Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brut ...more
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I don't think I've ever read a book this short, that succeeded at everything it could have accomplished even if given 400 more pages. The broadness of this idea and setting, paired with the intimacy of this family narrative could not have been a more perfect balance. We've got some big themes like racial injustice and incarceration in a dystopian setting, but also a beautiful sibling dynamic at the heart of the story that is simply moving.
I'm so glad ...more
Riot Baby begins in Compton, USA depicting topics that could have been straight out of an N.W.A song. Racism, police brutality, gang banging etc... This chapter is presented by a young lady Ella who is one of the two point of view perspectives. At the culmination of the chapter Ella's mother goes into labour in the midst of a brutal riot and gives birth to her little ...more
Finally a book review is up! :D
This book was definitely better the second time around! I think that if you aren't familiar with (black) history/culture in America you're going to have to work a little more in order to understand everything. Having done it, I would ay it was well worth the efoort and definitely would recommend reading it. My review will come out at the start of February.
A sincere thank you to tor.com for sending ...more
nothing i can say about this book is going to resonate as much as the author's own words, so:
This book, like its title character, saw a fiery birth. Formerly a swirl of disembodied phrases and feelings and half-characters, the story of Ella and Kev began to coalesce while, in Paris, I learned of the non-indictments of the pol...more
It is the story of siblings Ella and Kev and how structural racism defines their lives, beginning in childhood. Kev is the Riot Baby, born during the LA riots of 1992, Ella the sister with mysterious powers. Their childhood is fraught with danger, and violence is an everyday affair. Somehow they survive into adulthood, when Kev is unjustly arrested and incarcerated, as so many young black m ...more
This is an odd little story. I’m not sure I understood it all. But I hope I got enough of it that I know what Toni Onyebuchi is trying to say. It jumps around a lot. So be prepared to really pay attention.
My favourite part is when Onyebuchi describes using algorithms that are coded to persecute POC as the same as cops making conscious decisions. This is very powerful to me. Thus stating, systematic racism is no different than allowing ...more
Riot Baby is a story of Kev and Ella, two siblings from South Central Los Angeles, trapped into reliving their story over and over like an endless repetitive Groundhog Day, unable to ever break out of the roles society chose for them. Their interlinked stories are similar but different.
Kev was born as the 1992 LA riots raged and the inner city burned. For four or five days, all semblance of order left town as truckers were pulled out of their rigs and beaten nearly to death with bricks ...more
There are 2 main characters on this book Ella and Kev, they are sibblings .. Ella has this "THING" a power to see feature, to fly and all the magical things, while Kev her brother went to prison and Ella tried to ...more
Riot Baby is the tale of siblings Ella and Kev who are gifted with tremendous powers. The book jumps back and forth across America, beginning on the West Coast where Kev is born amidst the 1992 Los Angeles riots, granting him the nickname “Riot Baby.” Although his sister is young, these riots and the atmosphere of the surrounding community are powerfully impactful for her.
The narrative next resumes with Ella and Kev after their mothe ...more
"But I can't get enough of what's going on outside. My body warms with it, like a space heater in my bones. One of the cops reaches down and uncuffs the guys on the ground, and Havoc gets back up as the cops back away, shouting, "You see the address! Come back later, pussy!" And it's not this, but the growing crowd, some of them with cameras, that makes the cops shuffle away. And it feels like victory."
Riot Baby is the adult debut science fiction novel by Tochi Onyebuchi. It follows si ...more
Perfect book for the times we live in. The story is brimming with the anger of centuries of black people in America who have committed no other crime other than being black. It's harsh and powerful. I loved it. I wish it had been another 200 pages because I was thoroughly captured by the Tochi Onyebuchi's writing and didn't want it to end. I can't wait to read more by this author.
Onyebuchi's powerful characters trace the cumulative effects of serial injustice and systemic racism. He delivers a visceral and compelling indictment of the intentionally evil as well as the willfully obtuse. And he injects all with the painful burning reminder that there is no redemption without blood, and no purification without fi ...more
This is a particularly timely and ...more
This is fabulous and terrifying. Started with a library book and realized very quickly as I reread the opening chapter aloud to my friend that I was going to want to share this, so I bought a copy. Gorgeously written but not at all pretentious. Reminded me at times of Victor LaVal ...more
Riot Baby achieves a lot for it 170-something pages, and would deserve all the praise it’s getting for that alone. There’s a lot explored within this book that gives so much food for thought, and the way this dystopian world parallels our real one is terrifying.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get on with the writing style much. While – judging by the reviews of others – this is most likely a me-problem, I had trouble following along at times. It was difficult for me to keep the time jumps ...more
The way this was written to be parallel to our trying modern times and also giving glimpses of the past showing a dystopian outlook that does not at all seem out of the realm of possibility while still being engaging and heartfelt. Wow. Just wow. And to write such a powerful sibling dynamic weaved throughout.
I could have easily read another 200 pages. Fantastic!
Once paroled, Kev is living in a small community that seems almost too perfect with a chip implanted in his hand to keep his emotions under control and the outside world at a distance.
While vague about the limits of Ella’s and Kev’s powers, readers ar ...more
The story follows Ella and Kev Jackson. It opens with Ella and her Mama witnessing the start of the LA Riots, and Mama going into labor with Kev. It then follows the family to Harlem, where Kev gets swept up by the p ...more
Holy wow. This is 162 pages of gut punches.
Combining realism with dystopian with science-fiction, Riot Baby follows two gifted siblings through the history of the black American experience.
Somehow, in very few pages, Onyebuchi covers the vastness of structural racism in a way that you are present for. Taking on topics from the KKK to police brutality across generations. It’s a harsh and gut-wrenching look at the crime of being black in America.
Somehow, he also let’s us see i ...more
I am the locusts and the frogs and the rivers of blood. I’m here now.
My reaction on finishing Riot Baby can be summed up with two simple words: Holy shit. This is a novella that I will have to reread at some point. Riot Baby is a humbling, visceral collage of two lives and the system that exists to crush them at every turn. It is a battle cry, a scream, and a sob for the black community. When people talk abo...more
His short fiction has appeared in Asimov's Scie ...more
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I am the locusts, Ella sends the thought out like a concussive wave, so that it hits every surveillance orb in the neighborhood, every wired cop, every crabtank in the nearby precinct. I am the locusts and the frogs and the rivers of blood.
I'm here now.”