Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Binti #1-3

Binti: The Complete Trilogy

Rate this book
Includes a brand-new Binti story!

Collected for the first time in an omnibus edition, the Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning Binti trilogy, the story of one extraordinary girl's journey from her home to distant Oomza University.

In her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novella, Nnedi Okorafor introduced us to Binti, a young Himba girl with the chance of a lifetime: to attend the prestigious Oomza University. Despite her family's concerns, Binti's talent for mathematics and her aptitude with astrolabes make her a prime candidate to undertake this interstellar journey.

But everything changes when the jellyfish-like Medusae attack Binti's spaceship, leaving her the only survivor. Now, Binti must fend for herself, alone on a ship full of the beings who murdered her crew, with five days until she reaches her destination.

There is more to the history of the Medusae--and their war with the Khoush--than first meets the eye. If Binti is to survive this voyage and save the inhabitants of the unsuspecting planet that houses Oomza Uni, it will take all of her knowledge and talents to broker the peace.

Collected now for the first time in omnibus form, follow Binti's story in this groundbreaking sci-fi trilogy.

368 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 5, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Nnedi Okorafor

144 books14.9k followers
Nnedi Okorafor is a New York Times Bestselling writer of science fiction and fantasy for both children and adults. The more specific terms for her works are africanfuturism and africanjujuism, both terms she coined and defined. Born in the United States to two Nigerian (Igbo) immigrant parents and visiting family in Nigeria since she was a child, the foundation and inspiration of Nnedi’s work is rooted in this part of Africa. Her many works include Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award and in development at HBO as a TV series), the Nebula and Hugo award winning novella trilogy Binti (in development as a TV series), the Lodestar and Locus Award winning Nsibidi Scripts Series, LaGuardia (winner of a Hugo and Eisner awards for Best Graphic Novel) and her most recent novella Remote Control. Her debut novel Zahrah the Windseeker won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. She lives with her daughter Anyaugo in Phoenix, AZ. Learn more about Nnedi at Nnedi.com and follow Nnedi on twitter (as @Nnedi), Facebook and Instagram.

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
2,010 (37%)
4 stars
2,051 (38%)
3 stars
997 (18%)
2 stars
242 (4%)
1 star
64 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 930 reviews
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
August 13, 2021
$1.99 Kindle sale for the whole Binti trilogy! Aug. 12, 2021. 3.5 stars for this collection of the three Binti novellas, plus a new short story. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature (along with several other reviews from my co-reviewers there; we have a whole range of opinions on the BINTI stories):

As Binti, a mathematically brilliant, 16 year old member of the African Himba tribe, sneaks away from her home in the dead of night, I felt almost as much anticipation as Binti herself. Binti has decided, against massive family pressure, to accept a full-ride scholarship to the renowned Oomza University on a planet named ― wait for it ― Oomza Uni. (Perhaps the university sprawls across the entire planet? Certainly it covers several cities many miles apart.) Himba tribe members are technically advanced but socially isolated from other people, and Binti’s breaking away from her tribe evidences her courage, but leaves her isolated, an outsider.

On the spaceship, Binti has found several like-minded friends among the students traveling to Oomza Uni (and even a new crush) when disaster strikes in the form of a proud, militant alien race, the large jellyfish-shaped Meduse. The Meduse massacre all of the humans on the ship except the pilot, who is necessary to their plans, and Binti, who is not, but who is mysteriously protected against attack by her edan, an ancient metal artifact that she carries with her. Binti is forced to deal with the aftermath of this catastrophe and the constant threat of death from the Meduse who are lurking outside her room. As she searches for a way to not just survive but to resolve her deep anger and distress, Binti herself grows and changes as a result.

This theme of personal growth and change continues through the second and third novellas in this collection, Home and The Night Masquerade, as well as the new short story, “Binti: Sacred Fire.” In “Sacred Fire,” Binti is dealing with the emotional aftermath of the massacre that she experienced first-hand on the spaceship, and is experiencing rage incidents and trouble developing relationships with others. She takes on an impromptu personal retreat to the desert, searching for inner peace and understanding, and finds new friendships in the process.

Binti: Home follows Binti as she leaves the university for a period to return to her home on Earth, with her Meduse friend Okwu accompanying her. Trouble awaits them there, not just from Binti’s choice to attend Oomza University rather than accept the role her family intended for her, but from Okwu’s presence. The Meduse have a long history of war with the Khoush people, and though there is currently a tentative peace treaty, Okwu’s being in their territory has inflamed emotions. Meanwhile, Binti is also having issues with her ongoing PTSD and with new revelations about her life and ancestry.

At the beginning of Binti: The Night Masquerade, Binti has just found out that her family and home are under attack and is rushing home to her family and tribe as fast as possible. The Night Masquerade deals with what she finds when she gets home, and the fall-out from all of the problems that have been building up. It’s up to Binti, with the help of her friends (including the obligatory new love interest), to try to prevent an all-out war between the Khoush and the Meduse.

The first novella, Binti, won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, I believe largely on the strength of its highly unusual minority main character (who, to be fair, is a great YA heroine) and its incorporation of current social issues. Binti is amazing and complex, with mixed motivations and emotions that she doesn’t always understand. She felt real to me, though her continual emotional outbursts and PTSD did get tiresome to read about after a while. But it was delightful learning more about her tribe’s culture, including the Himba women’s practice of covering their skin and hair with otjize, a red clay mixture ― a practice Binti follows with dedication, even when she is lightyears away from her home.

At the same time, Okorafor takes on multiple social issues like cultural insensitivity, finding connections with those who are different, and standing up for yourself against social pressure. The Himba are looked down on by the Khoush, the Arab (per Okorafor) people who are the majority, and the Himba in turn look down on the Desert People, or Zinariya, who are actually far more advanced than anyone outside of their tribe realizes. Binti’s best human friend at Oomza Uni is Haifa, a Khoush girl who was born physically male and transitioned to female at age thirteen.

Binti also contains some intriguing science fictional concepts and devices, like the astrolabe, a multi-functional mobile device, and the living spaceships, which are closely related to shrimp and can give birth to new spaceships. It’s also got a little of the “Africa power” vibe of Black Panther ― high technology hidden from the view of outsiders ― which I enjoyed. There are the bones of some good world-building here.

But, other than the unusual minority heroine and the Africa setting, the BINTI trilogy struck me as a fairly standard YA fantasy/SF novel, with many of the typical tropes. There’s the special snowflake main character who saves a world (at least part of it) despite her youth, a love interest or two, the patriarchal establishment that the main character fights against, and more.

