Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Spider King's Daughter” as Want to Read:
The Spider King's Daughter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Spider King's Daughter

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  816 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Abike Johnson is the favourite child of her wealthy father. She lives in a sprawling mansion in Lagos, protected by armed guards and ferried everywhere in a huge black jeep.

A world away from Abike's mansion, in the city's slums, lives an eighteen-year-old hawker struggling to make sense of the world. His family lost everything after his father's death an
Paperback, 286 pages
Published March 15th 2012 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Spider King's Daughter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Spider King's Daughter

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  816 ratings  ·  138 reviews

More filters
Sort order
4.5 stars

Told in the thoughts of two young people living very different lives, this novel showed me aspects of life in Lagos that I've encountered in other novels in a new light, and engaged feelings and ideas about romance and growing up. Crucially, it's about misreading and misunderstanding, but more subtly about what slips from view through the lens of socialised expectations. Sometimes, Onuzo rigorously controls the truth, but sometimes she allows conflicting versions to hover unconfirmed, d
Brittle  Paper
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it

It’s near impossible to read a novel in one sitting these days. Between twitter, Facebook, and real life, who has the time and focus it takes to do such a thing? But a few days ago, I read Chibundu Onuzo’s The Spider King’s Daughter in one blow. Not an extraordinary feat, though, since Spider King’s Daughter is an irresistible page-turner. How often do you get to read a Shakespearean love story set in Lagos? Yes, miracles do happen. A street hawker and an aristocrat can find romance in a city de
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a page-turner! This novel was more or less a thriller. Its heavily driven by suspense and was written concisely. After the first 30 pages, you could clearly see that Abike is a controlling bitch, and I loove it! The hawker's situation is rather unfortunate. I sympathize with his predicament....but I did not agree with the way he strived to achieve justice for his family and his friends. Chibundu Onuzo thought this storyline through thoroughly! I'm
I didn't love the ending but this book was a page turner I remember. 4 stars. Looking forward to the author's second book.
Brenda Kodawa
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Chibundu's debut novel is a great start. It will take you one sitting to go through and that's always a plus.

This is a story of two teenagers from very different backgrounds whose whose paths cross in a very common 'African setting' yet their lives are more intertwined than they know. Basically the novel unravels their 2nd generation relationship and link it to the 1st generation connection. Her narration style of using the two characters to each tell their own version of events regarding the s
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a generous 4* due what I've classified as a dissatisfying end.

I really enjoyed this though, 1. Cause it's a Nigerian book and I don't read nearly enough.
2. The characters are different from the stereotypes that I've come to expect from books about POC. It's not a coming of age story or a story of fighting adversity (which aren't bad at all but I love just Reading a book about daily life you know)
3. It's romance, I was gonna be a sucker

honestly the author's pacing is excellent and I sat i
Lora Grigorova
Feb 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Spider King's Daughter:

The novel starts off with a story as old as the earth – a rich girl falls for a poor boy. Abike Johnson is the beautiful 17-year-old daughter of one of the most powerful and rich men in Lagos, if not in Nigeria as well. She lives in an enormous mansion, has her own set of servants, spends a year’s salary on a single party and employes a fleet of loyal (or not so) followers, admirers and pure suck-ups. Ever since her childhood, w
#ReadWomenAroundTheWorldChallenge — Nigeria

This book really is an efficient page turner! I went through it so fast cause the story was very addictive and well-rounded.

I’m quite a novice regarding African literature (but I do want to change that!!) and I’ve learned a lot with this book, especially about the Nigerian’s hawkers, those people who sell food, mobile credit cards and other pieces of stuff on the sides of the roads.

I really loved the split narrative, it gave more depth to the novel an
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A sort of Romeo and Juliet tale set in Nigeria sees a beautiful young rich girl befriend a lowly street hawker. This had some interesting characters and was very well written.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bookguide by: De lezer regeert
Shelves: africa
What a page-turner! So much so, in fact, that I failed to make any notes, so this is a brief review based on what is left in my memory four years later, refreshed by reading a couple of proper Goodreads reviews. The fact that I remember anything at all should give you a clue to just how strong the descriptions in this novel are.

