Ryandake's Reviews > Who Fears Death

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

liked it
Read in August, 2011

as polemics go, this one is pretty well disguised. but the ending was just, ugh, on more than one level.

the writer said that the story began with her reading about rape as a weapon used in sudan. and just how do you write about such a loathsome subject? i give the author huge kudos for the attempt to hold the reader's attention to something most of us would rather just stuff under the nearest large rock.

but she doesn't really pull it off. in the end, it's a polemic. and an anti-rape polemic is kind of a no-brainer. there are no pro-rape polemics. the story isn't strong enough to carry such a heavy message; neither the characters nor the world-building are much more than straw men.

which is a shame. i love internationally-flavored literature, glimpses of cultures not my own, and i love it best when it can show me a new way of thinking. but manichean dichotomies, meh, we have plenty of those already. and heroes who do it all by themselves, with the help of some special powers and a couple of sidekicks.

i don't mean to completely trash on this book. it has its moments. i like very much seeing a young woman as the central character; i like seeing women's ways of thinking about relationships and power. there are reasons to like this book... maybe you just have to be a great deal younger than i am and not have thought about this stuff too much.

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