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The Wormwood Trilogy #3

The Rosewater Redemption

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The Rosewater Redemption is the powerful conclusion to the award-winning Wormdwood trilogy, by one of science fiction's most engaging voices.

Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting.

The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city's alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends...

Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity's last line of defense.

Innovative and genre-bending, Tade Thompson's ambitious Afrofuturist series is perfect for fans of Jeff Vandermeer, N. K. Jemisin, and Ann Leckie.
Praise for The Wormwood Trilogy:

"Smart. Gripping. Fabulous!" —Ann Leckie, award winning-author of Ancillary Justice 

"Mesmerising. There are echoes of Neuromancer and Arrival in here, but this astonishing debut is beholden to no one." —M. R. Carey, bestselling author of The Girl with All the Gifts 

"A magnificent tour de force, skillfully written and full of original and disturbing ideas." —Adrian Tchaikovsky, Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of Children of Time 

The Wormwood Trilogy
Rosewater
The Rosewater Insurrection
The Rosewater Redemption

416 pages, Paperback

First published October 15, 2019

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About the author

Tade Thompson

55 books1,097 followers
Tade Thompson is a British born Yoruba psychiatrist who is best known for his science fiction novels.

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Profile Image for Nataliya.
711 reviews11.3k followers
December 20, 2020
“It was always going to come down to humans versus aliens,” says Femi. “That’s all it ever was.”
And so comes the finale of Tade Thompson’s Rosewater SF series — the bonkers story of alien biodomes, god-like healings, shared thoughtspace created by alien microorganisms, human conflicts and wars and insurrections, corrupt governments, supra-governmental Illuminati-like cabals, shady operatives and former sex dolls turned bodyguards. All set in a breakaway city-state in the near-future Nigeria, beset by the very human and very current issues - corruption, greed, violence, intolerance, prejudice - while the larger threat stems from the looming danger of a godlike alien creature and a city-size alien organism. All while the lines between good guys and bad guys are virtually nonexistent because everyone is very human and therefore both good and bad, pathetic and admirable at the same time, and nobody really gets a free pass.

I absolutely loved the first two books in this series. They were fresh, and fun, and atmospheric, and clearly just a bit bonkers. And so I was both hopeful and cautious of the last installment in the trilogy — because after all that buildup it had an enormous task of pulling everything together. A bad ending, after all, sours the entire series (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones fans, you know what I’m talking about).
“Before the war, the centre of Rosewater used to be home to a two-hundred-foot-tall biodome, which grew over the giant alien Wormwood. The city grew around the alien, and the old god favoured a dome to keep his domain separate. The new god had no such ideas and made the entire city her domain.”

So how does The Rosewater Redemption fare as the series conclusion? Well, I’m a bit torn, I must admit, and have been torn ever since I finished it.

On one hand, it indeed provides a logical closure, and makes a few quite gutsy choices, and does that with the cold brutality we have periodically seen from Thompson in the prior two books. Our characters mostly stayed morally grey, and hard decisions were made, and abhorrent things were done — and it again made sense. Interesting questions were raised on the nature of selfhood and personhood and the compromises that we need to make to achieve some semblance of desired goals (for instance, immediate benefit of disease-free life in exchange for eventual overtake of humanity by the aliens — what’s more important to you now, and what burdens are you willing to dump on the shoulders of future generations to ensure your present comfort).
“Sir, I think we need a clause in the agreement with the Homians.”
“What kind of clause?”
“Finite lives. If all they do is come back in a new body after death, synners won’t need to learn any lessons. Death has to mean death, otherwise Rosewater, Nigeria, heck, the world will just be a video game for them where they will just re-spawn and humans will be non-player characters.”

On the other hand, I found frequent confusion moments during our buddy read, the things that did not make much sense when you took them apart to understand exactly how this whole series works. The big picture made sense — but the devil is in details, and not everything checked out, and some things remained a bit too scattered, and some plotlines needed to be a bit trimmed for cohesiveness. The barrage of politics, courtroom drama, gang violence, intense action scenes, flashbacks, time travel, human rights fighting was a bit of fast-paced whiplash, and I often found myself wanting for the narration to slow down a bit, focus a bit on the characters, give them more room to breathe and develop and even to grieve.
“We did not win a war. Instead of freedom from Nigeria, we got taken over by the Homians on one hand and criminal organisations on the other.”