The science fiction plot is serviceable but has several rather noticeable plot holes in it. Some examples (warning: spoilers for the first novella are in this paragraph): Binti’s edan device mysteriously poisons the Meduse, thus saving her life … and then Binti’s otjize, a mixture of clay and plant oils, just as magically heals the Meduse’s wounds and scars. No good reason is ever given for either of these key plot devices. The Meduse keep the spaceship pilot alive so that he can get them through security and land the ship on Oomza Uni, but any ship pilot worth his or her salt would refuse to cooperate, perhaps even suicide or crash the ship, to avoid a worse massacre on the planet. Forgiveness for the Meduse’s terrorist murders of hundreds of innocent people on the spaceship is quickly given, with no lasting repercussions, because … their rage was justified by a thoughtless insult given the Meduse chief, a failure to respect his culture. Really? And in The Night Masquerade, two separate, deeply emotional crises occur … and then the punches are pulled, in both cases in rather far-fetched ways. Some additional foundation-setting or foreshadowing might have helped with my ability to accept these events.

Perhaps Okorafor’s focus on Binti’s internal growth and turmoil and on social issues led her to not think through the logic of the plot as carefully as she might have. Still, for me the delightfully unique heroine and her culture and story of personal growth more than make up for the plot’s weaknesses. Just don’t think about the plot too hard.

I received a free copy from the publisher for review. Thank you so much!

Initial post: The publishing gods love me!! I requested this on NetGalley and got a hardcover in the mail today!💕
Profile Image for Tim Null.
87 reviews53 followers
January 15, 2023
I'm sure it wasn't Binti. It was me. I've been having one of those weeks. I had a touch of something, and I was a bit under the weather. Also, the weather has been cold and rainy with occasional flooding. Then combine fatigue with evacuation, and you have an unhappy boy who's weary of novels written with the first person point of view.

At their worse novels written from a first-person point of view can sacrifice the plot on the altar of character development. At its best, Binti is worse than that.

So here I am, feeling under par, hoping for a snappy book with a fast developing plot, but that's not what Binti gave me. The occasional plot twists in Binti are dramatic enough, but they come out of left field with no proper development, and they quickly fade away with no sustaining tension.

Perhaps I shouldn't criticize a book for not being the book I needed at this moment in my life, but here I sit wallowing in my disappointment. I'm still looking for a book with a fast-moving plot. A book that will put the snap in snappy.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,625 reviews5,071 followers
February 5, 2019
#1 Binti ★★★★★
#2 Home ★★★★☆
#3 The Night Masquerade ★★★☆☆
#1-3 Complete Trilogy Edition ★★★★☆

They say that when faced with a fight you cannot win, you can never predict what you will do next. But I'd always known I'd fight until I was killed.

I've been meaning to pick up these novellas for ages, so I was really excited to get the opportunity to review the entire trilogy now that it's been released in a bind-up. This is a series that starts off really strong—enough so that I'd say the first book, Binti, is one of the most enjoyable novellas I've ever read, as well as one of my favorite adult sci-fi reads ever.

While the first novella lacks a bit in world-building, it more than makes up for that absence with character development. I loved Binti as a character and really treasured her thirst for knowledge and her bravery despite all of the immense obstacles trying to hold her back from her future. Okwu, on the other hand, I had mixed feelings about at first, but quickly came to treasure as a character despite the rocky nature of their meeting.

There was always so much I didn’t know, but not knowing was part of it all.

The thing about this series is that it can almost be hard to know who you want to root for, because everyone is flawed and history is muddled—which I found incredibly true-to-life for many circumstances, especially considering histories of wars and feds, so I appreciated that there were no "perfect" groups or characters in the equation.

Unfortunately, I'll admit that the series did become less enjoyable for me as time went on. The second novella, Home, was still a very fun read, but it became tougher for me to reason with the lack of world-building and the random info dumps; on the other hand, though, The Night Masquerade went too far in the opposite direction and gave me too much information and history with too little action and character development.

Even back then I had changed things, and I didn’t even know it. When I should have reveled in this gift, instead, I’d seen myself as broken. But couldn’t you be broken and still bring change?

Minor complaints aside, I wholeheartedly recommend this series. It's an incredibly quick trilogy to get through, there's a gorgeous portrayal of culture and how significant cultural history and rituals can be to people—especially to individuals who have a history of being oppressed, like Binti's people, the Himba—and, if you're a fan of audiobooks, I strongly recommend Robin Miles' delivery of these stories.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Nancy.
415 reviews
March 8, 2023
I read this for my Science Fiction and Fantasy book club. I really enjoyed the creative story line in this trilogy. It is a fast and easy read.
Profile Image for Noria.
202 reviews
September 8, 2020
*This is a review of the short story, Binti: Sacred Fire

Although I read all the novellas through this bind-up, I wasn't planning on reviewing this bind up because I wanted to give my reviews for each of the individual stories. But then I realized that Binti: Sacred Fire is the added short story to this collection that wasn't an initial part of the trilogy and I was shooketh because of what I've read so far (I've read Binti, Binti: Sacred Fire and Binti: Home), Binti: Sacred Fire, is my absolute favourite of the novellas so far. Reading about Binti dealing with the PTSD of the trauma she experienced in Binti was just mindblowing. And the fact that Nnedi is able to convey all of that in a novella has my mind blown! And now to realize that that people jumped straight from Binti to Binti: Home, and didn't read about Binti dealing with the trauma of the experience?!!! Wow. Thank the book gods that wasn't my story because there is an added level of humanity and depth that Binti: Sacred Fire brings to the whole series, that just makes an otherwise amazing story, phenomenal!
Profile Image for Melanie Schneider.
Author 20 books77 followers
January 11, 2019
An vielen Stellen zeigt sich, was für großartige Ideen die Autorin hat. Jedoch war der Schreibstil oft holprig und es gab auch Dinge, die zu wenig konsistent waren und mir auffielen.

Die Entwicklungen waren oft auf eine positive Art wild. Mein Kommentar dazu heute war: Sie schreibt ein wenig so, wie die Melvins Musik machen. Und das ist definitiv nichts schlechtes ;)
Profile Image for Tanabrus.
1,830 reviews157 followers
February 2, 2020
Tre romanzi brevi e un racconto, per tessere la storia di Binti.
Una ragazza africana di etnia Himba, gente che vive al bordo del deserto, circondata e in qualche misura asservita ai più diffusi e belligeranti Khoush. Una piccola popolazione orgogiosa, pacifica, chiusa in sé stessa e nelle proprie tradizioni.

Binti è un genio matematico, in un universo dove ormai la matematica è alla base di tutto e fa girare il cosmo. Immergendosi nella matematica trova la pace, ramificando le equazioni scompone la materia e genera corrente.
Qualità che l'hanno fatta nominare maestra Armonizzatrice, destinata a succedere al padre nella costruzione dei dispositivi tecnologici che tutti usano per comunicare a distanza.
Ma che l'hanno anche portata a ottenere una borsa di studio per l'Oozma University, l'università più prestigiosa e bramata di tutte.
La famiglia è contraria e le ha proibito di andare, deve restare al villaggio, essere una Maestra Armonizzatrice, occuparsi del negozio del padre e in futuro sposare qualcuno e mettere al mondo dei figli. Rispettare le tradizioni, e come tutti loro espandersi verso l'interno, non verso l'esterno.