Set in Lagos in Nigeria, the two main characters are complete opposites. Abike, the teenage daughter of a rich man, is taken by chauffeur to her private school and lives
Abike is seventeen, the pampered daughter of an ostentatiously wealthy businessman. Hers is a world of parties and privilege and power -- having power, seeking power, using power. Abusing power.

Abike is her father's daughter.

Then there's the hawker. Runner G. (Diogu m?*) He was wealthy, once. He had ambitions, once. But life happened, and things got harder, and now, at eighteen, he's reduced to selling ice cream on the street to keep his younger sister in school and his fractured family in their
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the cover and location of Chidbundu Onuzo's The Spider King's Daughter and was immediately caught up in the story as I started to read.

'Runner G' is a young 18 year old hawker in Lagos, Nigeria. He knows how to survive the streets, makes sure his younger sister goes to school and looks after his depressed mother. It wasn't always that way. Once he went to a good school and had dreams of going to university but then his father had died horrifically in a car accident leaving hi
Nana Fredua-Agyeman
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The Spider King's Daughter (Faber and Faber, 2012; 288) by Chibundu Onuzo is a tale that dissects and spreads open the economic duality - that divide that puts people at the extreme ends of the economic continuum - of most nations, especially those in Africa. It breathes life into an article - Duality: Dickens in Lagos, and Asimov too - I wrote in response to a one-sided argument provided at one of these mentally-skewed journalists.

The Spider King's Daughter is about a happenstance meeting betw
Sep 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A parte de todo lo que os he ido diciendo, el final ya era todo un cúmulo de estupideces, una tras otra. Ha sido más que precipitado a mi parecer y sin ningún sentido, no sigue la línea de la historia principal, que es casi inexistente y a veces sólo se fijaba en el "espantoso" vestido de Abike.
No he entendido la razón principal de este libro. ¿Amor? ¿Historia nigeriana? ¿Pasatiempo aburrido sinsentido?
kjhguyjkhlkhl. Pues ahí estamos.
R.K. Johnson
Jul 26, 2014 rated it liked it
What an excellent read! I enjoyed the novel immensely. The characters were so interesting and alive. I was thrilled to see this author take risks, presenting the reader with some real twists to this tale. My only qualm was the neat&tidying up in the epilogue-like summaries in the end, but I would definitely read other books by this author. And she has such a beautiful smile :) Filmmakers, this would be perfect for the silver screen! Hope you're listening, Nollywood.
Kenechi Udogu
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I was soooooo not expecting this to grip me the way it did! What started off as an unlikely romance between a young (spoilt) rich girl and a not so normal street hawker quickly twisted into a dark tale of deceipt and (dare I say it) death. I also really enjoyed the relationship between the two protagonists and the secondary characters. Will be looking out for more from this author.
Gül Özdemir
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kitabın konusunun zengin kız fakir oğlan klişesi gibi göründüğünün farkındayım ama yazar ne yapmış ne etmiş bilmiyorum ama ortaya klişeden uzak tadında yenmeyen,karakterlerin muazzam derecede başarılı bir şekilde tanıtıldığı,işlenişin kitaba bambaşka bir hava kattığı şirin bir aşk hikayesi ortaya çıkarmış
Leslie Reese
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african-authors
Easy to read with plenty of literary finesse, flavor, and suspense---although things got a little rushed and convoluted towards the end. The only reason I'm not giving this book 5 stars is because I feel confident that if Chibundu Onuzo continues to write, she's going to blow my mind beyond my enjoyment of this book.
Melissa Barbosa
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Such a page-turner - I loved it so much! It tell the old story of two ill-fated young lovers of different social classes, but it is original in its way, and the end is amazing.
Me ha gustado pero el final es algo raro y confuso...
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
More like 3 1/2 stars.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A Year of Reading The World challenge:
#128 Nigeria

Chibundu Onuzo did not write the typical romance, coming of age or fighting adversity story one would expect from the summary. This starts off as a cliché romance, but turns into a tale of revenge half-way through. As most stories of revenge show, the action rarely makes things better for anyone, and this book is no exception.

