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(The Wormwood Trilogy #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  9,948 ratings  ·  1,605 reviews
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless - people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn't care to again - but when somet
Kindle Edition, 298 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Orbit (first published February 23rd 2017)
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Alex Rosenfeld Yes, although it does have an obvious cliffhanger. That said, I felt like I read a contained book that merely opened itself up to a longer narrative. …moreYes, although it does have an obvious cliffhanger. That said, I felt like I read a contained book that merely opened itself up to a longer narrative. The storylines you would want finished off are satisfied at the end.(less)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,948 ratings  ·  1,605 reviews

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James Tivendale
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I received an uncorrected bound proof copy of Rosewater in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Tade Thompson and Orbit books for the opportunity.

Set in Nigeria 2066, we follow Kaaro in the first person perspective. He is a complex yet interesting protagonist who is a psychic. He has two jobs. One is where he stops bank fraud and the other is more James Bond-esque, working for the government department of S45, which he doesn't really enjoy. Kaaro can read minds, replay past even
Lately, I've been seeing a lot of novels either set in Africa or Nigeria in specific, ranging from complicated crime tales or wild fantasies or hardcore SF.

This one is more hardcore than most. The SF branches into the Zenosphere, alien-headspaces, biopunk nightmares and symbioses and regular everyday Lagos and Nigerian, in general, misbehavior. :)

This novel is packed to the gills with great ideas, interesting storytelling structure set in two times, and a very interesting re-take on the old tro
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
The main reason I use Goodreads is the beauty of finding new great books because of the book friends that I made here. This is exactly how I came across Rosewater which somehow never even registered on my book radar. So thanks, friends - carol and Samuel! This was quite good.
“I am not curious. I want to leave. This thing I do is not beautiful. It is filth.”
Set in the near future (2043-2066) in Nigeria, it shows us a world not much different from the one of our present, with the rough hard e
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s disingenuous to pretend we don’t select a book looking for a certain experience, and have a loose feel for the kind of story parameters we’re looking for. I might feel like a murder mystery, a dark thriller, a fast-moving space opera or a paranormal romance, and while we may insist on avoiding spoilers, every story comes with expectations for how it will behave. I think a long history of reading and many many books might be why I’ve been in a phase where I look for the intersection of the c ...more
Althea Ann
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my Hugo Award nominees, novel, 2016.

This book is one of those discoveries that not only is enjoyable for itself; it's good enough to make me feel overall cheerily optimistic about the future of science fiction writing. Of course, this is not to be confused with 'feeling cheery about the future;' the effect here is quite the opposite, in fact.

It's also one of those books where everything takes some time to come clear - though it's not as inaccessible as some of the reviews/blurbs call
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neuromancer meets Star Wars

The time jumps are annoying. You might want text as well as audio to flip back.

(view spoiler)

Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, arc
I am really unsure about my feelings for this one, except for this: it is pretty damn cool. And I cannot wait to see where Tade Thompson takes this story next.

Rosewater is a town in future Nigeria, built around an alien biodome which opens once a year to heal everybody in the vicinity of the opening. Since the aliens have landed, some people have started developing powers. One of those superpowered individuals, and possibly the strongest, is Kaaro, the main character of this brilliant novel. We
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mind reading is fascinating and is a major part of this science fiction extravaganza. The author Tade Thompson knows human nature in all its wondrous and its not so wondrous ways. Set in a future Nigeria, Rosewater is a fictional town there that has been invaded by aliens. Kaaro, no additional name, just Kaaro, is one of the "sensitives" that has been able to read people's thoughts after the invasion. His skill is honed by the government and he uses it for the shady state-sponsored Section 45.

Weird and interesting. I liked this alot. Gathering my thoughts...

