Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
Tade Thompson's Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices.

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 rumored 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 something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.

432 pages, Paperback

First published February 23, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Tade Thompson

55 books1,125 followers
Tade Thompson is a British born Yoruba psychiatrist who is best known for his science fiction novels.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,842 (20%)
4 stars
6,314 (45%)
3 stars
3,684 (26%)
2 stars
915 (6%)
1 star
259 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,134 reviews
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
311 reviews1,329 followers
October 2, 2018
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 events and understand individuals' whole life experiences within a matter of seconds. He can also manipulate people and occasionally make certain people believe they are burning alive. Additionally, he can frequent a place known as the Xenosphere under his avatar as a Gryphon where he can fly. I will not try to explain this extrasensory-like environment to any great degree but it can be quickly summarised as being a dream-esque space between certain peoples thoughts.

If Rosewater doesn't sound complex enough so far, throughout the narrative we follow three different timelines. The main timeline is Nigeria 2066 which is set in the city of Rosewater which was erected around an alien biodome where once a year an 'opening' occurs where civilians ailments and illnesses can be cured by this extraterrestrial presence. Kaaro uses his mind wizardry for the government and also for a bank. It's mundane and boring for him generally but he has recently met a girlfriend called Aminat who has a very beautiful and mysterious housebound brother. The earliest timeline is about a youthful Kaaro where he is living life dangerously in Largos as a thief, getting disowned by his parents and learning gradually about his sight and abilities. The middle timeline is when our protagonist reluctantly works for the secret service and as an expert 'finder' is requested to find the mysterious bicycle girl and perhaps dig up more details about the alien entity that ends up residing in Rosewood. They are quite short chapters throughout, averaging approximately 10 pages however with the constant switch between timelines I did have to take notes to be aware of what had happened previously and pay attention to the dates at the beginning of the chapters.

I have been loving my fantasy and science fiction books recently that have been based on or inspired by certain places I am less familiar with that don't feature typical standard tropes such as The Poppy War (China), Jade City (Japan), and Empire of Sand (India). This fits nicely in the same vein for being exciting, elegant, complex, deep and original. It ticks a lot of boxes that I look for in a fiction age which is overflowing with carbon copies of what has come previously.

This is a very smart book. The time, expertise and efforts that Thompson has put into this opener of The Wormword Trilogy organically ooze from that page. One of my favourite aspects was how Thompson discusses the history we are familiar with that is up to date, (I think I noticed a Donald Trump diss in here somewhere !) and also imagined events that have taken place between 2018 and 2066. One example is that the USA is no longer on the world's radar. They have isolated themselves and the rest of the planet know nothing about what our Western cousins are up to.

There are some very dark scenes featured. Murders, people being burned alive, and a few brutal execution techniques included. Adult science fiction and even grimdark fans will find a lot to like here. It did take me a while to get in to initially and adapt to the presented world. The world building is very good and it mainly takes places in Lagos and the fictional Rosewater. Kaara is a damaged individual with unbelievable powers and although he's had a colourful existence there is still some heart and something worth following in our first-person protagonist. I for one look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. I'll be intrigued to see if Thompson adds any other point of view perspectives in his following books. It might be an interesting take but I'd personally like to carry on following Kaaro. Now the backstory is complete I'd like a single timeline going forwards though. That is my only slight negative that it sometimes threw me away from the action and narrative in Rosewater. Thompson is obviously a brilliant and very smart author and this is the best science fiction book I've read in a few years. Bravo, sir.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
745 reviews11.9k followers
November 1, 2020
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 edges and unpleasantness and criminality and money worship and poverty and intolerances and prejudices - but with one very important difference: the aliens, of the space kind. Back in 2012, a giant alien lifeform, colloquially known as “Wormwood” landed in London and is now moving through Earth’s crust, not even the first of its kind, and strange things have happened, and America has “gone dark”, and in Nigeria a giant alien biodome has eventually popped up in 2055, occasionally radiating apparently healing rays (also capable of raising zombified dead at times and cause grotesque transformations in some), and an entire city has sprouted around the dome - the eponymous Rosewater (named so sarcastically, because the open sewage in its early days smelled anything but).

“We have more experience than any Western country in dealing with first contact. What do you think we experienced when your people carved up Africa at the Berlin Conference? You arrived with a different intelligence, a different civilisation, and you raped us. But we’re still here.”
The story is unfolding in three separate timelines, told in blunt, non-nonsense voice of Kaaro, a former thief and now a press-ganged agent of a secret arm of the government secret police because of his valuable and rare gift:
“This is my job. My real job. I read minds for the government.”
Kaaro and few other like him can connect to the xenosphere - a psychic link to what appears to be the world’s stored consciousness, and this gift is a direct consequence of the aliens and their “soft” invasion. Somehow certain people - the “sensitives” - can form links with the alien fungus-like organisms (“xenoforms”) that make up the xenosphere. And apparently the sensitives are dying - or maybe being killed off. Bad news for Kaaro.
“What we call the xenosphere is larger than we think. What we use is the tiny periphery that connects us and the people in our immediate environment. You’ve heard of how photosynthesis involves quantum physics? This lattice of xenoforms connects throughout Earth’s atmosphere, but not just at the present time. It is in the past and the future, and in alternate versions of our planet. It is an easy place to get lost in.”
I have to say - I loved Kaaro and his narration. Cynical and blunt, no-nonsense, no-frills voice coming from a person who is clearly not a hero, but not an archetypical antihero either. Kaaro has no illusions about the world; he’s middle-aged and has been around the metaphorical block a few times. He’s focused on pragmatical and practical survival and egoism over idealism, and suffers from apathy from which he gets shaken up despite his wishes. He does his best to remain as detached as possible, with self-interest, self-preservation and personal gain being the driving force behind many of his decisions and actions. He is lonely, although often by choice, and bitter and probably could use a few therapy sessions. He can be crass and at times a bit sexist and rude and indifferent - but also at other times compassionate and brave and, although he’d deny it - pragmatically idealistic (although not for long). He’s a bit of a diamond in the rough - quite a bit of rough. Yeah, he’s kind of an asshole - but a compelling one.
As his dossier states:

