaceship and demands that the university must right a wrong. Or they will attack. Through the help of a mysterious artifact, Binti discovers she can communicate with the Meduse. Can she use her Himba gifts to stop a galactic war?

Okorafor seamlessly drops her reader into a rich world filled with different species, traditions and technology. No small feat to accomplish in only 96 pages. It’s not just one world or history that she’s created, but multiple ones.

While it sounds like a space war story at first glance, Binti delves into tricky topics such as race, tradition, and class. Most of all, the novella is about identity. It’s about how we allow our past and our dreams shape who we are. Do we keep our true selves hidden to fit into our family’s customs? Or do we pursue or dreams and forsake our roots? Binti explores if finding a middle ground is even possible. And how do we manage it?

5 Stars for BintiMake sure you grab the novella–it’s only $2.99 on Kindle. Don’t miss out on Okorafor’s transformative writing.