Binti è diversa. Sente che il suo destino, il suo fato è rivolto all'esterno.
A quell'università prestigiosa su un pianeta lontano.
Quindi scappa, recide i legami col passato, e fugge verso il futuro.

Che la porterà a frapporsi tra Khoush e Meduse in una inutile guerra senza fine, a sperimentare le meraviglie del melting pot galattico dell'università, popolata da infinite specie senzienti solitamente non umanoidi.
E ancora, gli studi sul suo misterioso Edan, il mistero delle sue origini, i legami che forgerà con creature aliene arrivando a essere Binti ma anche qualcosa di più, di diverso, di unico.

Una giovane donna che cerca di seguire il suo cuore e di rispettare le tradizioni, di essere tutto ciò che gli altri si aspettano che lei sia e al tempo stesso di raggiungere il futuro che vuole per sé stessa.

Un'ottima caratterizzazione per questa protagonista, soprattutto nelle comprensibili crisi che si ritrova ad affrontare messa di fronte ai propri cambiamenti, e una stupefacente inventiva per questo universo.

Una piacevolissima lettura.
Profile Image for Ajeje Brazov.
684 reviews
August 19, 2021
Binti è una ragazza della tribù degli Himba, lei vuole semplicemente essere libera, vuole esplorare, vuole la pace, la condivisione delle esperienze e ha la capacità di esplorare il suo io attraverso la matematica. Così parte per un viaggio che cambierà la vita a lei ed a tutta la sua famiglia.
Ambientato in un futuro immaginario e molto lontano, dove i viaggi spaziali sono la quotidianità, ma anche dove i dogmi e le tradizioni bloccano la crescita interiore delle persone, nello specifico e soprattutto delle ragazze, ma anche dei ragazzi e di qualsiasi altro essere umano. Ma Binti non vuole stravolgere nulla, vuole semplicemente essere se stessa e per esserlo dovrà rompere queste catene e...

Romanzo di formazione, romanzo d'avventura, di fantascienza, come lo si voglia catalogare non importa, ciò che mi preme dire di quest'opera straordinaria è che fa riflettere sulle diversità, non come ad una mancanza e perciò deriderle, ma come un fattore di crescita intellettuale, culturale e sociale, fa riflettere anche sulla generosità, sulla gentilezza, sull'amare il prossimo (qualsiasi essere vivente possibile) perchè questo ci farà crescere con il volto rivolto nell'immensità dell'universo e non rinchiuso nelle quattro mura imposte dai dogmi, dalle regole e dai pregiudizi, che ci obblighiamo a rispettare, perchè altrimenti chissà cosa ci succederà!

Un'avventura di rara sensibilità, raccontata con una delicatezza tale da rendere la lettura così coinvolgente ed emozionante. Consigliatissimo!

Il mio popolo crea e costruisce astrolabi. Ricorriamo alla matematica per generare le correnti al loro interno. I migliori di noi possiedono il dono di creare una squisita armonia, di fare in modo che gli atomi si accarezzino tra loro come amanti.
Profile Image for Starlah.
393 reviews1,598 followers
February 28, 2020
I am just using this for the short story within this bindup because Goodreads, for some reason, does not have it on its own. The short story is called SACRED FIRE and takes place between the first (BINTI) and second (BINTI: HOME) books in the Binti trilogy. It is 34 pages long and is about Binti who has arrived at Oomza University and started her studies. She is psychologically scarred from what happened in the first book and is having a hard time. I adored this short story, just as I adore this entire trilogy. I absolutely LOVE Binti as a character and her journey. The raw and real depiction of mental health and cultural struggles depicted in this are absolutely beautiful.
Profile Image for Para (wanderer).
356 reviews191 followers
February 8, 2019
ARC received from the publisher (DAW) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this series of novellas immensely. I've had Binti on my TBR since 2016 and in a way, I'm glad I waited until now - even though this is my first read, they work far, far better as one book.
“I have to try and make it better,” I said. “I can’t just leave here.”

Binti, a mathemagical genius and a master harmonizer, is the first of the Himba people to  be invited to attend the prestigious Oomza Uni. Her family disapproves - her skills are valuable and her people do not leave their land but focus on developing technology where they are - so she leaves in secret. But on the ship, a tragedy strikes, and she is forced into the role of a diplomat, both to save herself and prevent an interspecies war. The next two books are focused on the consequences of her decisions and her eventual return home, and the extra short story in this edition, focused on her daily life at the Oomza Uni and making friends bridges the gap between books #1 and #2 wonderfully.

What I liked the best are the setting and the themes. It deals quite heavily with identity and culture - they provide a major source of conflict. Binti might go against her society's norms quite often, but she is still proudly Himba, never without otjize, the scented clay the women use. She has to deal with other people's prejudices towards her and confront her own. The worldbuilding approach is deep instead of wide, a consequence of the original novella length, so while the world does seem small in places (there are only about 3-4 Earth cultures mentioned), what's there seems fairly well thought out. After the events of the first story, Binti also ends up with a case of PTSD, with which she struggles throughout the whole series - and again, I appreciate writers who don't make the characters shrug off trauma after maybe one scene of them dealing with it because it's inconvenient.

If there is a thing that might annoy some people, it's that the protagonist starts off as fairly special and gets more so as the story goes on - additional powers, hidden lineage, the works. It didn't bother me much, but it's a dealbreaker I see mentioned quite often.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: fans of science fantasy, those looking for books with themes of culture and culture clash
Not recommended to: those annoyed by superspecial protagonists

More reviews on my blog, To Other Worlds.
Profile Image for The Reading's Love Blog.
1,340 reviews222 followers
October 12, 2019
RECENSIONE: https://thereadingslove.blogspot.com/...

