Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ikenga” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,015 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Nnamdi's father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mys ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 18th 2020 by Penguin Random House
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ikenga, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ikenga

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,015 ratings  ·  311 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ikenga
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I've read this many times over the years, so I can definitely speak on it, haha.

I’m so excited to present this tale of a black boy embracing his power on his own terms in the face of strife. It’s both a universal and specific narrative, full of mysticism and adventure, and it was an absolute joy to write.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookishfirst, 2020
This is a hard moment to be a superhero fan. I was in the middle of reading Ikenga when the news broke about Chadwick Boseman’s death. He was an invaluable part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and was the hero of so many kids, especially black kids, all over the world. So going back into this story after learning of the sudden ending of his was difficult, if I’m being completely honest.

But it was also cathartic, in a way. Ikenga is a middle grade book about a 12 year-old boy in Nigeria who’s
Ms. Woc Reader
Aug 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
I found Ikenga to be a very standard Middle Grade Fantasy read. After the death of his father Nmadi is visited by his spirit and given the Ikenga which gives him the powers to shift into a Hulk-like creature dubbed The Man.

I realize I'm not the target audience for it but I'm not sure how enthralled my younger cousin who is the target would be with this story. Overall I found it very steady but it didn't quite capture me the way some other Middle Grade fantasies have.

I appreciated the look at mo
Jessica Haider
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A middle grade fantasy novel by the author of Binti? Yes, please!

I read this book with my 5th grader and after finishing it he declared it "one of the best books you've ever read to me!" He loved it!

Set in Nigeria, this novel has elements of African folklore, mystery and fantasy. Nnamdi is the 11 year old son of the chief of police of their town Kaleria. His father is the best police chief the town has ever had. He readily pushes back the criminals that are trying to invade the town. And then, N
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction, middle-grade
I love Nnedi Okorafor so I was very excited to get an ARC of this.

I think this will appeal to a lot of young readers--I love the American pop culture references combined with the specificity of being grounded in Nigerian culture. However for me, I didn't love it the way I've loved some of her other works--but I'm not exactly the target audience. It's an enjoyable middle grade adventure and I think this will be great for some younger readers who have struggled to find books they can connect to.
Rod Brown
I thought this was going to be a graphic novel since it's about a superhero of sorts, but it was text only. And maybe because the text was written down to a middle school crowd, I found the whole book dreadfully dull to read.

Starting off with nods to Hamlet and Shazam, an 11-year-old Nigerian boy follows the ghost of his murdered father and ends up with the ability to become a powerful seven-foot-tall adult. He intends to use his power to break the crime ring that probably killed his police chie
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobooks
DNF at 40%

Really not for me, rtc.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded up.
This was so much more than I expected in a children's book. Well developed characters and wonderful descriptions and a storyline that kept me interested.
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, giveaway-wins, 2020
Edit 10/21/20:

This was so good! I think many middle graders would enjoy this. Those who are fans of The Hulk and other superheroes and also want to try something new. I think Nnamdi is a strong character; he learns from his mistakes and genuinely tries to do better each time. It's a lesson many young people need to learn about; mistakes don't define you, they make you stronger.

Overall, great for superhero fans grades 4+


I just got this book in the mail from the Goodreads giveaway! I’m actually
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn’t have chosen a better title to be my first audiobook for review… I’ve tried listening to them before and I just get too distracted. But Nnedi Okorafor’s prose paired with the vocal talents of Ben Onwukwe made this a most enjoyable experience. It took me about a chapter to get used to Onwukwe’s accent, and after that it added to the atmosphere of the book perfectly.

Let’s get to the book itself… With an epitaph from Bruce Banner, you know this is gonna be good!

The protagonist is named Nn
Josh Hedgepeth
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for an e-arc of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This was great. I don't read a lot of middle grade, so naturally I was little unsure about this. Although, I found this book extremely engaging.

I really like the writing, and I thought the story was complex and not overly simplified despite being for children. I was granted the audiobook ARC via NetGalley and it was an amazing audiobook. I listen to a lot of audio books, most are fine. This is one of those
Ms. Yingling
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it
ARC provided by Follett First Look'

Nnamdi lives in Kalaria, Nigeria with his mother, and his father, who is the chief of police and very invested in taking down major crime figures in the area. When his father is killed in his office, Nnamdi is devastated. Not only doe he miss his father, but his absence leads to economic difficulties, and his mother must go sell tapioca at the street market. When one of the criminals, Never Die, accosts his mother, Nnamdi is angry but not sure what he can do to
NetGalley Audio ARC.

So far I've only read Okorafor's middle grade fantasy novels! Akata Witch, Akata Warrior, and now Ikenga. And I've really enjoyed them! So I should maybe probably start reading her adult novels, especially since I own the Binti trilogy and recently picked up Remote Control and Who Fears Death.

I really liked Nnamdi. He's obsessed with superheroes and especially loves the Hulk. It's no surprise what happens next! I enjoyed Nnamdi and Chuma's platonic 12-year-old wholesome frie
This is an interesting, fast-paced children's book. A young Nigerian boy whose father is a slain police chief gains a superpower, but he doesn't realize it's not smooth sailing even when he tries to use his powers for good. Great powers come with a price to pay, and public opinion against criminals are fickle, and prone to fluctuate between admiration for their perverse wealth and pity for their persecution. ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read and will be a great addition to our school library. I loved the setting of present-day Nigeria and felt confident in the author's ability to write about it. The villians - so interesting! (Mama Go-Slow, Three Days Journey, Never Die, etc.) The journey that Nnamdi takes with the help of his friends. ...more
So, this was a really interesting middle grade arc I received.