In the previous two books the city of Rosewater felt like a character in itself - the sprawling messy city where nobody really gets sick or dies, where gangs are very close to the government and where in the last book the bloody insurrection took place, separating it from Nigeria. And I still loved it in this book too, but it was hard to shake off the feeling that despite being everywhere in this book the city still felt a bit vague and nebulous and hard to imagine, except the general strange and unsettling gestalt.
“I hate to bring the British into this, but it’s unavoidable. To understand the future, we need to understand the past, not just as context, but as the seeds of catastrophe.”

I was wondering whether, based on the tenuous peace achieved in the last book, this will become the story of learning to coexist and perhaps create a new society with tensions brought by the ultimate goal of aliens — the eventual overtaking, but in the meantime agreement to live side by side. Which would have been, well, interesting, given that it is set in the country that up until relatively recently was the one of the colonized population. Where many alien conflict stories ask us to imagine what it would be to experience being colonized, in Nigeria that’s already been experienced, and the response may be more visceral. Because they know what happens when you try to coexist with your colonizers, and those lessons may just save the rest of our hides.
“Humans will worship anything, even if it is actively killing them. From what Koriko gathers, they have mass-murdered themselves because of religion multiple times.”

And then comes the ending, which I don’t know whether I love or hate. Probably actually love, because it stays true to series where everything is complicated and morally grey and just not easy. It’s the ending where resolution is not clean or easy, and is in many respects a backwards slide rather than progress or improvement, and reminds that victory does not mean a good thing for all. This ending, although not what I was hoping for, fits the story and the brutal violent and unpleasant world it depicts, and I respect the hell out of that approach.
“I don’t trust him,” says Eric.
“No, you don’t like him. It’s not the same thing.”

Yes, this one is a bit weaker than its predecessors, but it keeps the spirit of the trilogy and concludes it in the messy and morally unsatisfying way that fits the ugly cynical world that ours is.

3.5 stars for this one — but a 4-star rating for the trilogy as a whole.

—————
My review of the first book, Rosewater, is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
My review of the second book, Rosewater Insurrection, is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
——————

Buddy read with Carol and Jessica. Thank you for a fun experience, friends!
Profile Image for carol..
1,502 reviews7,551 followers
October 12, 2022
f it was just me, I might have questioned my, uh, processing ability. But I was lucky enough to be reading The Rosewater Insurrection and Redemption with two brilliant women who seemed as confounded as I in their reaction to Redemption, so I feel at least partially absolved. It’s the capstone to the Rosewater trilogy, which gives an additional layer of complexity to my reaction. I think it’s fair to expect some sort of emotional resolution, as well as a number of plot points to be resolved. Some trilogies are clearly interlinked, but each volume does stand on its own (The Last Policeman does a fair job at this; Annihilation less so). This is not true of Redemption, which feels even more chaotic than Insurrection as it carries the various conflicts to nominal resolution.

One new viewpoint is from Oyin Da, aka ‘Bicycle Girl,’ who Kaaro met early in his 20s. Oyin Da is a very confusing character and in some ways, an unreliable narrator, or at least one who is learning a lot more about herself and her world. She travels the xenosphere with ease, and believes she travels back and forth in time.

Needless to say, it gets a little weird.

The prologue is best summed up by Jessica’s astute remark that “it felt like 3am channel surfing.” It was a deconstructed multiple-perspective multiple plot piece largely from Oyin Da that just didn’t work for me. It certainly didn’t work well for reminding the reader of prior players, although it might have brought to mind past events. Was it’s purpose foreshadowing? Mostly, only my confusion. What really happened is that it irritated me enough that the rest of the story had a deficit to overcome. While I understand wanting to play with a narrative, a trilogy is about the arc, and so if you want the readers to stay with your entire tale, you don’t need to challenge them more. Believe me; there’s enough chaos that follows that we didn’t need this obstacle.

Narrative continues to be messy, with multiple viewpoints, but primarily those of Oyin Da, Jack Jacques and his wife Hannah, with touch points of Kaaro, Aminat, the criminal Dahun, Lora the A.I. aide to Jack, Femi, and probably a few others.