“When suitably motivated, Kaaro can be a valuable asset. That said, he is sexist, materialistic, greedy, insolent and amoral. When he was young, he stole regularly even though his parents were not struggling financially. He is not violent and does not tolerate the threat of violence well. To recruit him we used a combination of these factors, offering his freelance rate of pay as well as exposing him to extreme violence done to others.”

The alternating timelines are structured to provide just enough revelations about this world to keep me glued to the page and my imagination rolling. It’s really the journey of discovering the world, building the coherent picture out of puzzle pieces and context and time jumps - and the worldbuilding is nicely paced. Rosewater and the other corners of this world that we see are vivid in my mind, and the character of the place is well-captured - rough, hard-edged, cruel, brutal, and often unforgiving, and not as far removed from our present as one would hope. The worldbuilding is creative yet firmly grounded, and therefore quite enjoyable. There’s no shortage of profanity and unpleasantness and bodily acts and fluids - but it never ventures from gritty to prurient, and for that I’m thankful. And the great thing about the time jumps is that we get to see the changes in Kaaro’s outlook and personality after time and the world have their way with him - the changes that are very interesting when placed side by side. Despite his best efforts, he’s certainly not static, and I enjoyed seeing the glimpses of growth, both positive and negative.
“This is a psychofield, a thoughtspace, essentially unstable. While most people conceptualise thinking as this straightforward linear thing, I see ideas spreading out into alternatives before one is selected. In this place every notion can potentially become reality.”

The premise of the story, the constant connection through the xenosphere, raises interesting questions in our increasingly more and more connected - at least on a superficial level - world. The unavoidability of alien-propagated connections opposed to the deliberate disconnection of parts of the world, and the ability of the government through those like Kaaro to literally look inside your mind - it’s all can lead to quite a wealth of ponderings and parallels to the current world, of course.

And of course, the culmination of the events by the end of this book sets interesting stakes for the rest of the trilogy, and I am quite curious to see where it all goes. Although it can still be read as an open-ended standalone, I suppose, as Kaaro’s questions do get somewhat answered, although those answers do lead to more questions.
“The idea of a singular hero and a manifest destiny just makes us all 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.”

It’s clever, complex and entertaining, and was a welcome change from a few lackluster books I’ve read recently.

Solid 4+ stars.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,971 followers
October 6, 2018
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 trope of telepathy and noir/spy fiction. To speak of the little parts as if they are the best part is to miss the point, however. As a whole, the novel flies through wild magic-realm-like excursions, flesh-eating biomorphs, bank-fraud prevention, and very real alien invasion stories.

Am I impressed? Intimidated? Thrilled?
Yes. All of the above.

But one thing should be made very clear: in some ways, the alien is not so much the SF elements, but Rosewater, itself. Culture is STRANGE. Be prepared for a weird ride. :)
Profile Image for carol..
1,535 reviews7,874 followers
October 31, 2020
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 curious and the fantastical and that’s just about where Rosewater strolls.

One of my uncontested pleasures while reading was the process of building a picture of the world in my head, much like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. I knew it was science fiction, I knew it was generating some buzz as part of the African sci-fi that’s been hitting the major publishers–finally. But that’s about all I knew, that and the recommendation that Dan 2.Ω thought, “it seems like a carol book.” And it was.

So the question becomes, do you want to read it? Depends on those above-mentioned things, right? I felt like Thompson focused on character and setting, so if you don’t have a lot of tolerance for trying to build a world in your mind, this might not work. There is a plot, and while it contains secrets, surveillance and state control, it is by no means a thriller. Nor, come to think of it, does it develop that particularly suspenseful feeling of dread. Part of this might be due to the narrator, Kaaro. Told in first person, it seems like he has always been emotionally distanced from those around him, even his parents. The voice sounds somewhat clinical, but often lacking the curiosity that might propel him farther, faster.

We read classics to flood the xenosphere with irrelevant words and thoughts, a firewall of knowledge that even makes its way to the subconscious of the customer. A professor did a study of it once."

But the setting is intriguing as well. I’ve found one of the best places these days to explore the unknown territory of stories is to look to stories by authors who have often been left out of traditionally published storytelling. Though it’s set in a Nigeria of the not-all-that far future, it still feels very much like modern Nigeria, and indeed, Thompson has lived for long periods in both Nigeria and England.

