Melanti's Reviews > Akata Witch

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2018, e-book, group-reads, library, young-adult

Sorry, I wish I liked this but I don't. I normally love Okorafor's writing, but this particular one is terribly written and poorly edited.

I really enjoyed the setting (Nigeria) and use of African culture and magic, but it really suffers from being too formulaic and derivative - it takes a huge number of its plot points from Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong, I loved Harry Potter, but I don't think this one did its own thing nearly enough.

For instance, the Leopard (wizard) kids took a magic train (Knight Bus) to a market (Diagon Alley) that Lambs (muggles) couldn't see. They then went to get the Free Agent (muggle born) main character her own juju knife (wand) which she gets from a quirky and strange man (Olivander) who muses about how curious her knife is - but never explains the significance of this particular blade - and further, this is the only possible knife she can get cause the wand chooses the wizard.

And that's only a couple of chapters... There's dozens more parallels in the book.


Frankly, really meaningful, emotional things seem to have no consequences... The kids witness someone dying and are upset - but within a page, they've seemingly forgotten all about it and have started enthusiastically playing an elaborate soccer match. More time is spent on this ultimately pointless soccer match than is spent in the climax of the book!

In the climax, the adults of the book push the kids towards a confrontation, without any real effort to give them training to help them win, nor any real consideration for the kids' survival or safety. The main character is 12 for crying out loud. They had no business to do that.


Finally, there's some pretty horrible editing errors. Sunny is from New York - but in the prologue she says she's from Chicago, and in another section she implies she's gone to school in Nigeria since she was 5. Her aunt simultaneously lives in Atlanta and works in NYC. Sunny caught malaria when she was 2 - yet she couldn't have caught it when she was 2 because she was living in the United States at the time. So, unless she took an unmentioned vacation, malaria would have been impossible.

So, in general, this is just a huge, huge disappointment for me.
It'd probably read better for the target audience (lower end of the YA scale) but just doesn't hold up to my adult skepticism.
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Reading Progress

January 26, 2018 – Started Reading
January 26, 2018 – Shelved
January 31, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Kellie I'm glad I'm not the only one what picked up on all the parallels with HP!


message 2: by Vero (new) - rated it 1 star

Vero glad im not alone


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