Unfortunately, plotting hardly fares better with the war motif in full play on many levels. While Rosewater believes it’s fighting a war of succession with Nigeria, there’s also a war between humans and aliens, with a secret group of humans working to remove aliens from the world while some aliens are working to speed up the process. There might also be a war between the alien Wormwood and the new virus-alien-model, Alyssa, now called ‘Koriko,’ but no one is sure. Meanwhile Jack Jacque’s band of delinquents are the nominal police force, so Aminat is trying to keep order with them at the same time someone seems to be targeting the old head of the criminal organization. In a further twist, Hannah is starting a legal war with the government of Rosewater–essentially, Jack–over reanimate rights.

Although many reviews enjoyed this book and the series, I find myself struggling with my reaction. While it nominally resolves many of the plot points (thus satisfying my book-plot OCD), it does so in very messy and inconsistent ways. Alyssa gives up and decides she doesn’t care about humanity. Aminat has continued to work for Jacque, despite Femi being imprisoned and having to work with a band of thugs. Femi’s methods become even more inscrutable, and don’t get me started on Oyin Da’s ‘time-travel.’ Her ending felt a cheat as well. While I enjoyed the weird gestalt of the first two books, this felt like Thompson reached a little too far and lost control.

But could you read the first two without this? I suppose so, but why would you? And the first? You certainly could read the first and quit. I don’t know; I think this might be best compared to Annihilation, where the first book was outstanding, the second went another place entirely, and the third tried to tie the first two together and provide an overview. While I’m not sorry I read it, it’s definitely made me hesitant to recommend the series to others.

Many, many thanks to the fabulous Jessica and Nataliya for getting me through this book and for the informative discussion!
Profile Image for Anthony.
Author 4 books1,816 followers
November 22, 2019
This, the final book in The Wormwood Trilogy, was as enjoyably imaginative, trippy, and compelling as the first two books. Tade Thompson’s work is a delightfully original mashup of tropes including alien invasions, comic book-style superpowers, afrofuturism, and badass female cops.

He’s definitely a writer to watch, with a great ear for dialogue, a welcome skill at crafting surprising plots, and an invigorating blend of dark humor and authentic heart.
Profile Image for Gerhard.
1,026 reviews505 followers
July 27, 2020
‘Wow. We're at the end. Righteous.’

You can’t help but fall in love with a book that has a running gag about the President of Nigeria sending the Mayor of Rosewater constant dick pics. This results in said Mayor deciding to up the ante and not only legalise gay marriage, but to stage the country’s first gay pride march. Of course, as luck would have it, said march takes place when events in Rosewater go totally tits-up as various factions clash to prevent said town being turned into a portal for a full-on alien invasion.

It might seem played for laughs, but there are zero gay rights in Nigeria. The Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act is a blanket criminalisation of all forms of same-sex unions. What Thompson does then under the guise of genre fiction is raise a very real social and political issue in his country.

Realising that he is near the finish line of his trilogy, I got the feeling that Thompson really let rip with every stone left unturned so far with regard to Rosewater. He even goes ‘big budget’ by including set pieces in London en route to America.

All the characters get wonderful send-offs, with some truly unexpected twists towards the end. This weird mash-up of cyberpunk and alien and colonial invasion story might be the flimsiest of the three books thus far, but it does an exemplary job of giving the reader closure. And leaving him or her wishing for more. One of the best, and strangest, First Contact yarns in recent years.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,845 followers
October 26, 2019
All three of these Wormwood books are perfect for Weird fans. Not that you have to be weird as a fan to enjoy them, merely that you must enjoy Weird fiction, be tolerant of cthulhu-like alien entities who provide rather miraculous services in return for a foothold in humanity. Wait. Isn't this just an alien invasion story?

Sure, like Fight Club is just a story about self-help groups.

We get a solid return for main characters in the previous two, get thrown into time-travel, end-of-the-world, last-stand alien repulsion, and, surprisingly, a rather large part of the novel deals with gay rights.

The subtext is solid, but it never gets in the way of the over-arching tale. Which is big. It spans across a lot of countries and across a theoretically huge amount of time, and although there IS time travel in this, it doesn't take up a lot of page-time.

