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Home by Nnedi Okorafor
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3.5 stars for this sequel to Binti and the middle novella in the BINTI trilogy. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Binti is a gifted 17 year old member of the isolated African Himba tribe who has rebelled against family pressure and expectations and sneaked off to attend the galactic Oomza University on another planet in the first book, Binti ... where she found far more adventure, tragedy, stress and personal change than she ever imagined. This theme of personal growth and change continues here in Binti: Home.

Home follows Binti as she leaves the university for a period to return to her home on Earth, with her Meduse friend Okwu accompanying her. Trouble awaits them there, not just from Binti’s choice to attend Oomza University rather than accept the role her family intended for her, but from Okwu’s presence. The Meduse have a long history of war with the Khoush people, and though there is currently a tentative peace treaty, Okwu’s being in their territory has inflamed emotions. Meanwhile, Binti is also having issues with her ongoing PTSD and with new revelations about her life and ancestry.

Binti is amazing and complex, with mixed motivations and emotions that she doesn’t always understand. She felt real to me, though her continual emotional outbursts and PTSD did get tiresome to read about after a while. But it was delightful learning more about her tribe’s culture, including the Himba women’s practice of covering their skin and hair with otjize, a red clay mixture ― a practice Binti follows with dedication, even when she is lightyears away from her home.

At the same time, Okorafor takes on multiple social issues like cultural insensitivity, finding connections with those who are different, and standing up for yourself against social pressure. The Himba are looked down on by the Khoush, the Arab (per Okorafor) people who are the majority, and the Himba in turn look down on the Desert People, or Zinariya, who are actually far more advanced than anyone outside of their tribe realizes. Binti's visit to the Zinariya, what she learns and what happens to her there, are the crux of this story.

Warning: this ends on a serious cliffhanger, one of the worst I've come across. Just consider Home as the first half of a two-part adventure for Binti, and don't pick this one up unless you have the third novella, The Night Masquerade, in hand! And really you need to have read the first novella before this one, so just plan on investing time in the whole trilogy. It's a quick read, though! And worthwhile if you like YA SF.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as part of Binti: The Complete Trilogy.
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2019 – Started Reading
January 30, 2019 – Shelved
January 30, 2019 – Shelved as: africa
January 30, 2019 – Shelved as: science-fiction
January 30, 2019 – Shelved as: cliffhanger-boo-hiss
January 30, 2019 – Finished Reading
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: you-call-that-an-ending
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: ya-science-fiction

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