“That I have somewhere to sit on this train is evidence of the draw of the Opening. The carriages are usually full to bursting and hot, not from heaters, but from body heat and exhalations and despair.”

Perhaps one concern I have of the story is some of the same ones I have for the old-school white male writers: for a future that includes such marvels, the rest of the culture has not changed significantly. Though the narrator is not homophobic, the culture remains legally and culturally so. On a similar note, some thought Kaaro was a bit of a sexist, but I found it to be no worse than typical male chauvinism (see Jim Butcher) and done in such a way that it was both indicative of his personality and emblematic of his social disconnect.

“He starts to talk shop, telling me of a near-intrusion. He looks to be in his twenties, still excited about being a sensitive, finding everything new and fresh and interesting, the opposite of cynical, the opposite of me.”

There’s a lot of layers in here; because it is about Kaaro undergoing an eye-opening experience, it ends up being an interesting but subtle social commentary as well. I ended up making several uncomfortable parallels with other books while reading it, but all of that should be spoiler material. and of the Interesting stuff that I’d recommend to intersectional sci-fi readers, or those more literary fictional ones who might stray into the sci-fi world.

Huge thanks to Dan 2.Ω who sent a copy my way and encouraged me! Many thanks to both Nataliya and Samuel for the buddy read and the interesting discussion!
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews1,016 followers
March 17, 2017
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 calling this 'weird' made it sound.

In the near future, it's discovered that some kind of alien has landed (?) surfaced (?) appeared (?) outside Lagos, Nigeria. Some kind of dome blocks off an area, and outside that dome, a shantytown has sprung up, rapidly growing and evolving. You see, periodically, the alien influence emanates some kind of 'healing' ray - and those with an eye for the main chance, as well as those who are desperate, are eager to take advantage of it.

As well, the alien influence has created a small group of telepathic 'mutants.' Of course, the government has rounded up these people, molding them into an elite group of secret agents. Kaaro, formerly a thief, has been recruited, and might be the most powerful of those who can access the 'xenosphere.' But something odd is going on in this psychic realm. Now, his fellow agents are mysteriously dying. Is someone assassinating them, or does it have something do do with the alien? How does the bizarrely sensual woman he keeps meeting on the psychic plane tie in? And what does the nomadic revolutionary and activist called 'Bicycle Girl' have to do with what's going on?

Alien invasion, mystery, x-men-style mutants, political schemes, crime drama, a touch of radical revolution, all set against a dirty, gritty, utterly convincing backdrop... sound good yet? I hope so! I can't really name any other book that's just like this one, but it's engaging and immersive as well as wonderfully original. Kaaro is not a particularly admirable character, but he's written extremely well, and comes off as very human.

Definitely on my Hugo nominating ballot.

Many thanks to Apex and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are unrelated to the source of the book.
Profile Image for Hannah.
592 reviews1,052 followers
September 20, 2018
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 follow Kaaro’s story, unchronologically and confusingly. I actually had to start the book over because I tend to not read chapter headings and had not realized that the book is set in different timelines.

Tade Thompson does not make it easy for the reader to follow the story – every timeline is told in present tense, even when Kaaro remembers doing something. There is a in-story reason for this stylistic choice (my favourite kind of stylistic choices are informed by the narrative, so I adored this) but this doesn’t make it any less confusing. The reader is along for the ride and either figures stuff out on their own or they don’t. For me, that worked really well – I like when authors trust their audience this way. And while I am still not completely certain to have grasped everything, what I understood of the story was quite brilliant.

I really liked how the framing of the story from Kaaro’s perspective colours the book – especially because he is not a particularly great person which only becomes obvious after a while. He does not feel the need to be a good person or to save the world or to do anything really, and as such he makes for a very interesting protagonist. The way other characters react to him shows more of his personality than his own narration – which I just found so cool.

So yes, I thought that this was a lot of work but I found it very rewarding in the end. I enjoy Science Fiction that feels different and books told in interesting perspectives, so this was always going to work for me.

I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK in exchange for an honest review.

You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog.
Profile Image for Beverly.
806 reviews292 followers
January 26, 2020
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.

Kaaro has been shunned by his parents because he is a thief. His mother denounced him and turned him over to a mob for killing. Although he was able to outrun them by cascading down a wall of human excrement, his girlfriend wasn't that lucky. She was burned to death while being encased in a car tire. A particularly brutal and cruel form of punishment, necklacing is a preferred method of killing by vigilante mobs.

One thing that I didn't care for in the novel is the time jumps. These intersecting timelines tell of Kaaro's life from his beginnings as a thief, to his first work for S45 in 2055 and his contemporary life in Nigeria. They are abrupt at times and make the different stories hard to follow. It is very difficult to keep up with on a kindle which is how I read this. I think I would have enjoyed reading this more in book form.
Profile Image for Rose.
42 reviews10 followers
November 21, 2018
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 the world. The first half is definitely the stronger half of the book. Kaaro’s detachment and aloofness became somewhat grating, as even during emotionally distressing situations, he would still react with the same distant coolness. I want to be able to feel the emotional reaction a character may have to a situation – not just a clinical description of the actions.

