Who Fears Death

  • Type: Books
  • By: Nnedi Okorafor
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror
  • Recommended by: Jessica T.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780756406172
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Born of violence with a fiery and willful spirit Onye is driven to stop the bloodshed that dominates her world.

Is the adult fiction debut for Nigerian-American speculative fiction author, Nnedi Okorafor. Set in the far-future it tells the story of Onyesonwu (“Who Fears Death”) who in a world where the Okeke are being wiped out by the Nuru, is a child born from the rape of an Okeke woman by a Nuru. Her mother raises her daughter in the desert until she is old enough for school and then they settle in a village. There she is outcast as a halfling child of the two cultures but she is also very gifted in magic and eventually comes under the tutelage of an old mystic and shaman. Destiny plays a large part in the story. A prophecy says that one will come forward and stop the genocide and rewrite the Great Book. Many believe that is Onye but she is a passionate willful woman who could change the course of the world with her anger. And while many seek to help her there are also forces working against her.

This looks closely at race, gender issues and the dangers of following traditions to the detriment of a people. It’s gritty, disturbing, and wonderfully written. There’s already been a lot of comparison to Octavia Butler (Parabale of the Sower) and the writing style of Stephen King but I found myself reminded of The Terrorists of Irustan by Louise Marley an equally gritty and disturbing novel from the late 1990s where the setting resembles Afghanistan under Taliban rule.