[Book Review] The Book of Phoenix

The Book of Phoenix / Nnedi Okorafor

This is a book about the hubris and folly of mankind, of a desire to live free, and the birth of myth and religion.

A man in the desert stumbles across a treasure trove from the past.  A cave full of computers and a remnant power source that somehow survived the scouring of the earth so long ago.  And the memories of a unique woman that was at the epicenter of it all.

Tower Seven made up Phoenix's whole world.  By all appearances, a 40 year old woman of African descent and voracious intellect.  But appearances can be deceiving.  As a SpeciMen, deliberately conceived, with accelerated growth, and living her whole life under intense study, the world does not recognize her as human.  Perhaps that is how they so overestimated their control over her, her acquiescence and submission to their rule.  In the end she became the apocalyptic monster, but only in response to repeated brutality, lack of respect of life, dehumanization, and loss.

In the end her story becomes the birth of a new faith, perhaps a new fanaticism in its own right.

A short book with quite a bit packed in to it, and an ending that may leave you feeling mixed.  Okorafor is definitely a writer to follow.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of DAW (Penguin RandomHouse) in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.


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