I loved the big story. I enjoyed seeing old characters come back. I wasn't as impressed with the amount of character-building in this one as compared to the first or especially the second books, but it felt like a pretty good send-up to me.

The most impressive part of these books is the all-out genre-bending courage it takes to make them. I'm a big fan of Tade when it comes to this. His two novellas gave me a huge wonderful taste and three out of five novels pretty much solidified it. Imagination is key. They're full of it. :)
Profile Image for Gabi.
686 reviews116 followers
October 19, 2019
A worthy, fast paced ending to this outstanding SF series. Colour me a Tade Thompson fan girl.

The final solution fell a bit flat for me, therefore 'only' 4 stars. Yet the buildup had all the wonderful blunt prose spiked with humor and self-deprecation that I adore. We learn more about Oyin Da as all the embosomed characters once more enter the stage trying to save (with varying success) humankind - while Layi only wants to join the first Rosewater Pride march, just in case he turns out gay.

I highly recommend the trilogy to anybody who likes alien aliens, inventive worldbuilding, genuine, layered characters and mindboggling SF ideas. For me one of the big highlights of the last years and a sure candidate for several enjoyable re-reads.

Thank you, Mr. Thompson!
Profile Image for Hank.
765 reviews68 followers
October 16, 2020
My GR friend YouKneeK won't read series unless they are done because she likes reading them straight through to the end. Usually I like to break them up a bit so each individual book feels more fresh but this series needed a straight through read, which I did not do. As a consequence, I was thoroughly lost for the first part of this last installment, until I forced my brain to give up the lost knowledge.

This series was excellent! It had aliens, time travel, robots, body snatching, alien invasion, future tech, cyberspace, mind control and Nigerian politics. It was everything I could have wanted in a sci-fi novel except a space ship or two. I enjoyed every character arc and liked the ending.

Looking forward to what Thompson comes up with next. 4.5 stars, with .5 star because it was a bit chaotic in parts and possibly too much in the story.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books7,644 followers
Read
October 21, 2019
Spectacular ending to the epic trilogy about a slow-burn alien invasion centred in a breakaway ex-Nigerian city-republic. The whole thing is brilliant, imagined on a gigantic scale, with a huge cast (extremely well managed, I had no trouble picking up the story threads from where we left off last time) and marvellous description. Gloriously imaginative, well written, manages a lot of sometimes pretty bleak plot themes and elements while hanging on to the humanity of all involved, so it's emotionally engaging throughout.

Really terrific. I can't wait to see what this author does next.
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,111 reviews1,105 followers
September 25, 2020
I did not find the new POVs to be terribly interesting, as well as the new supporting characters. The xenosphere stuff was disorienting, it slowed down my reading. Also, the ending was a bit too Independence Day. Nevertheless, I am glad I read this trilogy, it is rather refreshing and entertaining at the same time.
Profile Image for Dawn F.
493 reviews64 followers
October 22, 2019
Thompson has really created a unique, genre blending trilogy, so full of twists and turns that it’s impossible to guess where it’s going. The language is fresh, the city vibrantly alive with real people fighting for their existence between the alien entity of Wormwood and politicians with an agenda of their own. I’ll admit I lost track of what was going on quite a few times, but I kept being mesmerized by this fast paced, almost thriller-like scifi slash adult urban fantasy slash horror slash Nigerian history lesson. I’m very much a fan of Tade Thompson’s writing style and will continue to follow his work.
Profile Image for Alex Bright.
Author 2 books39 followers
December 12, 2019
A satisfying and thought-provoking ending to a brilliant science fiction trilogy.

Maybe I'll have a more specific review in the future, but that will do for now.
Profile Image for FanFiAddict.
548 reviews128 followers
October 30, 2019
Rating: ★★★★☆+

Synopsis

The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices.

Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn’t everything its citizens were expecting.

The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn’t willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city’s alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends…

Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity’s last line of defense.

