Richness in a Story | Review of ‘Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2)’

By Cynthia Ayala

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
Viking Books for Young Readers
Image Credit: Goodreads

“A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born girl Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society. As she began to develop her magical powers, Sunny learned that she had been chosen to lead a dangerous mission to avert an apocalypse, brought about by the terrifying masquerade, Ekwensu. Now, stronger, feistier, and a bit older, Sunny is studying with her mentor Sugar Cream and struggling to unlock the secrets in her strange Nsibidi book. Eventually, Sunny knows she must confront her destiny. With the support of her Leopard Society friends, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, and of her spirit face, Anyanwu, she will travel through worlds both visible and invisible to the mysteries town of Osisi, where she will fight a climactic battle to save humanity. Much-honored Nnedi Okorafor, a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards, merges today’s Nigeria with a unique world she creates. Akata Warrior blends mythology, fantasy, history, and magic into a compelling tale that will keep readers spellbound.” —Goodreads

Published October 3, 2017, by Viking Books for Young Readers, Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor is the second in her Akata Witch series that follows one Sunny on her journey into the world of fantasy and history.

An imaginative and beautiful continuation of Akata Witch carrying on the journey of self-discovery and magic. The setting and cultural backdrop are probably one of the most beautiful things in the novel because it is not typically seen in literature. It is clear that the context is not only written by someone who is familiar with Nigeria, but also by a person who calls the place home. There is such a vibrancy to the world, but it is also fresh. There’s a grittiness to the writing, a naturalism to it as she explores the dimensions of the land, the color, life, vitality and harshness of it. However, the style, the detail of the nation, it makes it so touchable to the reader, it makes it feel like home not just to the characters, but to the reader as well, enrapturing the reader and capturing them beautifully.

On the characters, there is a growth of character development all around as these kids figure out their dynamics with one another, and as they discover more about themselves. Especially Sunny. Even in the previous novel, there were hints that Sunny mainly kept to herself due to a history of being bullied for being different, Even, in this story, there were hints of it. However, finally, as Sunny discovers who she is, the reader is shown just how hard her life was before coming to Nigeria, how difficult it became for her being an albino girl in a world full of people of color, a culture full of people of color. However, when she discovered that she was a Leopard person, that she was a part of something bigger than herself that also offered her acceptance, Sunny grew as a person and left some of her insecurities behind. However, she lost herself in that as well, she lost herself in that new culture, and she lost herself in her spirit face.

In this novel it became clear that her insecurities never really went away, they just hid behind the magic that had wound itself into her life. The lack of connection with her spirit face gives her some new time to look at herself, to find herself outside the magic, outside the world around her, and see herself inside, face herself, her fears, sadness, and strength she never knew she had. Sunny finds her confidence, and it is an incredible journey for her to go on.

Overall, this was just a fantastic novel. It had a more vibrant family dynamic, tapping into the culture on a familial level while also building the relationships with the reader. In the previous novel, that focus was connected more with her mother, but in this book, the reader gets to see and understand how deep her relationship is with her father and brothers.

Akata Warrior is just richer, and it is remarkable how rich a story can be, how the richness of the previous novel is brought along and allowed to bloom and flourish with the storytelling and character development. (★★★★☆ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

Page count: 496pp

Age Range: 12 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-6707-8561-2

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

List Price:  $18.99

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