Per chi non lo sapesse, quest’opera raccoglie l’intera trilogia, ovvero i racconti Binti, Ritorno a casa e La maschera della notte, riuniti in un unico volume. Ero curiosissima di leggere questa trilogia fantascientifica dell’autrice statunitense di origini nigeriane Nnedi Okorafor, ero pronta a tutto e devo ammettere che non sono rimasta per niente delusa. Il punto forte di questa trilogia è l’originalità del contenuto poiché ci troviamo in navicelle spaziali, in guerre tra umani e alieni e veniamo a contatto con la cultura africana che non conosciamo abbastanza e che non viene mai approfondita nei pochi romanzi pubblicati. La protagonista Binti acquisisce la personalità dell’autrice, ne trae alcune sue caratteristiche, diventando una delle eroine migliori dei romanzi fantasy. Binti è un personaggio che racchiude più sfumature: è dolce, fragile e gentile, alcune volte la vediamo confusa perché si trova di fronte ad eventi e situazioni così diversi dalla monotonia della sua vita precedente, vissuta all'interno del suo popolo Himba ricco di tradizioni, ma per tutta la durata della storia non si arrende mai, dimostra a se stessa e a i lettori di non mollare mai, di essere forte sempre, di voler salvare il mondo e la sua gente. Binti impersona gli ideali di intelligenza, di cambiamento, di eroismo e rinnovamento, ci insegna che anche chi vive nell’angolo più remoto del mondo può fare la differenza, può diventare geniale e intelligente e può inseguire i propri sogni e le proprie aspirazioni. Ed è proprio il diverso che mi attira, è proprio questa protagonista così singolare che ci parla di discriminazione razziale e di pregiudizi che mi ha attirato a leggere questo libro. Binti è un personaggio geniale, amante della matematica che desidera frequentare la più prestigiosa università intergalattica. La matematica scorre nelle sue vene fin da bambina e sono rimasta spiazzata di fronte alla sua intelligenza, alla sua decisione di rompere gli schemi e le tradizioni del suo popolo e di fuggire dalla sua famiglia per rincorrere il suo sogno. E sarà proprio questo viaggio a cambiarla e a farla maturare, a farle incontrare le Meduse, creature aliene che sono da sempre in guerra contro gli umani e a sovvertire il destino dell’intero universo. Binti è un romanzo futuristico di formazione che fa riflettere su temi contemporanei, fa aprire gli occhi e il cuore e ci fa cambiare il modo in cui vediamo il mondo. L’autrice ha voluto portare alla luce l’importanza dell’uguaglianza, che si traduce nel superamento e nell'abbattimento delle barriere tra culture e razze, tra tradizioni e pregiudizi, tra uomo e donna. Leggere questo romanzo significa aprire la mente a nuove realtà, capire che ogni creatura non è totalmente buona o cattiva, ma possiede entrambe le qualità, significa immedesimarsi in Binti, vivere le sue avventure, sentire ogni sua emozione e interrogarsi su ogni suo dubbio. Binti è una protagonista che entra nel cuore del lettore con le sue fragilità e incertezze che si traducono in forza e coraggio. L’autrice crea un affresco affascinante che io apprezzato molto e che ho vissuto da vicino. La prosa è scorrevole e intrigante, le pagine scorrono senza renderci conto, anche se il finale risulta troppo frettoloso e in alcune parti la narrazione è più lenta e confusionaria, soprattutto perché l’autrice dà per scontato che i lettori conoscano già i luoghi, i pianeti e le razze...

154 reviews21 followers
August 4, 2020
Binti is a breath of fresh air for people who come from fantasy epics and space operas that inundate the reader with exposition. The three books, all taken together, are about 450 pages long with large margins and a decent font size. Okorafor's pacing is quick-at times perhaps too quick-and even the scenes that are redundant or could have been cut pass by so quickly that they barely register. Even the second book, the most introspective and thoughtful of the trilogy, moves faster than most action films.

Okorafor's best decision was to frame the trilogy as a story of personal growth, alienation, acceptance, and identity centered around her main character instead of the space opera it could have been. So even when the plot seems contrived (and sometimes it is), the twists are framed in terms of how they contribute to the titular heroine's mental development, giving the reader another way to connect with the story, even when the actual narrative might not make sense. Binti's growth is compelling, and she is ultimately what held the book together for me.

Calling Okorafor's writing 'amateurish' is very unfair-there are some great scenes in this trilogy-but I do think it's uneven and there are some lows to balance out the highs. In general, the series never achieved the consistency I hoped it would. I think I understand what Okorafor was trying to do, but while I was ultimately satisfied with the ending to Binti's story and for the most part enjoyed the rest, I can't help but think that she could have gone a bit farther.
Profile Image for Mara.
1,508 reviews3,669 followers
February 5, 2019
3.5 Stars - I have heard an immense amount of hype about BINTI and the subsequent novellas from Nnedi Okorafor, so I was excited to be able to give this bindup of the stories a try. These get full marks from me on investment in characters, world building, and set up/premise. Alas, I do feel that there's something lacking in the execution of the vision here. The first of the novellas is definitely the strongest, but even it has some pacing issues & deus ex machina elements. That being said, I just LIKED being in this world enough that it made up for some of the sins. All in all, not as amazing as I had been sold on, but I'm still glad to have read the series, and let's be real... after AKATA WITCH, I'm sold on Okorafor as a great storyteller who I want to spend a lot more time with.
Profile Image for Lashaan Balasingam.
1,344 reviews4,619 followers
August 31, 2022
You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Nnedi Okorafor is a science-fiction, fantasy, and magical realism author who is best known for her Binti trilogy, Akata Witch series and Who Fears Death series. Winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, some of her work has recently been optioned for live-action adaptations and she has quickly become an iconic author who is sure to bring her fanbase fantastical stories. With a PhD in English, this professor-turned-writer unveils her talents to the world by fusing the past and future together and building beautiful and intriguing worlds with her manipulation of words. Drawing upon her Nigerian heritage and her trips to Africa, Nnedi Okorafor tackles some important themes in Binti through her intelligent and brave protagonist. Spanning over three novellas, she delivers a character-centric story that doesn’t shy away from important challenges in life, whether they are palpable or not.

What is Binti: The Complete Trilogy about? This brand-new collection contains Binti, Binti: Home and Binti: The Night Masquerade. It also withholds a brand-new short story called Binti: Sacred Fire for fans of the franchise to savour. These novellas and short story follow the adventures of Binti, a master harmonizer who has a knack for mathematics. As a young teenager, she flees her Himba tribe to give herself the opportunity to follow her dreams by accepting a scholarship in the prestigious Oomza University, a university deemed the best in the galaxy. However, by running away from her family, friends, and people, she forever taints her life as an outsider who will never be accepted back among them. Her determination hence transports her on a ride she’ll never forget that will solicit her best diplomatic skills in order to promote acceptance and open-mindedness among stubborn individuals around the world. Meanwhile, her endeavor leads her on a quest of self-discovery and brings her to try and figure out who she is and who she wants to be.

Throughout these stories, Nnedi Okorafor splendidly develops her protagonist and focuses immensely on her identity crisis and inability to find a home as her sentiments grow in various directions while her heritage scolds her for not fitting into the mold she was forced into. The way the story unfolds, while taking into consideration Binti’s lack of knowledge on her culture and the history of the world, is brilliant as the author feeds her with insight through concrete experience whilst giving the reader the time to indulge the world in which she throws us in. There’s no denying that her ability to blend real-life issues within a science-fiction setting is marvelous and subtly help make the dilemmas that Binti faces much more relatable for the reader. Her development remains the anchor to which the reader can grip onto while she smoothly lays out and expands her universe throughout all three stories. Even the included short story helps tackle more internal conflicts that Binti faces following a tragedy that she witnesses, giving us more reason to applaud the courageous feat that she accomplishes despite all the adversity she faces.

