Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Review: 'Binti: The Night Masquerade' by Nnedi Okorafor

I've really enjoyed the 'Binti' series by Nnedi Okorafor, and 'The Night Masquerade' brings the trilogy to a satisfying close.

After travelling through the desert and getting to know the Enyi Zinariya, her father's people, at the end of the last book, 'Home', Binti and Mwinyi, of the Enyi Zinariya, travel back to Binti's home in Osemba after she learns of the Khoush, another tribe, attacking her family and Okwu, her friend.

But when they get back, Binti finds that the village is still reluctant to accept her back into the tribe and to get involved in the simmering feud between the Khoush tribe and the Meduse, Okwu's alien race. So it's up to Binti to attempt to broker a peace between all parties before hostilities break out.

I liked that throughout the story, and trilogy, despite struggling for re-acceptance after seemingly abandoning her people to go to an off world university, experiencing devastating events and some life changing moments, Binti still has the ambition to become more, to grow and change, to embrace different cultures but yet never losing sight of the roots of who she is and her own Himba traditions and culture. 'The Night Masquerade' focuses a lot on the concept of identity, tradition, multiculturalism and how it affects the individual. And it does it very well without being too overbearing or overwhelming the reader.

She is certainly very resilient, and with her attitude, you can't help but love Binti. I also liked Mwinyi and Okwu and the relationship between the three of them. Good to see three very different individuals from three very different backgrounds interact so well with each other.

Its a very compelling and engrossing read, with a few twists and turns along the way for good measure, even though it's a very short read. There is some good world building at play here, and I would love to revisit more in this universe. Recommended, as is the complete trilogy of 'Binti' novellas.