My other issue laid in the format of the storytelling – each chapter jumps between periods of time in Kaaro’s life. At first, it was cool to be able to receive backstory and the current plot at the same time, but the length of the chapters shortened, and the frequency of time jumps increased. I found myself unable to acclimate to the new/returned setting before the chapter would end and jump to a new time, forcing me to begin the process anew.

Not everything bummed me out, though! The world feels rich and lived in, and so very fascinating. The abilities of the humans and how they interact and react to a tangible, mysterious alien presence in their midst is so intriguing and fascinating. Thompson’s writing is so descriptive, and I found myself able to easily visualize the settings. The characters felt real, and the plot (though brought to a somewhat disappointing conclusion) was good. Just that last half really really wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Monica.
592 reviews622 followers
December 20, 2018
Weird and interesting. I liked this alot. Gathering my thoughts...

4 Stars

Listened to audiobook.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,599 reviews192 followers
October 10, 2018
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, thieving self was already a thief well before the alien thingy crashed.
There is a lot going on in this book, with the action moving back and forth in time as we follow Kaaro as he investigates various people for S45 by pulling information from their brains. We also see how he became a sensitive and was recruited by S45. All this takes a good half of the book before he begins checking out the mysterious problem of the sick and dying sensitives.
Kaaro is unreliable, mostly a jerk, and I still found him compelling. Not to mention the strange manifestations of things in the xenosphere, which is where the sensitives can listen in and travel in, and where Kaaro spends a lot of his time.
I was a little confused throughout this story, but I just kept reading because Tade Thompson’s world was so interesting and bizarre.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 59 books8,129 followers
November 23, 2017
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 different *actual* reality underneath that. The narrative is non linear, jumping back and forth between events of the past and present to fill in the MC's history. And the SF elements are complex and original too. But with all that, it isn't hard work to read. This is thanks to excellent controlled storytelling, but also to the intensely strong and well realised narrator, a deeply flawed man who nevertheless holds our sympathy throughout.

The Nigerian setting comes across powerfully and vividly, and it's bursting with ideas, and also an intense humanity, which SF can often lack. Terrific book. (Poorly proofread though, publisher needs to pull their socks up.) Recommended.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
April 3, 2019
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 for him seemed to revolve around sex. That’s what women mostly seemed to be for, for the narrator: the first question through his mind always seemed to be a variant on “can I fuck her?”

I especially did not enjoy him in gryphon form fucking a butterfly-winged stranger on what amounts to the astral plane. Just… no thank you.

There is some fascinating stuff here with the setting (Nigeria), the isolation of the US, the xenoforms, Wormwood… but for me it was buried under the general unpleasantness of Kaaro. He’s not particularly ashamed of using his talents to become a thief, and he’s definitely not ashamed of his objectification of women and his complete shallowness. There was an awesome potential whole different book here about Oyin Da, or Aminat, or Femi, but instead they’re sidelined and putting up with Kaaro’s shit.

I don’t know. I don’t get it, guys. I appreciate some aspects of it — SF set somewhere other than the US (or to a lesser extent, the UK/Europe)! The concept of a network of fungal infection allowing mindreading in sensitive people! Awesome! But.

I don’t think I’ll read the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Olivia.
709 reviews121 followers
April 12, 2020
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 struggle with the different timelines and the constant flipping between years.

Rosewater is a town in Nigeria, built around an alien biodome which opens once a year and heals everybody nearby. Some people have started developing powers, and one of those individuals is Kaaro, our protagonist.

The story is told in the present tense from the point of view of Kaaro. He's an unreliable narrator and a bit of a jerk, but still I found myself rooting for him and wanted him to succeed. He's an incredibly well written character.

The prose is interesting, and I can picture Kaaro talking just like this, but it took me some getting used to it. The world building is intriguing and innovative, and I loved finding out about Kaaro's power and the alien that has surfaced or landed on our world. I've got a ton of question still, as do all the character and therefore can't wait for the sequel.

I am extremely curious to find out where Thompson takes this story in the next few instalments of the series.

Recommend to all sci-fi fans who like their stories placed on earth and don't mind complex timelines and mysterious aliens.
Profile Image for Nick Borrelli.
366 reviews354 followers
March 20, 2019
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 human waste and the smell of the sick and infirm pervade daily life among the residents. A small price to pay though for the chance of ridding yourself of cancer, heart disease, or various other life-threatening maladies. Nobody knows why the biodome appeared and what its ultimate purpose is, but there are people who have been affected by it in extraordinary ways. One of these people is Kaaro, former petty thief turned government operative by the secret agency named Section 45. Kaaro has been gifted with telekinetic and telepathic powers that allow him to intrude on and read the thoughts of others. He and others like him (given the moniker "sensitives") have been contracted out by Section 45 to extract information from prisoners by process of lengthy interrogations. Kaaro doesn't necessarily relish his role, but it keeps him fairly well paid and also out of jail for the crimes he committed as a youth. Kaaro's daily life is filled with the monotonous interrogations he must perform, a side-job utilizing his powers to keep mental hackers from stealing personal information from the local bank, and dodging awful creatures called reanimates. What are reanimates you ask? It seems that the alien presence that emerges from the biodome every year to heal the sick doesn't particularly discriminate and sometimes even raises the dead from the surrounding graveyards. The monstrosities that emerge as a result of this are brain-dead killing machines that run amok within the Nigerian populace wreaking havoc. Oh and then there is the shadowy revolutionary known as Bicycle Girl who Kaaro has only seen in public fleetingly, but that his employer wants to question in connection with the alien biodome and what may be living inside it. For there are rumors that Wormwood, an extra-terrestrial being, crash-landed and formed the biodome for its own mysterious purposes and that the Bicycle Girl may hold the answers that could unlock those secrets. When Kaaro is sent by S45 to find Bicycle Girl, he eventually gets thrust into the center of a secret history that puts him face to face with the sobering reality of who is friend and who is the real enemy at the heart of ROSEWATER.