While there’s plenty to admire in what Nnedi Okorafor builds from the ground up in this series, I found myself stuck in front of multiple obstacles that didn’t necessarily allow me to fully adore Binti’s adventure. The first of many issues I encountered pertains to a particular massacre that happens in the first book and that leads to a very unlikely and odd ending where justice is far from served. This took away a lot of the series’ ability to immerse me. To top it off, I couldn’t completely connect with Binti as the issues that she encounters and laments about were too grounded in emotions—something I often struggle with when it comes to the young adult genre. In this case, she finds herself guided by feelings and they are drowned in impulsive actions. What ultimately leads this trilogy to slightly fall short is the balance, or rather the imbalance, in character development and world-building while tackling the themes that Nnedi Okorafor wants to present.

Binti: The Complete Trilogy is a wonderful collection that carries you away on a space adventure with Binti, her quest for self-discovery, and her search for affinity in a world blinded by self-centered motives and xenophobia.
Profile Image for Bryan Alexander.
Author 4 books271 followers
May 19, 2019
The Binti stories concern a young African woman's adventures between home and university. They take place in a future world with advanced technology, aliens, and interplanetary travel.

The four stories in this book see Binti run away from her family to attend a university on a remote planet. Along the way she encounters horrific tragedy, makes friends, learns skills, and becomes a political negotiator.

There's much to enjoy about these tales. Our heroine is a deeply engaging character. The world she inhabits is fascinating, drawing on many sf tropes (biomechanical tech, aliens) while making them new by grounding action in rural Nigeria. I enjoyed the details of Himba life, the Meduse race, the use of the word astrolabe, and the interaction between multiple cultures. It is also exciting to see a black, non-US woman at an sf story's center.

The prose is also rewarding. Dialogue crackles, surprises, and charms. For example, "Okwu was happiest around human beings when it was menacingly looming." (134)

I have to confess that I started the Binti stories under two misapprehensions. First, I thought it was adult fiction, likee Who Fears Death (my review), not young adult. Second, I approached them as stories about schooling. They are, in fact, very much YA, and the university experience plays only a small, direct role. YA tropes and style are on full display - our heroine is enormously afflicted and becomes enormously powerful, both in a hurry; the adult world is sketchy and dubious; parents are frustrating, threatened, threatening, and to be transcended; sex is scary, powerful, and restricted to kissing.

Some details didn't work for me. The stories have a lot of repeated phrases and actions (treeing, the skin paste, the Meduse attack); this is partly a relic of being a collection or serial, but doesn't have to occur, and lost their power over time. Some characters come and go weirdly (and why was one friend named Haifa? I don't get the Israel reference in this setting). Binti becomes too super-special in multiple ways, corralling the adult world - maybe I was in less of a YA mood than I thought. The world seems less convincing as the book wears on, as conflicts and horrors seem to exist mostly for their emotional impact on Binti. Math kept occurring as a theme but wasn't actually used, being mostly spoken of. People learn foreign - and alien languages - very, very quickly and commonly, which begged some backgrounding. The final story seemed to drag a bit. And I wanted to see more of the university.

But I can see the book's power in 2019. It speaks strongly to American gender and race politics. Its focus on intercultural tensions are very much of the moment. I can imagine how inspiring it must be to be black and seeing a powerful protagonist that's like you.

Profile Image for Salvatore.
236 reviews20 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 5, 2020
DNF 23%

Binti ★★ 1/2
Il fuoco sacro ★★ 1/2
Ritorno a casa SV
La maschera nella notte SV

Ennesimo DNF
Avevo intenzione di continuare, ma ho fatto l'errore di non iniziare a leggere il secondo subito dopo il primo.. ed ecco che la voglia di continuare la saga muore. Un classico.
Avevo trovato il primo passabile e, in un certo senso, sorprendente, ma niente che dopo un paio di settimane invogli a continuare per forza la saga.
Anche qui, come sempre, mi tengo aperta una porta nel caso mi venga voglia di continuarla (certo, come no)

Ultimamente sono diventato più cinico, secco i libri come se non ci fosse un domani

PS: Il fuoco sacro è un piccolo racconto di intermezzo tra il primo e il secondo
Profile Image for Callibso.
629 reviews15 followers
September 29, 2018
Die drei Erzählungen um Binti sind in diesem Buch zusammengefasst und sie lassen sich gut wie einen durchgehenden Roman lesen, die dritte Erzählung schließt z.B. nahtlos an die zweite an.

Die erste Erzählung, die auch den Hugo Award gewonnen hat, hatte ich schon auf Englisch gelesen (s. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...)

Binti von den Himba wird auserwählt zur besten Universität der Galaxis zu kommen. Die erste Geschichte erzählt ihre heimliche Reise dorthin. Sie ist von zu Hause ausgerissen und muss einen brutalen Überfall der Medusen auf das Schiff erleben und mit ihren Fähigkeiten einen Krieg verhindern.
In der zweiten und dritten Erzählung lernen wir zuerst die Universität kennen. Dann kehrt Binti mit ihrem Freund, einem Vertreter der Medusen, zu ihrer Familie zurück. Dies geht gründlich schief: ihr Volk nimmt ihr übel, dass sie heimlich gegangen war und der Stamm der Koush erträgt ihren Medusenfreund nicht und beginnt einen Krieg.
Binti muss ihre Familie retten und in die Wüste fliehen, wo sie mit ihren eigenen Vorurteilen konfrontiert wird und Neues über ein scheinbar bekanntes Volk erfährt.

Binti ist verwurzelt in ihrer Tradition, aber auch immer Neuem aufgeschlossen. Um sie herum gibt es viele bornierte Wesen, die andere aufgrund des Anderssein verachten. Es sind Geschichten um Traditionen, in denen man nicht erstarren soll, Wurzeln, die keine Fesseln sein sollen und Vorurteile, die uns den Blick verschleiern.

Irgendwann mutet Okorafor ihrer Protagonistin etwas zuviel zu: in jeder Erzählung wird Binti zusätzlich Mitglied eines weiteren Volkes, nimmt DNA und Eigenschaften dieses Volkes an. In der ersten Erzählung sind dies die Medusen, dann die Enyi Zinariya und zum Abschluss noch lebende Raumschiffe, zu denen leider zu wenig erklärt wird.

Ich bin ein Fan von Nnedi Okorafor, sie schafft es immer wieder, einen Sog zu erzeugen, der mich mitreißt und fasziniert. Ihre Science-Fiction ist keine Hard SF, die Welten haben ihre eigene afrikanisch beeinflusste Mythologie. Allerdings empfand ich - als Mathematiker - Bintis Mathematik in diesem Buch sehr befremdlich: das ist alles rein intuitiv, sie "'verästelt" und "harmonisiert" und murmelt dann Gleichungen. Dies hat meine Toleranz schon ziemlich strapaziert. Ähnlich ist es mit dem Astrolabium, das sie benutzt und auch selbst gebaut hat: dies ist mitnichten das gleichnamige alte astronomische Messinstrument, sondern... ja was eigentlich?
Eine Art Smartphone zur Kommunikation auf der man auch sein ganzes Leben speichert.