Tade Thompson’s innovative, genre-bending, Afrofuturist series, the Wormwood Trilogy, is perfect for fans of Jeff Vandermeer, N. K. Jemisin, William Gibson, and Ann Leckie.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Rosewater Redemption (The Wormwood Trilogy #3) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

The Rosewater Redemption is a picturesque finale to the Wormwood Trilogy and cements Thompson as one of the major players in the science fiction genre for many years to come. His mix of highly imaginative world-building, exquisite prose, characterizations, and fresh take on the alien takeover trope leads to one of the best trilogies I have ever read.

How does one accurately describe their experience with a book that has so much going on with it and going for it, knowing that this is the end of the line? We have seen the rise and fall of Rosewater, the takeover by Wormwood and its advancement across the country, the growth of many multi-layered characters and their every-changing environments. Now we get time-travel and the crossing of international boarders and my head is left spinning. To believe that Tade had shown us all of the cards he had to play in Books 1 and 2 is to believe that the Earth is indeed flat.

Thinking back on my read-through of this novel, I can’t help but picture Rosewater and its vibrant culture in my mind. The city, its people, the language, the goings on within and without the city center. The xenosphere taking the story beyond reality and giving us yet another layer of sci-fi gloriousness. At the same time, how that same city has fallen under the control of the extra-terrestrial existence with no-one to turn and only a few who are willing to fight back.

I am in just utter awe some Tade’s writing at this point in time. The Wormwood Trilogy continues to dazzle my thoughts while his Molly Southbourne novellas haunt my dreams. I cannot wait to see what else he has in store and I’ll be the first in line for it.

If you enjoy weird science fiction with Lovecraftian nods, immersive world-building, and an array of layered yet enjoyable characters, The Wormwood Trilogy should fit nicely on your shelf.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,434 reviews179 followers
January 7, 2020
This was a really good finish to what has been a wildly imaginative and inventive series with a big cast of characters. There are all sorts of elements at play in this last story about an alien invasion and all the people involved with living with it or stopping it. I was a little worried I'd have some trouble getting back into this book, but Tade Thompson handles the many perspectives and time periods well, and I found myself comfortably back in the thick of the complicated plot. There's plenty of action, and weird, lots of weird, and black humour. (I found myself frequently grinning at Femi's or Jack Jacques' interactions.) I was impressed by this series, and look forward to whatever Tade writes next.
Profile Image for Tomislav.
946 reviews67 followers
January 3, 2021
Finally, more than two years after I first read Tade Thompson’s Rosewater (2018), and more than one year after The Rosewater Insurrection (2019), I’ve finished his innovative afro-future weird-fiction Wormwood trilogy. My wife asked me if I liked this book, and for the record, the pressure of being granted an advance reader copy by a publisher (which this was not) is nothing in comparison to the pressure of a recent spousal Christmas gift (which this was). My totally unsatisfactory answer was “Not sure, I have to think about it.”

First off, I’m going to recommend that you not do what I did, but rather read the three volumes in close proximity. Too many other books fell between my reads, for me to instantly recall the interconnected story-lines of the ever-expanding cast of characters, and what is weird about each one. Fortunately, through the pages, and with a little looking back into the earlier volumes, it did come clear soon enough. If one were to read the first volume as a stand-alone as I did (that’s all there was in 2018), there are major ambiguities left hanging about the Wormwood alien that surfaces in Nigeria during the middle of the twenty-first century, and its effects on the people who are attracted into its vicinity. Unlike in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, readers of Wormwood who persevere will be rewarded with disambiguation – although the reality that is exposed never really settles down into a comfortable familiarity.

Note that from this point forward, I will assume you have read the prior two volumes. Do not read onwards, if you wish to avoid world-building spoilers.

Thompson rotates between over a dozen perspective characters, as well as jumping forward and backward in time. Some characters live in the real world of future Nigeria and its secessionist city-state of Rosewater. Because the UK has crumbled economically in the aftermath of Wormwood’s first appearance, and America subsequently self-sequestered itself behind some sort of impenetrable barrier, Thompson is able to develop a detailed picture of independent, authoritarian and corrupt governance in Africa. Other characters are robotic. Other characters are re-animated human bodies inhabited by alien minds. Other characters inhabit the virtual world of the xenosphere – an Earth-surrounding network of bacterial complexity introduced by the aliens. The Mayor of Rosewater has made a deal with the aliens to allow them to seize all dead human bodies for use in alien emigration from their destroyed homeworld, in exchange for support for Rosewater’s independence. With all the characters, settings, and plotlines the novel can be difficult to follow. I hope it is not too much of a spoiler to tell you that ultimately ex-S45 spymaster Femi Alaagomeji’s role, motivations, and actions are pivotal to the conclusion. Someday, I hope to re-read this trilogy, watching her in particular for clues.