Upon immediately finishing ROSEWATER I simply couldn't think, speak, or have a coherent thought for the longest time. I was seriously flabbergasted at what I had just experienced. There are not many books that I feel mentally exhausted after reading, but this book is an experience like no other. It is also a book that makes you work a little for your reward. The story is not happy-go-lucky and there are no info dumps being spoon fed to you at every turn. Part of the wonderful appeal of this book is how much you have to really pay attention to every detail as eventually those details will all be essential to understanding the overall resolution. The story is also told through alternating timelines, which normally I do not enjoy, but in this case served beautifully to tell Kaaro's entire story from his youth to his current role with S45. Those alternating timelines shed valuable clues as to not only his history leading up to now, but also the history of the mysterious town of ROSEWATER and the alien Wormwood living within. I don't know how to put into words and still do justice to this incredible SF story.

There are so many things that I liked about it and the unique setting of Nigeria was also quite refreshing as a reader who is used to the usual tropey settings and worlds. The superstitious nature of the Nigerian populace and how they saw the alien biodome as almost a God-made structure was such an interesting element and one that made you understand why they wouldn't question this otherworldly thing that other countries would have immediately seen as a threat and destroyed. But the thing that I found most-impressive about ROSEWATER was how even though this is a tremendous SF book with plenty of futuristic technology and imaginative aspects to it, at the core of the novel it is a story very rooted in its humanity and realism. Kaaro has the same everyday challenges and insecurities that many of us have. He likes going to clubs, he likes an occasional drink every now and then, he even gets set up on a blind date. All of these things are very relatable and are a significant part of the story that helps to distinguish ROSEWATER above just your everyday SF story. I found myself fascinated by both the alien mystery and also Kaaro's life story that led him to be one of S45's most effective sensitives. So this book worked for me on many different levels. Be warned though, you will be tested by much of the narrative as the things that these characters are put through are not pleasant, and yes there is a good bit of salty language as well. But if you want to read a SF book that is smart, challenging, imaginative, and just plain compelling to read, then ROSEWATER needs to be at the top of your list. You'll have a difficult time finding a more original SF book with this much depth and wonder. I commented in one of my Goodreads progress updates that there are books, and then there are works of art. ROSEWATER is a work of art. Luckily for me, I now get to read book 2 with this story still fresh in my mind.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,013 reviews333 followers
February 13, 2019
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, kidneys, and multiple sex organs. With such magic regularly occurring, a veritable tent city of three million spreads out around the dome.

And, besides the healing, you have xenoforms scurrying-around, particularly where Sensitives are involved - people who can sense other people’s thoughts and can act as finders of lost objects, and interrogators of the worst sort. These xenoforms are microorganisms 🦠 that adhere to people and create an entire Xenosphere where minds connect through video game like avatars, some of which can be like Gryphons and others like giant erotic succubuses.

The protagonist of our story is a thief who has been recruited by the S45, a Nigerian agency tasked with searches and interrogations. His journey takes him back and forth between this world and the xenosphere, sort of like having one foot or one wing in each world.

It’s not your ordinary alien invasion story. It’s more of a cyberpunk influenced Africa-based tale that races back and forth between different timelines and the exosphere. It’s not always easy to follow and probably not everyone’s taste, but nonetheless it’s a fascinating and absorbing surge of creativity and its only volume one of a promised trilogy.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,937 followers
February 22, 2019
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 sure that it's really my kind of book. I also have to add that I have been in a bit of a reading slump for the past few weeks so whether this book put me into it or whether I just haven't been fair to it becuase of the slump I am not sure.

This story follows Kaaro, a man who has a special ability where he can read minds. This ability is rare, but he is one of the best at it and so he is recruited by an organisation to work for them. The story flips between various timelines, showing how Kaaro became involved with the other people in his life and with S45 who he is now beholden to. He has quite an interesting backstory, and his modern-day story is rather spy-like and futuristic at times.

There are aliens in his book, and also a lot of future technology such as chips inside your brain and so on. This is nothing new, but I think seeing this in the futuristic version of Africa made the book a lot more exciting.

Overall, as a start to a series it was fine to read and enjoy but I don't think it was as memorable to me as some books are, and I wish I had felt more connected to the characters who I often found kind of dislikable... Maybe it's just personal taste so I gave this a middle of the road 2.5*s in the end.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,263 reviews223 followers
November 1, 2018
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 engagement with the secret government organization S45, between the "present" in 2066 and the past in 2055 and a mission for them in 2059.