Dennoch haben mir die Geschichten um Binti Spass gemacht, mein Favorit von Okorafor bleibt aber "Wer fürchtet den Tod".

Noch eine abschließende Bemerkung: die Cross Cult Bücher sind ja nicht gerade billig, dafür erwarte ich eigentlich besseres Papier als dieses Buch hat.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,326 reviews1,016 followers
March 1, 2019
Binti: The Complete Trilogy is a bind up containing all three novellas (Binti, Home and The Night Masquerade) in Nnedi Okorafor's award winning Binti trilogy plus an extra short story called Sacred Fire. I'll review each of the stories separately but I've really enjoyed the whole series so it's definitely one I'm happy to recommend!


Binti is a member of the Himba tribe, a group of people who live in a dessert region of their planet and who have a strong connection to each other and their home. She is the first member of the tribe to be offered a place at the galaxy famous Oomza University, somewhere only the very best of the best are invited to study. It goes against all traditions for Binti to leave her homeland and it's something her family would never allow so she has to sneak off in the middle of the night to catch the spaceship on time. When the ship comes under attack by a jellyfish like alien species Binti is the only one on board who has a chance to communicate with the Meduse and try to broker peace before they arrive at the university.

I thought this story was a great introduction to the series although I really would have loved for it to be longer! I loved Binit's character, she's smart and resourceful but also nervous as she leaves her homeland for the first time and you could feel her bewilderment as she first arrived in a big city which was completely alien to her. The story shows all to well how much prejudice humans can feel towards people who are a little bit different to themselves but I liked the way Binti handled that and was glad to see her start to make friends with the other students on board the ship.

Where it fell down a little for me was after the Meduse came on board and slaughtered nearly everyone on board including Binti's new friends. I was really curious about the Meduse's anatomy & could easily picture them almost floating around the ship but it was a little hard to believe she was able to talk them out of their plans to destroy the university so quickly. I think I just needed a little bit more time to see Binti and Okwu go from enemies to allies, that would have made the turnaround feel a bit more believable and realistic.

I am really curious to see where the story goes from here though and I've got very high hopes for the series as a whole.

Sacred Fire:

This short story is set several weeks after Binti and Okwu arrive at the Oomza University. Binti is struggling to come to terms with everything that happened on the journey and is quite obviously, and very understandably, suffering from PTSD and flashbacks. She had dreamed of attending the university but nothing is quite what she expected. She's treated as an outsider even by the other humans because they consider the Himba people to be lesser than themselves, people don't understand her culture and they also blame her for surviving the massacre on the ship when many of their friends and family members were killed.

It's not all bad though, Binti is enjoying her studies and she's even starting to make a couple of friends so there is hope for her future. This was an enjoyable short and definitely left me looking forward to continuing the series.


Binti and Okwu have been studying at the Oomza University for a year now and it's time for Binti to return home and face her family before continuing her studies. She is considered a hero by some for preventing the meduse from attacking the university but others consider her a traitor for supposedly aligning with them against the humans. Her family haven't forgiven her for leaving them and travelling so far from home either so it's set to be a difficult reunion.

I have to admit I was surprised and a little disappointed when I realised that most of this story wouldn't be set at the university because I was so interested in all the different alien creatures that attend. But then we get to travel back to Binti's homeland and find out all about her family's tribal traditions and I was so swept up in the story that I didn't have time to be upset.

This isn't an easy journey for Binti, her family are resentful that she left and to be honest I kind of hated most of her siblings for the way they treated her when she returned but I loved Binti for standing up for what she wanted and being brave enough to choose her own path in life. It was hard for her to come home and realise how much she has changed while the people she left behind carried on in the same familiar paths, she no longer feels like she fits in with her family which was heartbreaking, especially since she doesn't feel much like she fits in at university either.

She does find out a lot about her father's side of the family though which I absolutely loved, they are a nomad tribe who were much more open to change and much happier to welcome Binti into their circle. She had to face some difficult truths about the fact that while people are prejudiced against her and the Himba tribe, the Himba, herself included, also have their own prejudices against the nomadic dessert tribes even though they are blood relations. I felt like Binti really grew a lot emotionally in this instalment and I'm excited to see where her journey takes her next.

The Night Masquerade:

As much as I've enjoyed this series overall I have to admit that The Night Masquerade wasn't my favourite instalment and I was left feeling a little disappointed about the way things ended.

The previous instalment ended when Binti realised that Okwu and her family were under attack and this one kicks off with her desperate journey across the desert with the help of her guide Mwinyi. Binti is unable to contact anyone she left behind but she knows something awful has happened and that the Khoush have broken the treaty so it's a race against time for her to get home in time to help the people she cares about.

It's hard to go into too much detail but what Binti uncovers is a shocking betrayal that should have left her devastated. I think one of the problems I had with this story was how quickly she seemed to brush everything off and start trying to rebuild the peace between the Khoush and the Meduse. I get that she was trying to prevent her village being destroyed in an all out war between the other two groups but considering everything the Khoush had done at that point I would have expected her to be a little less invested in the peace process. I guess she's a better woman than I am though!

Really my main issue with this novella was how unresolved so many things were, we get some answers but a lot of things are left open ended and this really didn't feel like the end of a series. If there was another book to come I wouldn't have been so disappointed by that but as the end of a trilogy it felt unsatisfying. Especially the way the author played with our emotions only to magically fix things moments later. I think after loving the first two stories so much I had high expectations for a grand finale and it just wasn't as epic as I hoped.
Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,906 reviews1,235 followers
May 17, 2019
Ever since the first Binti novella came out, I’ve been hearing all about it. I jumped at this collection when I saw it at the bookstore, then, because I find it difficult to grab hold of novellas otherwise. I don’t care if Tor.com pushes them on me for free sometimes: I need it in my hands or on my device or else I just … read other things. And I’m glad I read Binti and its startling, heartbreaking, daring vision of a future in which an African girl aspires to learn and grow beyond the village life she knows.

Binti is Himba, an ethnic group in a future Africa in a world parched by climate change. The Himba coexist in uneasy tension with the more dominant Khoush people, who had previously been at war with an alien species known as the Meduse. When Binti leaves home as the first Himba student admitted to the famous off-world Oomza University, she inadvertently winds up in the middle of an interstellar conflict. Her actions propel her into a role of increasing significance and danger, even as her experiences unmake and remake her into someone she never anticipated she could become.

Nnedi Okorafor herself gives a brief TED Talk explaining Afrofuturism, including an excerpt from the beginning of Binti. I encourage you to check it out, as I’m definitely not qualified to dive deeper into the question of what Afrofuturism is. All I can do is share my perspective and interpretation of what I saw in Binti.