Both characters are flawed and self-centered, and their shortcomings are what ultimately lead to a not-so-happy ending
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this. The plot is gripping, the characters are intriguing and Onuzo has clearly planned out the story carefully. There are a range of fascinating characters, all with their different backstories and motivations. Yes, the structure of the novel could feel a little repetitive at times (Abike and the hawker take turns to relate the story, sometimes the same part of the same story), but the characters are interesting enough that I didn't mind. I really like Abike in particular - she ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This was a great read, and I really loved the split narrative; it made a really interesting novel, and the narrator came across as exceptionally unreliable. As a reader, I couldn't get into the head of either of the main characters, so their thoughts and feelings were limited, but this just added to the intrigue of the story. Even at the end, I couldn't be totally sure who was in the right or the wrong, or even be 100% sure of either character's motives for the ending. I would want to believe th ...more
More like 3.5 stars

I first heard of Onuzo's novel as part of the shortlist for the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature, a Nigerian awarding body seeking to reward first-time authors from across the African continent. As a concept, it's actually pretty great, because although other literary prizes can include certain African authors (for example the Man Booker prize and Commonwealth countries), there really wasn't a pan-African prize before this one. I had hoped to find the time to read the shortl
Nate C.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
When ultra rich Abike has her driver stop so she can buy ice cream, she meets The Hawker and they begin a tumultuous relationship that changes the lives of many people forever.

I really enjoyed the beginning and middle of this novel, but I would have liked to have seen it take another direction from that point. I didn't feel like the ending was the right one for where those characters had gotten to up until that point.

That being said, the book was ultimately enjoyable. It's well suited to the you
Claudia  -
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Abike Johnson is the favourite daughter of an infamously rich businessman.
Her life is a life of privilege and luxury with nothing ever being denied to her.
One day she takes a shine to a street hawker and soon a shaky friendship develops.

The story is told in alternating points of view, which cleverly show Abike and her hawker’s completely different realities, growing closer and misunderstanding each other. But what at first looks like an exotic romance soon turns into a different, much darker dir
Carol Chapin
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
My online book club read this, and unfortunately, I was exposed to some negative opinions of this book before I started it. I don’t like to have expectations, either positive or negative, before I read a book.

But the opinions were right. The plot was contrived and a little silly. The positive thing I can say about the book is that it gave me a flavor of life in Lagos, Nigeria. The descriptions of life of the poor sounded accurate. I’m wondering if the elite were accurately described.
From the Nigerian culture to both the main characters, everything was perfectly detailed! The story starts as a romance but takes its climax as a thriller and ends just like that. Even though I’m a little dissatisfied by the end I guess a hopless romantic ending wouldn’t suit the book. All the details that build up to climax, you can’t decide which character to favour and that just keeps you hooked to the book. Runner G or Abike? Who do you trust more? Who is right? And believe me every single q ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Night Dancer
  • Measuring Time
  • Fine Boys
  • Everything Good Will Come
  • Sozaboy
  • Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria
  • Bom Boy
  • Efuru
  • Tail of the Blue Bird
  • Foreign Gods, Inc.
  • I Do Not Come to You by Chance
  • Le Baobab Fou
  • Knots
  • Reading the Ceiling
  • Patchwork
  • Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge
  • Marrying Ameera
  • Burning Grass
See similar books…
Chibundu Onuzo was born in Nigeria in 1991 in Lagos and is the youngest of four children. She is a History graduate from King's College London and is currently an MSc student in Public Policy at the University College of London.

“I knew that when you had fallen, the memories that charted your decline became invaluable.” 4 likes
More quotes…