This is extremely well-written with some clever turns of phrase, but the structure can make it hard to follow, particularly when characters introduced in each of the different time periods appear in other ones. It also feels generally overlong.

The world described here is the real star, with Rosewater beautifully fleshed out and the alien presence consistently interesting and disturbing in many parts. For instance, the biodome in Rosewater opens once per year and when it does people become healed miraculously or are reconstructed in bizarre ways and dead people rise again as sort of zombies. Kaaro's psychic powers have a biological basis as well: one that's explicitly disturbing the more you think about it.
Profile Image for Empress Reece (Hooked on Books).
915 reviews79 followers
August 20, 2018
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 first book I've read by him but I would definitely like to read more.

*I received this book from Goodreads-Firstreads in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Profile Image for Justine.
1,133 reviews309 followers
November 14, 2021
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.
Profile Image for Samuel.
229 reviews31 followers
November 30, 2020
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 about the book below:

- An imaginative and refreshingly different alien invasion story told from an African perspective.
- An intriguing narrative that has so many elements packed into it: mind-reading and all sorts of other special abilities, mysterious secret agencies, various types of aliens, sociopolitical commentary on past, present and future.
- An interesting and flawed protagonist who felt very believable.
- Very detailed worldbuilding and a fascinating, if not particularly pleasant, future setting.
- Excellent narration in a convincing Nigerian accent, which really made the characters come alive.

- Not the easiest book to follow on audio. The story is somewhat cerebral and the alternating timelines also made it difficult to keep the story and characters straight at times.
- Some of the female characters were a bit underdeveloped.
- The violence and misogyny might put certain readers off.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
November 19, 2018
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/10/04/...

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 at the secret government facility known only as Section 45. The year is 2066, and the world has seen dramatic changes since the arrival of an alien lifeform which has settled itself near right outside of Lagos, Nigeria, where most of this story takes place. There, the alien presence has taken the form of a biodome, giving rise to Rosewater, the name of the community that has sprung up around its edges. Every so often, the dome would also split apart, releasing a mysterious substance rumored to have strong healing powers. As a result, Rosewater has become a destination for some of the world’s most hungry, sick, and desperate.

Kaaro himself has been changed by the biodome. He is among a group of individuals “infected” by the alien presence when it first arrived, which has granted them these uncanny telepathic abilities. Called sensitives, they share a special connection with the living dome, allowing them to pick up on thoughts and other signals to glean information and knowledge. When Kaaro first discovered he was a sensitive, he used his newfound powers to steal, but now he has joined many others like him, coerced by Section 45 to work for them as an interrogator to extract information from prisoners. But something odd has been happening lately. Visions of a woman with butterfly wings inside the biodome keep appearing to Kaaro, and soon many of his fellow sensitives are getting sick and dying. Is this a targeted attack on those like him, or something else? And will he be next?

I won’t deny this was a story that took a long time to take shape and gain traction. There’s a lot of world-building to establish, not to mention a lot jumping around in the timeline—something I admittedly struggle with when I encounter non-linear storytelling. And I would say Rosewater did take a while to generate interest, but once it dug its hooks into me, I was sold. Around the time Kaaro was informed of the many other sensitives like him dying under mysterious circumstances, the mystery plot came into the forefront and became the most important element of the book. At this point I finally felt like I was in my element, that there were tangible conflicts to which I could latch onto and focus my attentions.

That said, I also don’t want to give the wrong impression of this book. Yes, it is strange, and there are many moving parts, with the story taking a long rambling route to where it wants to be. Despite this though, Rosewater is very readable and accessible, even if it did require a fair bit of investment on my part. It is almost overwhelming in places, due to the sheer amount of information one must take in, from reanimates to secret portals and angel-like extraterrestrials. Suffice to say, we would be here all day if I were to detail all of the crazy inventive stuff I found in this novel, because pretty much everything was just so damn cool.

And to be honest, Rosewater only started to grow on me once all these ideas had their chance to settle. It wasn’t until much later that it occurred to me, this novel that I held in my hands was much more than a sci-fi mystery. It is also a tale of alien first contact, but unlike any I’ve ever read before. Revolution simmers beneath the surface, in this future version of Africa where many of the rights and freedoms have still yet to reach the people. Nigeria has become a gathering place for much of the world’s disenfranchised, who have come to the biodome with hopes of salvation.

Now might also be a good time to point out this is not a very cheerful tale; it is set to the backdrop of a lot of unpleasantness and misery, and Kaaro is a character with whom readers might have a hard time connecting. He fits the profile of a film noir protagonist in a lot of ways, namely being a socially estranged loner with a lot of existential angst—much of it not unwarranted, I might add. He has a complicated past, a result of coming into his powers at a young age. The rapport he has with coworkers and fellow sensitives also belies the fact he despises working for Section 45, though the details of his history with them isn’t revealed until much later. His experience with the alien lifeform, Rosewater, and his own powers are dominated by emotions of uncertainty, and it is this vulnerability that makes him feel so genuine to me. Such a complex portrayal of a multilayered, often contradictory protagonist is never easy, but I was really impressed by the work Tade Thompson has done.