4 Stars

Listened to audiobook.
Bizarro, freaky and weird!
Starting with the gorgeous cover, this inventive story of alien something that crashes on earth, resulting in 1) a settlement in Nigeria, Rosewater, at the site of a strange extrusion, 2) telepaths, or sensitives as they’re called here, 3) healing powers of the extrusion, 4) a government agency’s (S45) use of sensitives, 5) a “subversive” hunted by S45, 6) implanted tech and 7) a compulsive thief protagonist employed by S45. Though, really, Kaaro and his lying, thievin
K.J. Charles
An exceptional science fiction, I'm not surprised it's winning stuff. Set in future Nigeria, where psychics exist. There's a mysterious dome that gives out electricity and occasionally heals people and/or reanimates corpses, and nobody knows what's going on...yet.

This is a spectacularly ambitious book. The plot is complex on multiple layers and very much depends on you picking up first on the basic setting, then on the psychic alternative that overlays the reality, and then on *another* very dif
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This started out so promising, it really did. I was invested in the world and the story that Thompson had built for us, intrigued by how he had woven a post-first contact society into one that is somewhat temporally analogous to our own. Despite my immediate dislike of the main character, Kaaro, I was hooked.

However, something happened around the 60% mark that made me really lose interest. I was still reading with the same speed, but more to get it done than out of any desire to know more about
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Rosewater came with high praise, and when I attended a comic convention in London last November, I just had to buy a copy and get it signed by the author, Tade Thompson. What a lovely, kind man. It was a pleasure to meet him.

I highly recommend Rosewater, though I do not think it will be for everyone. It's speculative science-fiction, plays with flashbacks, is confusing at times, and the narrator is a very peculiar character. Personally, I never felt lost, but I totally understand if others strug
Spencer Orey
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow I inhaled this fast! Great concept.
Nick Borrelli
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is the year 2066, and in the African country of Nigeria there stands a makeshift town called Rosewater. The town didn't exist before an alien biodome just appeared out of nowhere near the city of Lagos over a decade earlier. The doughnut-shaped town was built by the pilgrims and locals who visit the biodome each year with the hopes of being healed when the dome opens for a brief period of time. Over the years, Rosewater has only grown and is not exactly what you would call a sanitary town, as ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that I picked up purely based on cover and the blurb, having never heard of the author beforehand. It's a sci-fi and it's set in Africa, and I think that is enough to get me to want to try it because that's pretty unusual. I really though that I may enjoy this one, as it's a lot more focused on people than some SF is, but in the end I found it to be a bit too convoluted of a story. I think there's a lot of potential here with the start of the series, but personally I am just not s ...more
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
This is one of those books that is not going to be for everyone. To put it simply, there's a lot of deep sci-fi shit going on in and you really need to be a fan and in the mood for speculative sci-fi to enjoy this one. I never felt lost but you do you have to really pay attention because there's not only a lot going on but the timeline flips back and forth.

Thompson's writing and ideas are extraordinary though and very creative! It's kind of weird but it amazingly all flows together. This is the
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Rosewater was weird, but in the best way possible. And that’s not something I can say about a lot of books, given my low weirdness tolerance. However, this was an instance where I was glad I kept an open mind, because while the story and I may have started out on shaky ground, it eventually expanded and developed into something strangely wonderful and compelling.

The book opens with our protagonist, Kaaro, arriving to work
Is it War of the Worlds? Is it Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Is it Neo in the Matrix? No other alien 👽 invasion was ever like this? To start with, the alien (Wormwood) pokes his head out in Nigeria after initially surfacing in Hyde Park, London. Moreover, the alien is hidden beneath a giant bio dome that opens once a year for a healing ritual that would make all faith healers jealous. Anything and everyone is cured of warts to cancer, although some leave the dome area with extra arms, legs, ki ...more
4.5 stars. Fantastic SF with great and unique setting, strong and fully fleshed characters (Kaaro was a sexist jerk but he's a fascinating read), on top of cool mysterious (and sometimes downright scary) aliens, really it's almost everything you could ask for. However, I need to warn future readers that it is probably not a novel that you could read in one go. It's quite dense, each passage has a purpose and/or contains useful information. Its non-linear narrative could also be disorienting at t ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
'Rosewater' has the most chopped-up timeline in a novel I have read! It veers between Chapters titled Then, Interlude:Mission, and Now, and skitters around the years 2032, 2042, 2043, 2045, 2055, 2056, 2057, 2059, 2060, 2061, 2065, 2066.