In the end, I feel that the persistent reader will be well-rewarded by completing this trilogy. So, my answer to my wife is that the novel was work, but I liked it.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,631 reviews600 followers
December 12, 2019
Although this feels like a very obvious thing to say, it merits heavy emphasis: the Rosewater trilogy is enormously fun to read. I've read 118 novels so far this year and both 'The Rosewater Redemption' and The Rosewater Insurrection are among the three I enjoyed most. Tade Thompson is quite simply a brilliant writer. His characters are appealing, his plots wonderfully twisty, his world-building ingenious, his pacing impeccable, and his themes cleverly developed. Each book in the Rosewater trilogy stands as an excellent novel in its own right, but together they add up to a totally absorbing reading experience. Each is distinctive in its approach and choice of protagonists, upending your previous sympathies and shifting your prior assumptions. 'Redemption' still follows Kaaro and Aminat, while giving much more time to the mysterious Bicycle Girl and Femi Alaagomeji. While I previously enjoyed them both as enigmas, it was a delight to learn more about their lives and agendas. Each successive book widens the reader's perspective on events and introduces a new layer of complexity.

In 'The Rosewater Redemption' Thompson completely upended my expectations several times, which I absolutely loved.

A major element of my enjoyment throughout the trilogy has been the glorious weirdness and picaresque detail. There's a guy with a tentacle, an android, artificial brains, zombies that get better, alien zombie suicide bombers, crime twins, a hacker in a weird mech suit, a pyrokinetic, and autonomous vehicles that actually work. Thompson includes the best explanation for time travel that I've come across for many years, as well as some fascinating arguments about consciousness and personhood. The action scenes are thrilling and vivid, while the dialogue is witty and intelligent. No-one knows or cares what's happening in America, which has walled itself off from the rest of the world. At one point it seems America could become important to the plot, then it turns out Nigeria can take care of itself. What more can I say? The Rosewater trilogy is fantastic and if you have any interest in fiction set in Africa, sci-fi, or thrillers you should definitely give it a try.
Profile Image for Shaun Hutchinson.
Author 25 books4,566 followers
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January 5, 2020
A wonderful conclusion to a really unique series. Can't wait to see what Thompson comes up with next.
Profile Image for Holly (The GrimDragon).
975 reviews227 followers
September 8, 2020
In the words of Tade Thompson, "Wow. We're at the end? Righteous."

Indeed we are! The Rosewater Redemption is the third and final installment in the trippy as fuck Wormwood Trilogy.

I'm not going to bother laying everything out that has happened leading up to this radical finale, because it's far too complex and each book must be experienced!

Not to be a broken record, but if you are reading a review for a book later in a series then you already know you are taking a risk of possible spoilers. Especially when it's the last book. BE WARNED!

"Fuck you, Space Invaders!"

Rosewater was Kaaro's novel, Insurrection Aminat's. And Redemption? Redemption is most certainly Oyin Da's, someone who admits they aren't necessarily the most reliable of narrators. Also known as Bicycle Girl, Oyin Da is a time-traveling fugative telling the story just after the events that took place in Rosewater Insurrection.

The year is 2068. Caught in the vortex of this story along with Oyin Da is a long list of intriguing characters. Aminat is now head of security; Kaaro is "retired"; Mayor Jacques has legalized gay marriage; Femi has been released from prison; the powerful superhacker Bad Fish has returned; and Alyssa, the first Homian alien uploaded to a human body, is now known as the entity, Koriko, and appears to be in control of the aliens.

Whereas the first two books took place entirely in Nigeria, this broadens the setting to London and America, which was walled off in 2012 due to the threat of Wormwood, quarantining themselves from the rest of the world.

Humans versus aliens, alien separatists, turf wars, alternate dimensions, tentacled monsters. The Rosewater Redemption skillfully expands upon the xenosphere, space and a future that isn't that far off.