So, if you are feeling brave, please think about giving Rosewater a chance. Personally, I am glad I did, despite my initial worries that it would be too weird or confusing for my tastes. Frankly, it is an rare and beautiful thing for a book to start off by filling me with doubt, only to turn around and sweep me off my feet, leaving me with a strong and lasting impression by the end. It’s a real treat, one I hope many others will be able to experience with this incredibly unique and thought-provoking novel.
Profile Image for Allison Hurd.
Author 3 books700 followers
November 7, 2018
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)

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 person. He might even be a bad person. But he feels so very average, it's a refreshing and relatable change of pace. All this glamour in his life and he wants to play soccer on weekends, and adopt a dog.

-The world and setting. Lagos as a setting is so cool, as is the concept of the Dome, the set up of the city and housing and so on. It's full of flavor, distinctly not Western, but still feels approachable. I've found a lot of stories from this part of the world are so full of brutality and the different ways brutality make you think that it's hard for me to engage. Not so, here. There's enough of what I value in here to make it interesting while still making it clear that it's not meant to be mine.

-The pacing. The mystery, the world, the knowledge, it was all dropped on us beautifully. I was off balance the whole time, but still able to follow what was happening. He kept it on a razor edge and that was marvelous.

-The xenosphere. It could have been boring or trite. Instead I thought it was fascinating. Well done "magic" type creation.

-The writing. There were some great turns of phrase in prose that was tight, clean, and evocative.

Things that tripped me up:

-All the sex. There are erections and orgasms all over the place. Which, fine, I guess, but I'm not sure what it added to the story, and in fact actively threw me out a few times.

-The casual sexism. Yeah, it's there. It's not our culture, and it's soooooo much less than Okorafor's writing has, for example. Aggravating though. A couple times I wanted to say "shut up, Kaaro, you're being a dick, shove me in Aminat's head instead." But, I have to give props. It's clear that Thompson is thinking things through. There are believable women characters with their own agendas and strengths who have no patience for the world that tells them no. So, yes, there's objectification and possessiveness and patriarchy and so on, but the world does not erase women in the slightest.

-The plot. I was a little disappointed in where it ended. All this build up and it seemed to fall apart a little at the end. A little deus ex. A little convenient. A little underwhelming. But still a great ride.

-The showing not matching the telling. Kaaro is supposed to be average. Not a "save the world" type. Not brave. A little ornery, a little too much thinking with his small brain and not the one in his head. But then he contradicts this self-image. I'd have liked this to have been smoother.

Definitely glad to have read this. Highly recommend checking it out and will likely read the second book.
Profile Image for Starlah.
393 reviews1,599 followers
May 7, 2021
I really enjoyed this ... it definitely wasn't perfect, there were plotlines I had trouble following, but I still really enjoyed it.

In this scifi, aliens have crashed to Earth in meteors and developed from smart bacteria. They created a dome in Africa, but before it was completed, some of their smart bacteria traveled through the air, outside of the dome, and made contact with humans, giving them the ability to access the xenosphere (something like a psychic internet). We follow Kaaro, who is one of these humans who came in contact with this alien bacteria and has become, what they call, a sensitive.

Kaaro - our protagonist - is not perfect, something I really love in protagonist. He is flawed and not always the best person or makes the best decisions. He is a thief and a self-proclaimed coward. He has morals, but when it comes to self-preservation, they vary. Kaaro works for a government organization called Section 45, who like to collect Sensitives and use their abilities. Kaaro is good at his job but doesn't really enjoy it, but he also doesn't always have a choice.

The story has two separate timelines. A present day (2066), and a past timeline, that starts from the beginning and progresses until it meets present day. In the present timeline, Kaaro begins a relationship with a woman with a shady past. Also, there are other Sensitives who begin dying off. And the past timeline, starts from Kaaros beginning: from discovering his abilities, life life life, to eventually being recruited by Section 45.

The writing in this book took me a little while to adjust to. It is almost entirely just straightforward, factual statements. "This is a book. I am holding it. This is what I want. I am thinking this." etc. Eventually though, I did adjust to the writing and it really did seem to fit with Kaaro - first person narrative. Even being straightforward, the story was very descriptive and I can totally imagine it! (almost like a James Cameron Avatar thing)

I really enjoyed the first 3rd of the book. It was jammed pack and super interesting and did a great job NOT being infodumpy and very organically painting this world. But then it hit a slump, and the middle of the book was very slow and where I kind of started to lose my way with some of the plotlines. I think, overall, I enjoyed Kaaro's past plotline better than the present. For the majority of the book (probably until the past 3rd) the present timeline didn't have much going on. But the past timeline was always something from the beginning, so I really liked that.

I'm excited to continue with the series. Again, it wasn't perfect, I definitely kind of struggled thinking this might be a 3-star, but after finishing and letting it marinate for a bit, my enjoyment was definitely big enough for this to be a 4-star. Definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,151 reviews1,118 followers
April 27, 2020
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 times.

I am regretting that I did not read it earlier but better late than never. It looks like its recent Clarke Award win and Hugo nod is well deserved. I cannot wait to immerse myself again in this world. The Rosewater Insurrection next month!
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,892 reviews429 followers
April 1, 2020
'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 base', Lagos, Rosewater, Akure, Kano, Abuja, Kainji Dam, Niger State, The Lijad, Ubar, Maiduguri, and American Colony - locations also given out of order.