The main character is Kaaro, who grows up in Lagos, Nigeria, as a thief. Later, he is recruited by a mysterious Nigerian secret service outfit called S45 as a 'Finder' mentalist. Kaaro lives in or visits various Nigerian places and towns titled 'unknown military
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, Tade Thompson has blown me away with this award-winning book! 'Rosewater' is the first novel in the Wormwood Trilogy, and I'm already desperate to get my hands on the follow-up. This is without a doubt one of the best and most imaginative speculative fiction titles I've ever had the pleasure to read. The worldbuilding is excellent. the characters beautifully painted and relatable and the science that underpins in all is absolutely fascinating. You know those times when you feel no matter w ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Richly inventive science fiction with a remarkable sense of place with an alien invasion/colonization set in Nigeria.

The setting is mid-22nd century Nigeria after the years after the arrival of mysterious aliens. Kaaro is a sensitive, a finder, which is a type of psychic with powers intimately related to the alien presence. The story moves between Lagos and the fictional Rosewater, the town that's sprung up around the site of an alien bio-dome. The story also jumps around the timeline of Kaaro's
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
What can I say? This is one of those books that delivers something you didn't know you needed until it is placed in front of you.

Exotic yet familiar, simple yet complex, Thompson's twisting, non-linear tale both satisfies and leaves you wanting more.
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After falling into a reading slump for about a month, I've finally managed to finish this book. A big thank you first of all to carol and Nataliya for the group read, who must have finished the whole series by now (lol). I'd like to refer to both of their excellent reviews for a rundown of the story and keen insights into the book:



I won't bother with a full review, but have listed a few pros and cons
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

I struggled with this book so much. I’d read such glowing reviews from a whole range of people, but I just couldn’t get into it. Probably part of that is my own fault for reading it on the treadmill (though that normally isn’t a problem) and in little bits, but a lot of it was the narrator’s obsession with sex. I don’t know how many orgasms he had during the book, some of them spontaneous, let alone the number of erections he talks about (seriously), but everything
Richard Derus
Jul 17, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindled
17 JULY 2019 UPDATE This $2.99 Kindle bargain just won the Arthur C. Clarke Award! Go Tade!! ...more
Allison Hurd
I've never read anything quite like this. A brilliant blend of so many different ideas, voices, and cultures. Really worth a read.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The concept. It's a side-step from anything else I've ever read. So many tropes, so many worn ideas, cast in a brand new mold. Brilliant.

-Kaaro. He's not a good
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book requires a lot of focus to follow as it moves from timeline to timeline, and there were some moments where I really had to grit my teeth, but when it all comes together... wow. I loved the use of language and metaphor, and the ideas are fascinating. Will definitely be continuing with the series!
Liz Barnsley
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rosewater is a purely brilliant read, one of the most imaginative science fiction novels I have read in ages.
Set in a future Nigeria, in the town of Rosewater, where psychics exist and a mysterious alien dome sends out healing vibes (and occasionally reanimates the dead) we follow Kaaro, whose one visit into the dome makes him determined never to return…
The story is complex and darkly beautiful, descriptively this is stunning, immersing you into Kaaro’s world entirely. He is a divisive, engaging
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Tade Thompson is a British born Yoruba psychiatrist who is best known for his science fiction novels.

Other books in the series

The Wormwood Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Rosewater Insurrection (The Wormwood Trilogy, #2)
  • The Rosewater Redemption (The Wormwood Trilogy, #3)

Articles featuring this book

While books about anti-racism are trending on Goodreads and dominating the bestseller lists right now, some of our favorite Black authors are...
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“I can read minds but I still don't understand women. Or men. Humans. I don't understand humans.” 18 likes
“The idea of a singular hero and a manifest destiny just makes us lazy. There is no destiny. There is choice, there is action, and any other narrative perpetuates a myth that someone else out there will fix our problems with a magic sword and a blessing from the gods.” 8 likes
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