Although hopeful, there is of course an alien invasion looming, which gives the conclusion an unshakeable, tense tone. It is a narrative on colonization, after all.

The Rosewater Redemption is an imaginative ending to the mind-boggling Wormwood Trilogy. It somehow manages to tie up all of the loose strings that were dangling about throughout the prior genre-defying installments in a satisfying way.

I am most certainly a Tade Thompson fan and will be looking forward to seeing what his genius comes up with next!

(Big thanks to Orbit Books for sending me a copy!)
Profile Image for Bibliotecario De Arbelon.
230 reviews94 followers
May 25, 2022
Con la Redención de Rosalera, Tade Thompson cierra de una manera más que aceptable la trilogía de Ajenjo.

Aunque no lo he disfrutado tanto como la segunda parte, en esta entrega Thompson continúa la historia poco después de lo sucedido en la Insurrección de Rosalera, y lo hace con su estilo dinámico característico: la acción es constante y la trama adopta un ritmo muy ágil.

En esta ocasión nos presenta un estilo narrativo distinto al de los otros dos libros y, en mi opinión, le da un giro a las historias de invasiones que me ha gustado mucho.

De esta trilogía destaco el mundo que construye el autor alrededor de la cúpula de Rosalera y como es la sociedad que habita a su alrededor. Me ha encantado.

Una historia de ciencia ficción africana, oscura y violenta, que te hará caer rendid@ ante Thompson.
Profile Image for Tia.
146 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2020
I thought that in 2020, I might write a short or not-so-short review for every book read. A challenging resolution, but we'll see.

Anyway, to the point.
Short review: bleh, ok.
Longer review: All the things that I liked from the previous books, the things that first got me hooked, are still there, but there is not real development. Instead it seems like the writing has regressed. The writing has always seemed to me like a script for an action movie, but now it feels like scenes are lifted directly from other media, dumped in the middle of a beautifully constructed world, and the book just reads like Every Single American Action Movie You Have Ever Seen. Like a person is standing around, chaos around them, a helicopter hovering above them. A ladder is lowered, and the character climbs up. You can almost see it, can't you? Yeah, because you have seen it a hundred times before. A CIA agent goes through training: an obstacle course! I'd like to know if they actually exist, or if it's just a popular image reproduced whenever possible. Courtroom scenes are straight-up American courtroom drama. I don't know what the criminal process looks like in Nigeria (in 2060-ish), but I am not entertained by this.

It's not that it's a bad book, and it's probably not as bad as I make it seem, it's just that this is the third of the trilogy and I expected so much more. I expected development - of the story, the characters, the writing. But no. I was bored and I was annoyed and I was glad when it was over. The two previous book, especially the first one, got me holding my breath waiting for the next part to finally come out. Now I'm just done. Maybe that's ok. It is the third part of a trilogy, so maybe I should feel like that. In any case, I do recommend the series. It just, I don't know. It has flaws.

Profile Image for Mary.
424 reviews4 followers
December 10, 2019
Pretty good wrap up to this trilogy, though not completely satisfying. The story has so many threads to follow at this point, this installment felt a little disjointed. On the other hand, having Oyin Da mostly narrate and having fewer (no?) time jumps made the narrative easier to follow in some ways. Thompson writes great characters, and I’ll be looking for other work from him.

Overall, this is a good trilogy and gives the reader a lot to think about, especially in terms of an alien invasion that isn’t bogey men with blasters arriving in spaceships but more an insidious, slow takeover...a “we’re pretending to be here to help make you better but we really want to take everything and destroy your culture” analogy to colonization in Africa.
Profile Image for Andrew.
175 reviews26 followers
November 11, 2022
Fantastic end to a fantastic series. I really loved the trajectory of this whole story, and I feel as if this book really took all of the interesting parts of the first two and combined them into a great, fast paced conclusion. While I felt the character work was a bit better in the first two, I did appreciate getting to know more about the expanded cast of characters that became more important here. The story went in an intriguing, albeit predictable direction. But the unique story beats and sub plots made the 'humans vs. aliens' theme anything but boring. I was impressed with how well everything tidied up without making it feel like a "happily ever after." If you love sci-fi with a fungal twist, pick up this whole series.
Profile Image for Joe Ure.
32 reviews
January 10, 2022
I'm so glad I stuck this series out through the end! The second one didn't quite live up to my experience of the first, but the third tied it all together pretty well. These books aren't perfect, but I had fun reading them, and I imagine I'll give the whole series another read-through a couple years down the line.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
495 reviews33 followers
March 1, 2020
This was a fun trilogy, for the most part, although it occasionally collapsed under its own byzantine weight. In case it wasn't clear (it's clear), there's a passage near the end that announces quite literally that the whole thing is an allegory for [bullhorn] CLIMATE CHANGE and [more bullhorn] COLONIZATION. Although to be fair the colonization bit isn't really an allegory.