You're thrown right into a pool of emotions as the story begins at a funeral of Nnamdi's father who was the chief of police. I was completely taken aback with the abruptness of the intro. Along with the "possible" murderer showing up at his father's funeral to pay their respect.

It was just a really stressful and emotional read (thank God it was a short read or I would not have lasted too long).

I just feel like Nnamdi should have gotte
Lanie Hirsch
This wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. I really liked Nnamdi and Chioma's friendship. I appreciated the look at Nigeria and the culture there. Beyond that though, this book just left me wanting more. The writing personally wasn't that great. I feel like it's very simple and when it comes to "show don't tell" this book does a lot telling instead. The plot does not entirely make sense to me, and it feels like there isn't one clear storyline that is consistently driving the book. The murder myst ...more
Kayla Hanner
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
While I really try to give every book I review five stars, because I know there is always something I find that I've loved in every text I've read, I really just couldn't do that for this novel. Don't get me wrong...I absolutely adored this book and I really enjoyed reading it, but I just felt like it was missing a little something that I think would make this story a bit more concise and entertaining. I absolutely loved reading about Nnamdi's story and his personal growth as a character, especi ...more
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 10-and-11
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy for Ikenga's audiobook.

Ikenga is a fairly standard 'child discovers powers' story and it's narrator does an incredible job of delivering it. I felt like I was transported back to elementary school circle time. Some middle grade books have a pretty wide audience appeal, but this one just didn't have that impact on me which has nothing to do with the content or writing and everything to do with me being outside of the target demographic. This is
Mikala Charron
Nov 19, 2020 marked it as unfinished-books-bailed
Just not in the mood to read this right now, which is too bad.
Amanda Workman
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thrilling new super hero story set in Nigeria. Loved the characters.
I enjoyed this middle grade book set in Nigeria.
I liked that Nnamdi is questioning if his new found abilities are good or not, but sometimes things came to him very easy while other times it took him very long to realize something.
I think the target audience of this book will enjoy it a lot.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Stephanie Hiddleston
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Another lovely book by Nnedi Okorafor. Her books never disappoint!
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children-s, mg, black
A great superhero-in-the-real-world story set in Nigeria. Nnamdi is authentic and personable, his anger, grief, and kindness are palpable. This is a great book for those who loved Akata Witch and Tristan Strong books.
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A huge thank you to Netgalley and Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From the acclaimed author of Akata Witch and Binti, comes a middle-grade book about a boy yearning for justice who gains the power he desires to make a difference. A year after the death of his father, the honorable chief of police of Kaleria, 12-year old Nnamdi remains filled with grief and anger over his father’s unsolved murder. Everyone believes the Ch
Anita McDivitt Barrios
Twelve-year-old Nnamdi and his mother are devastated when his father, the Chief of Police, is shot and killed. But when the town of Kaleria's highest criminal big-whig comes to his father's funeral, sporting a ring identical to his father's, he pees his pants in fear. A year goes by, and he's no closer to getting revenge on his father's killer, when he thinks he recognizes his father's broad back and green beret in the street.

It's his father's spirit, come to warn him of a future Kaleria going u
Simoné Eloff
Audio ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Ikenga is a great take on Marvel's The Hulk (even down to the soothing presences that make sure Hulk doesn't go too nuts) set in small-town Nigeria. I don't see it as a rip-off, though. I loved the interpretation of an established superhero character - which the book's main character, Nnamdi, idolises and wished he could be - within the context of Nigerian mythology and lore. Here, the hero isn't irrevocably altered and turned int
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ikenga is a story about a boy who seeks revenge against those that killed his father. I love the setting usedof a middle class family who become distraught after the breadwinner dies. They become vulnerable. Nnamdi's mother was once robbed on her way to the market, which would never have happened had her husband the chief inspector of police been alive.

❤ Nnamdi is shown to be a strong boy but also weak because he's just a young child. He develops this thirst for revenge, but has no way of aven
Courage. Nnamdi's father always taught him that courage was important, but now Nnamdi's father is dead, shot three times by a mysterious murderer and there's nothing Nnamdi can do about it. That it, until the ghost of Nnamdi's father appears on the one-year anniversary of his death and gives Nnamdi an ikenga, a small powerful statue. The ikenga transforms Nnamdi into the Man and magnifies Nnamdi's strength and senses giving him the power to hunt down and fight the criminals involved in his fathe ...more
Perhaps 3.5 stars for this one.

This is an interesting middle grade novel that tackles some big things: parental death/grief, anger, revenge, and controlling one’s emotions. Nnamdi is gifted a Hulk-like power to change into The Man, who is big and very strong and fast. But being The Man also brings his darker emotions to the forefront - so much anger and grief. Nnamdi has to learn to use his powers for good, basically, without letting his darker side take things too far.

I really loved his friends
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Ikenga - Nnedi Okorafor (4 stars) 1 10 Mar 08, 2021 07:25PM  
Bookish First Rea...: Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor 5 16 Aug 05, 2020 05:04AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Red at the Bone
  • The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)
  • The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3)
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
  • House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)
  • The Sea in Winter
  • Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1)
  • Maya and the Rising Dark
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
  • The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
  • The Lion of Mars
  • Magic for Liars
  • Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
  • New Kid (New Kid, #1)
  • Displacement
  • Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
  • Root Magic
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based project ...more

Related Articles

  Bestselling author Jeff VanderMeer is perhaps best known for his creepy sci-fi thriller Annihilation, which was made into a movie and kicked...
162 likes · 36 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »