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Riot Baby

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  555 ratings  ·  161 reviews
"Riot Baby bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether."—Marlon James

Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by Tor
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  555 ratings  ·  161 reviews

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James Alexander
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of Riot Baby in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Tochi Onyebuchi and Tor.

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
R.F. Kuang
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Artisan Geek
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcase

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 for sending over a copy of this book!

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Holly (The Grimdragon)
4.5 Stars~

"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
Kim Lockhart
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-books-2020
I am reminded of Charles Blow's epiphany that finding your voice means facing the past. You have to find the source of your pain, that "fire shut up in your bones."

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
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Thanks to Beverly who shared this great interview with the LFPC group. Well worth a read, and I sure hope my library has more copies coming in. The list is very very long already.

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
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A moving narrative about the black American experience. Read the synopsis then read the novella.
The Nerd Daily
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

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
Tiffany Bookwormgram
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Riot Baby
5/5 stars

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
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: A raw and heartbreaking story about growing up black, Onyebuchi infuses his tale with fantastical elements and gives us characters who are not willing to sit still.

I went into Riot Baby with no expectations at all, and I think that’s the best way to approach this story. This short novella is a beautifully written,
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


Riot Babyis powerful, raw, heartbreaking, and an absolute must read. I am going to try to give as little away as possible for two reasons: One, I think you need to read it for yourself; and two, I genuinely don't think I could do an explanation justice. The story primarily centers around siblings Ella and Kev, and their experiences as young black Americans. At pretty much every turn
Christine Sandquist (eriophora)
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.

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 about

Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tochi's prose shines in Riot Baby. There's subtle word placements and these phrases roll of your tongue in a way that's both glittering and sharp. The world of Riot Baby is unlike anything I've ever read. Faced with the desperation, the violence, and turning to hope, but is it enough? It's a story grounded in racism, police brutality, and the spark that ignites the tinder. Throughout Riot Baby we read about cycles of violence and racism. The scripts we are trapped in like hamsters in a wheel ...more
Lalaa #ThisBlackGirlReads
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tori (InToriLex)
This book was is about a future where mass incarceration's unchecked progression, meets the power of black woman with a Thing who can manipulate the world around her. A memorable family story that reflects on police brutality and killing within black communities. I really enjoyed this quick and imaginative read.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful gut-punch of a science fiction novella. Granted, I struggled to understand how exactly Ella’s powers worked, but I’m still giving it 5 stars because it’s such an electric adult debut from Onyebuchi. I have been so impressed with his worldbuilding in YA novels and was thrilled to see him finally write adult fiction. More, please!
Michael Hicks
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My review of RIOT BABY can be found at High Fever Books.

Riot Baby was a book that I immediately fell in love with and only felt more rewarded by as its pages went on. By the end of the first chapter, I was Googling Tochi Onyebuchi to find out what else he’d written, adding his books to my wishlist for future purchases and making sure his name stuck in my mind. Halfway through chapter three, I was back to Googling the author, wanting to read the various interviews he’s been giving to help
Warnings: police brutality, gun violence, institutionalized racism, mention of suicide and attempted suicide, mention of physical and sexual assault, graphic recounting of violent incidents, childbirth scene, mention of PTSD

Rep: both main characters are Black; Kev was incarcerated and his PoV deals with incarceration and the trauma from it

Riot Baby was a mixed bag for me - emotionally, it was a bulls-eye, with a very clear view on what it wanted to say and what it wanted to evoke, but in a
This adult debut may be a novella, but it certainly packs a punch. Bursting with passion, anger, and stunning prose, this is the speculative fiction of resistance. Thematically, Riot Baby is about racism, police brutality, incarceration, and power. This is a must read, and perhaps the first spec fic story I have read with significant portions taking place inside of prison. It is gut-wrenching and necessary.

Ella and Kev are brother and sister and both have unusual abilities. They are also Black
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the best possible way, this book left me thinking “what the heck am I reading” in more ways than one. More a look at the Black American experience than it is a story about super powers, I was left both dazzled and uncomfortable throughout.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-five, ebooks, arc-s
Review to come soon!
Lois Young
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How much Rage can two Black siblings express for the entire Black race?
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
J.A. Ironside
ARC provided by via NetGalley

I really, really liked this novella. The prose was gorgeous, the story was immersive, the imagery was brutal, beautiful and compelling. Considering that only 174 pages are devoted to the complicated themes tangled together in this short gem, it's astounding how much the author has crammed in without it ever feeling muddled or crowded.

The story follows Ella, who, as a little girl, discovers she has paranormal abilities. These take the form of a type of
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
Riot Baby is an intense and wonderfully written novella that draws you straight in. Ella and Kev are both magnetic leads. Ella in particular with her fury really captivated me. For a novella, Riot Baby felt so vast. Sometimes with novellas, even when I love them, there's a part of me that wants more - but with Riot Baby it felt like there was so much more than 170 pages worth of story. The sci-fi/magic element added an extra element to the story that I just loved.

There were times where I had to
Melissa ~ Missy (FrayedBooks)
I hate leaving a 1-star review but I just did not like this story - but I will start by saying. It's a good story. Its an important story to be told. I am just not the right audience for it. I can see why there are a lot of 4 & 5 star reviews, and its deserved! I will also start by saying I am white. I could never understand the discrimination faced by a person of color. This story made me angry about the injustice of society.

But I was also confused - this timeline is not linear. It jumps
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the publisher and author Tochi Onyebuchi for providing me an ARC in exchange for my open and honest review.

Onyebuchi creates a dystopia portrait of modern American in Riot Baby. Kev, one of the two protagonists in Riot Baby, is born to a single mom in 1992 Los Angeles during the height of the Rodney King riots, hence the name Riot Baby. Kev was born into a time that explodes with violence in his childhood violence follows him, and as an adult, Kev is incarcerated at Rikers for
Jonathan Strahan
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
The first book I've finished in 2020. A short, vital angry SF novel about a young girl with powers and her brother, told through a series of riots, injustices, and imprisonments. Onyebuchi can write and Riot Baby is powerful stuff. I could quibble about one section, but well worth reading.
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was an intense read. Definitely a raw and brutal book of what it is like to grow up as a black person in America. The combination of magical realism and science fiction was perfectly done in this book. It’s a short book that I ended up finishing in one sitting. I highly recommend this one. Just be prepared. Thank you to for the arc.
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Tochi Onyebuchi is the author of Beasts Made of Night, its sequel Crown of Thunder, War Girls, and the upcoming Riot Baby, forthcoming from in January 2020. He has graduated from Yale University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia Law School, and L’institut d’études politiques with a Masters degree in Global Business Law.

His short fiction has appeared in Asimov's
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“I am the locusts, and the frogs, and the river of blood.” 0 likes
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