The story here captivated me from the very beginning. Okorafor wastes no time throwing Binti her first challenge. Her interactions with the Meduse remind me somewhat of the ooloi from Butler’s Lilith’s Brood. There’s something so incredibly uncomfortable about swapping DNA in such a way (I suppose this is probably speciesist of me). Indeed, one of my favourite things about this series is the way in which Okorafor consistently challenges us to consider what Otherness means in the context of science fiction. The species Binti encounters are often non-humanoid. Even the humans she meets are extremely different, coming as they do from various cultures. The [Desert People] are particularly fascinating with their use of an alien biotech communications net.

None of those would matter, though, were it not for Binti herself. This is very much, as the titles imply, her story. She is crucial not because of some special talent she has (despite her abilities as a harmonizer) but for an openness, a willingness that others might lack. She has the technological aptitude of the Himba yet lacks the conservative streak of her people. As her story progresses, she acquires different and new artifacts of the various cultures she encounters. She is an envoy, yet an envoy of whom or indeed what is the question. While I found the arc of Binti’s story, up to and including the twist at the end, very predictable, that didn’t make it less enjoyable. Okorafor executes it flawlessly, building up Binti into a character who regrets everything and nothing, whose choices have led her to precisely where she needs to be, even if it isn’t where she wants to be.

I also love that Okorafor feels no need to explain how we got to here from where humanity is right now. There are some general allusions to the past, of course, but beyond that, we don’t have a clear sense of how far into the future it is, or indeed, what life is like elsewhere on Earth. We can try to read between the lines—that the Khoush and Meduse could be involved in a war while other parts of Earth aren’t seem to imply a fractured government, or a planet otherwise uninterested in contact with other species. Ultimately, though, none of this is important. None of it matters compared to Binti’s story and the lives that intersect hers.

One of the most interesting, most thought-provoking ideas in this story is that individual actions might resonate throughout history, yet always they only matter to a point. Consider how Oomza University’s administration reacts, first to Binti and the Meduse, then later to the story that Binti and friends tell of what happened in Binti’s homeland. In both cases, the administration doesn’t seem all that shaken by the loss of life, for instance. It recognizes that these are constants in our existence, and that there is only so much any one person can do to alter such events. This is an effective foil to Binti’s idealistic burden that she is responsible for igniting hostilities and also somehow capable of resolving them.

I could go on. I could discuss how Binti explores the conflict between wanting to be something more and wanting to respect and honour your family and people’s traditions. I could praise Okorafor’s descriptions and depictions of technology: living ships, nanites, mathematical fugue states. This isn’t hard or soft SF; it’s a truly delicious, squishiest sandwich or smorgasbord of SF tropes, and it works so very well.

Binti is an example of the glorious storytelling that you can let into your life if you reach out and look for science fiction that isn’t part of the classic white, male canon. Women and people of colour have always been writing badass SF stories. Okorafor is yet another member of both these groups demonstrating the value of diverse storytelling and the ways in which it can truly blow your mind.

Creative Commons BY-NC License
Profile Image for Kathy.
119 reviews24 followers
January 24, 2022
This has been one of my absolute favorite books that I've ever read! It reminds me a lot of Octavia Butler's trilogy Lilith's Brood (also a favorite)! The main character, Binti, breaks down barriers as a woman, as a scientist and mathematician, and as a member of a very old and traditional tribe. She attends university against her family's wishes. She befriends other humans as well as other species. She is committed to her calling, a powerful role model for each of us.
This story is interesting 100% of the time, a requirement I have due to having ADHD and a huge To Be Read list. I look forward to reading more from this author! I Highly recommend these 3 books!
Profile Image for Sarah Kelsey.
328 reviews15 followers
July 9, 2020
I adore this series! It's revolutionary on so many levels. It's science fiction focused on a small town female protagonist from an African desert, and her approach to solving conflict is completely different than the standard Conan-the-Barbarian method. No spoilers, but this is winning on a whole new level! This is a must-read.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,656 reviews617 followers
August 3, 2022
While reading the Binti novellas collected together, I wondered what it would be like to read each separately. They combine so well into a single novel that breaking them up seems counterintuitive. Nonetheless, I doubt that fragmentation would reduce the appeal of the vivid and fascinating Afrofuturist world building or the emotional impact of events. The plot follows Binti, a young woman of the relatively isolated Himba tribe on Earth, as she leaves home for university. Her exceptional maths skills have won her a place at Oomza Uni many light years away. She leaves secretly, as her family don’t want her to go. The journey is disastrous and tragic in ways that change Binti forever.

I thought the treatment of trauma and reconciliation throughout was particularly good. The lasting impact of traumatic events is always taken seriously, while showing that healing can come with time and support. Binti encounters cultures with a history of war and mutual intolerance and finds herself changed by them. She retains her Himba roots, while gaining connections to other cultures on Earth and beyond. All the material details, like importance of the clay mixture Binti applies to her face and hair, make the setting rich and visceral. Binti’s drive to learn, understand, and promote harmony makes an excellent engine for the plot. She struggles to overcome obstacles with the help of friends and other allies. Oomza Uni is a particularly excellent location and I’d love to read more sci-fi set in interstellar universities! Binti is a great protagonist and I found the story of her first year at university compelling. It was ultimately hopeful, despite the violence and war. Although the Binti novellas are not light reads, they are undoubtedly distinctive and memorable.
Profile Image for reherrma.
1,647 reviews26 followers
January 23, 2019
Seit dem Roman "Wer fürchtet den Tod" bin ich ein Fan der SF von Nnedi Okorafor, auch die Romane Das "Buch des Phönix" und "Lagune" haben mir gefallen. Diese Geschichte aber, hat mir von ihrem Werk, das ich bisher kenne, am wenigsten gefallen. Ihre Geschichten entstammen einer, für europäische Leser, ungewöhnlichen Science-Fiction-Tradition, die ein schillerndes, oft beinahe magisches Universum der Zukunft beschreiben, mit außergewöhnlichen Aliens, vielen Momenten, die zum Staunen einladen, und einer Heldin, die zwischen Welten, die nicht verschiedener sein könnten, auf der Suche nach sich selbst und ihrem Zuhause ist.
"Binti" ist eigentlich eine Novellensammlung, die, auch vom amerikanischen Verlag und von CrossCult zuerst als eBooks veröffentlicht wurde, dies ist der Sammelband der drei zusammenhängenden Binti-Novellen.
Binti, Himba von der Erde, ist eine außergewöhnliche Protagonistin, die sich einerseits zutiefst in der Kultur der Himba verwurzelt fühlt, aber auch nicht widerstehen kann, als sie die Zulassung für die Oomza-Universität bekommt. Sie riskiert es, zur Außenseiterin zu werden, die mit allen Traditionen ihres Volkes bricht, um auf einem lebendigen Raumschiff (Raumschiffe sind in der Science-Fiction-Welt, die Nnedi Okorafor für die Binti-Novellen erschafft, genetisch manipulierte, intelligente Meerestiere, die reiselustig sind und in mit Pflanzen gefüllten Kammern in ihrem Inneren Menschen und andere Aliens von Planet zu Planet befördern) zu der Universität zu reisen.
Auf dem Weg zur Universität wird ihr Raumschiff von Medusen überfallen und sie wird zur Zeugin eines Massakers und erweist sich als die einzige Person, die Schlimmeres verhindern kann. In den nächsten Monaten wird sie zur Friedensstifterin, und die Eigenschaften und Ideen anderer Spezies und Kulturen werden wortwörtlich ein Teil von ihr...