Kaaro has special mental abilities, gentle reader. These abilities are caused by a new type of microscopic fungus which has become part of Earth's atmosphere. The strange fungus affects certain people, giving them unpredictable mental abilities, like becoming a Finder of lost stuff. The fungus has been spread into the atmosphere by an alien entity which has landed on Earth from space. It has made itself a home In Nigeria. It plants itself in a mostly unoccupied Nigerian area which eventually becomes the town of 'Rosewater'.

People congregate around the entity, which has built itself a dome. On regular occasions, the entity releases a fungi that cures diseases like AIDS and cancer. It (they?) also brings the dead back out of nearby cemeteries or morgues to a lifelike animation without them being actually alive, or it sometimes rearranges the molecules of human bodies into monster shapes, depending on previous injuries. However, it is the ones called Sensitives which interest Nigeria's Department S45. Kaaro was affected by the fungus by becoming what is called a 'finder' -type Sensitive.

Kaaro is also an anti-hero, gentle reader. He is not brave or noble. He is amoral. He does what he does to survive, mostly. He is a reluctant pawn and cat's paw, but he struggles against the competing authorities and his peers who want to use him. Besides Kaaro's top-secret employment with S45, he works with other Sensitives reading novels out loud into a mental dimension called the Xenosphere to deter other Sensitives from stealing bank access information for money.

Don't ask, gentle reader. I barely understand some of the things going on in 'Rosewater' too. 'Rosewater' is the first in a planned trilogy. I suspect more will be revealed in the following books. A lot does becomes clearer in 'Rosewater' as one reads further to the end of the novel. More or less.

None of the plot is in much of any order at all, although there is a forward progression eventually. I have, kindly, if I say so myself, arranged the years of the chapters in order above.

Reading this book was like watching Memento, the movie.


However, the plots of 'Rosewater' and 'Memento', are completely different and unrelated. In the detective mystery story of 'Memento', both the main protagonist and us viewers are in the dark. In the science-fiction novel 'Rosewater', it is the reader alone who is massively confused by out-of-order Timelines. Kaaro, the narrator and main character, has complete control of the transmission of his story, similar to the famous opening for this old TV show 'Outer Limits' :


From what I DO understand, Kaaro has abilities which permit him to enter a mental space, the Xenosphere. The Xenosphere is a Time/Space Universe, one of the many in the Multiverse. Or maybe it is simply a mental dimension which somehow is physically accessible to Sensitives (like in the Wheel of Time series), often posited by some theoretical physics scientists for fun and Hollywood science-fiction film producers who actually understand as much as I do about physics (nothing at all in other words). Kaaro likes to play in this Xenosphere as a gryphon avatar (yes, avatars!), and he engages with other Sensitives. All of the Sensitives use avatars while in the Xenosphere.

The plot of 'Rosewater' relies more on the plot elements of the movie Inception:


and less on plot elements of the movie Interstellar:


but the basic premise of 'Rosewater' is a kind of a mashup of these two movies, imho.

The book seemed to me a story which is involving somehow the real-life scientific 'The Theory of Everything'. You know, gentle reader! The Unification of the incompatible Standard Models in physics and astronomy! The book might be an accessible pop-culture science-fiction tale about the Grand Unifying Field Theory of the general relativity and the quantum field theories!


Don't worry yourself, gentle reader. This novel is more of a fantasy genre, than it is science fiction, with a little romance thrown in. I think. Kaaro is maybe falling in love with a woman he meets along the way in his quest to survive many opposing forces against him. I think. There won't be any physics theories to learn, in any case.

Just lean in and accept it. I liked it, except for the extreme fragmentation of the timeline.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,785 reviews1,626 followers
October 4, 2018
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 what you write it won't be able to do justice to the book? Well, this is definitely one of those times!

This deserves a wide readership and no less than five stars because of the breath of fresh air it brings to the fiction genre. An original idea that is rich in detail and is different to anything I've ever come across before. This definitely had a huge impact on me and came around at exactly the right time as I am quite frankly getting sick of the same concepts being used a gazillion times. Thompson has restored my love of reading! There is the potential for confusion with the continual time shifts that occur throughout, but if I'm honest it didn't really affect me all that much. My fascination with African literature was rewarded here as the Nigerian setting was not just incredible, but I almost felt I was there with the characters due to the wonderfully vivid descriptions we are given. This is science fiction with elements of a mystery/thriller which combine to create an addictive plot - due to this I feel it has wide appeal, and the author delivers a suspenseful story that I simply couldn't put down. I honestly cannot wait to see how the series progresses and am already eagerly anticipating the second book 'The Rosewater Insurrection' due to be published in March 2019.

Many thanks to Orbit for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for DivaDiane.
948 reviews90 followers
November 30, 2022
Actually more like 3.5 or more, but not a 4. I listened to the excellently performed audiobook and was sadly often confused because I could remember when this bit of the story took place. The sections say when and where, but it’s quite easy to forget, especially when you interrupt an audio book. There wasn’t anything else that distinguished the different parts of the story either, so I sort of wonder what the motivation was for going back and forth in time actually.

I thought the premise was really interesting. I do like first contact stories and the setting here was fascinating. I was captivated at the beginning of the story. I think the writing is quite good.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,134 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.