I don't know whether this is a problem or not, but sometimes I wasn't sure what genre I was in. The back cover says the book has "echoes or Neuromancer and Arrival" and ... no. That ain't it, chief. Just because a book has aliens in it does not mean it's like another story with aliens in it, ffs. It's more like The Bourne Supremacy meets District 9 meets Ender's Game, but with a lot more Bourne Supremacy. Especially this last book, which is very much about people running around and stuff blowing up. For that reason, it's pretty fun (I enjoyed all the Bourne movies—and I'm comparing to movies because this book feels very ready-for-big-screen), but it's not as deep as maybe the author originally hoped it would be. The allegories embedded in the story don't feel as urgent because the fast-moving plot overcomes character development. And you have to care about characters to feel a story.

That's a literary critique, but I enjoyed the book in spite of it missing maybe the profundity mark. (Which I think it was aiming for, otherwise I wouldn't critique it.) What kept me from actually flipping the pages as frantically as I might, considering the thriller quality, was just how unbelievably complicated the plot was. There were so many characters that I could not keep them straight, and I wished very much that there was a list to help me. I actually googled it (who is Taiwo? Was Tolu as important in the end as we were told he would be? How do I keep straight Dahun from Motherfucking Dunladi? How did Eric even get himself involved in all this? Was the Kyle ghost guy important in ANY way?) but found nothing. Someone with more time on their hands should make a list. The plot, too, is so elaborate that I can't believe Thompson himself was keeping track of it—and to what end? It just didn't seem necessary. If he'd stayed more focused on the core characters, developing them more and blowing stuff up less, the end would have had the big emotional salience I imagine he was going for.

I think I had a lot of these same criticisms of the last two books, but still enjoyed the books enough to persevere through all three of them ... and I hope they are turned into a Netflix series, because the story really seems destined to be played out on a screen. (Starring Daniel Kaluuya as Kaaro, please. And although she doesn't act, as far as I know, I totally pictured Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as Femi.)
Profile Image for Leah.
498 reviews65 followers
October 24, 2020
It had been too long between reading the second Wormwood book and this one, so I spent a while just trying to get my head around all the people again. Which I think is the problem? Even though it isn't a completely immediate sequel, and while I think that's the point of this near-future scifi storytelling - most of the story happens over a short period of time - it also makes it harder to get back into the rhythm of things.

I enjoyed the politics and the compromises of the Rosewater humans, but ambiguity can't last forever in fiction. The impossibility of their positions becomes suddenly apparent in this book, when Alyssa stops pretending to care about humans, reveals her true plans, and is kind of uselessly destroyed for a bit?

There were some pretty bad plotting and pacing choices made in this novel, almost as if Thompson didn't confidently know where the trilogy was heading and had to cram a lot of downfall into one fairly small section of the final book. Oyin Da is told she has to go to America - a country physically and psychically closed off from the whole world for decades now - but she tries a bit and then instead just meets an American who tells her everything she needs to know. Alyssa's about-face on the topic of humans as reanimates is jarring, as if all the politicking and bargaining of the last two novels was pointless.

Too many very big revelations, not enough weight given to each one in the space available. I can't tell if the story should have been spread differently over different books, or if each book should have been longer, or if there should have just been maybe one less thread to weave into the plot. Either way, this was a disappointing conclusion even while the overall trilogy has been really enjoyable for being scifi that is a) African-centred, b) grounded in recognisable human life, and c) grimy, irreverent, messy, and people-focused.
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