Damit beginnt die erste von drei Novellen, in denen wir Bintis Reisen und Erlebnisse sowie ihre Suche nach Identität begleiten...
Während die erste Novelle noch spannend ist, wobei vieles noch offen bleibt, so sind die beiden nächsten Teile merkwürdig unispiriert, sie haben keinen echten Spannungsbogen und plätschern m.E. so vor sich hin. Auch nervt mich nach einiger Zeit die esoterischen Momente bei der Beschreibung der Himba-Kultur, die, nach Lektüre des Buches, sowieso das Beste ist, was die Erde jemals hervorgebracht hat...
Irgendwie hat mich Nnedi mit diesem Buch nicht gepackt...
197 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2018
This is an author that I discovered from the Lavar Burton Reads podcast. I really enjoyed the cultural aspects of this series as well as the main character. The world building in this novel is really creative. The first two novellas are zippy reads but could use a little more character and plot development. The third novella was a little less gripping and more winding for me, but it had a satisfying ending.
September 30, 2021
The net sum of my feelings is pretty neutral. I liked the exploration of what is "self" and how one defines their identity in multiple facets. I liked a lot of the side characters more than the main character. I felt that some aspects were over-explained or just redundantly explained, whereas some ideas in the novellas that were more interesting weren't explored as thoroughly.
Profile Image for Auntie Terror.
412 reviews102 followers
April 23, 2020
4.3 stars - great story, far from typical scifi, made me almost cry. But not sure if it went on just a wee bit too long. [Prtf]
Profile Image for Jeanne.
933 reviews63 followers
August 15, 2021
How different my life would have been if my parents had just let me dance. (p. 174)

Sixteen was not an age that I would ever want to return to, yet this is where Binti finds herself at the beginning of the trilogy. Like many teens, she is too interested in pleasing everyone and fails to please most.

The Binti trilogy follows a fairly typical YA storyline, although takes place in a different context: a teen breaks away from her traditional African parents who are well-meaning but don't understand her or her desire to go to university (many planets away). She follows her dreams to become someone much more than her family and village had imagined. Unlike many YA books, she both breaks away and stays connected to her heritage throughout. While YA protagonists are often supported by other YAs, she is supported by and allowed to flower in a diverse community. Themes of xeonophobia and multicultural acceptance are central to this story.

Binti becomes more than human in the book and, from my perspective, this supernatural aspect is where the Binti trilogy falters. I'm sure that this flatters and encourages her YA audience, but what if you are a garden variety or even a bright misfit? What message is Nnedi Okorafor giving her young readers? On the other hand, as the opening quote in this review suggests, some of our parents' misguided restrictions can be a gift in disguise.

I can't imagine reading this trilogy of novellas and a new short story separately, as I had considered doing. They read here as a single book, even though they were first published independently between 2015 and 2019. The short story falls second in the sequence of four and, from my perspective, is the strongest.

A TED talk with Nnedi Okorafor.
Profile Image for Metaphorosis.
700 reviews54 followers
May 11, 2019
3.5 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews

Binti, from a desert-dwelling Namibian clan, has been accepted to Oomza Uni – a prestigious inter-alien university, but far from home. On the way, disaster falls – she’s right in the middle of a long-standing feud between the human Koush and the alien Meduse.

I’m both an idealist and a cynic. I’m an idealist in that I think things can get better, and that both individual and concerted effort can make that happen. I’m a cynic in that I don’t believe most people will make that effort, and that group decisions are not often focused on net benefit.

But you came here for a book review, not a philosophy discussion. Well, here’s where the cynicism comes in. In my experience, ‘popular’ doesn’t have much overlap with good. So, when I hear the SFF community enthusing about the next great writer, I don’t rush out to buy their book. More often than not, it’s not that great.

I’ve been hearing Nnedi Okorafor’s name for quite some time. Because I’m cynical about popular wisdom, I didn’t pay much attention. Still, sometimes I’m wrong, so when NetGalley offered this book, I took up my chance to read it. I’m glad I did.

This isn’t the best book I’ve ever read. In fact, it has many flaws. The punctuation is often odd, the structure is clunky (even allowing for it being an agglomeration of several stories), the world is a bit vague, and the characters aren’t perfect. What it is, though, is innovative. Binti is a great example of SFF diversity at its best. Its ill-defined world is centered on astrolabes that somehow
function as both smartphones and contain a person’s future, where an understanding of math allows one to generate and control electric currents. It’s odd and fuzzy, but interesting. And, of course, Binti’s own culture is of a type we rarely see in SFF, which is refreshing.

And here’s the other side of the philosophy – Binti herself is a relentless idealist. Every now and then, Okorafor seems to forget and allow Binti to throw a tantrum, but they’re so out of character that I tended to write them off as editing failures. The other characters have similar out-of-character moments, but by and large they’re clearly defined. The world itself is similarly off-kilter – Binti’s people are all about nature and harmony, but also eating other creatures alive and wearing silk; their morals (and Binti’s own) are all over the place. There are limited consequences for even terrible acts against groups, but actions with mild effects on individuals are treated as serious. Prejudice against Binti’s group is bad, but her own group’s prejudices – well, that’s the way people are (though I give Okorafor some credit for at least acknowledging them). Binti forms a bond with another person late in the book, but it’s somehow never in question that her own desires will win out. The science is thin, there are altogether too many handy coincidences, and some bits slip over into magic. Some things – like ‘deep’ everything – are barely explained. In short, some of the worldbuilding is sloppy and simplistic – but it is novel, and that carries a lot of weight.

I’m not sure why these pieces were published separately, since they’re clearly part of a single narrative that forms only a moderate-length novel. In fact, had they been published as a single
novel, they might have worked better. Despite the book’s flaws, I was expecting to give it 4 stars for innovation and character; until nearly the end – the end of the last story pretty much falls apart, with one long sequence that is largely pointless. While Okorafor takes a casual stab at wrapping up, the close fairly shouts out “I expect to write more about Binti! This is just a convenient stopping point.” It doesn’t really work for the story or the collection, and left me disappointed. The first three stories in the collection (and there are four, so ‘trilogy’ is a misnomer) are innovative. The fourth is more of a holding zone. All in all, though, Binti offers the kind of fresh outlook we could use more of.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 930 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.