Who Fears Death

Who Fears Death

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
15
6
2
 …
In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert. She gives birth to a baby girl with hair and skin the color of sand and instinctively knows that her daughter is different. She names her daughter Onyesonwu, which means "Who Fears Death?" in an ancient African tongue. Reared under the tutelage of a mysterious and traditional shaman, Onyesonwu discovers her magical destiny -- to end the genocide of her people. The journey to fulfill her destiny will force her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture -- and eventually death itself.
Publisher: New York, NY : Daw Books, Inc., [2010]
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780756407285
9780756406172
075640617X
Branch Call Number: SF OKORAFOR 2010
Characteristics: 386 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Born into post-apocalyptic Africa to a mother who was raped after the slaughter of her entire tribe, Onyesonwu is tutored by a shaman and discovers that her magical destiny is to end the genocide of her people.


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

t
Tauriel
Jun 06, 2018

I LOVED THIS BOOK. It is amazing, and told extremely well.
The harshness and the pain makes the ending only more bittersweet, and it opened my eyes to the conditions other people experience in the world. Onyesonwu is a powerfully complex character, and her journey is an inspiring one.
I read this book in little over a day, and I've started the prequel, The Book of Phoenix (so good!), and Nnedi Okorafor is doing an amazing job

l
Lotushead
Apr 05, 2018

I love this book. The heroine just does not buy into racism or sexism. She doesn't much like the Great Book either. I can so relate!

SPPL_Kristen Mar 13, 2018

A breathtaking novel. Nnedi Okorafor is one of the best authors writing today. Please be mindful of the content warnings: the book deals with a lot of difficult and graphic subjects. This is one of my new favorites, and I highly recommend it to all sci-fi lovers.

ArapahoeGrace Mar 01, 2018

Content Warning: This book contains explicit scenes and discussions of sexual assault. This book so fully immersed me in its world that I could hardly think critically about it as I was too focused on the story itself. An uplifting page turner, this book gets right to the heart of modern race and gender relations through its Afro-futurism lens. I can't wait to read more by this author.

SCL_Tricia Jan 04, 2018

Soon to be made into a tv series with George RR Martin as the executive producer. An interesting book with a strong female lead. I think it will translate to tv very well.

l
lukasevansherman
Dec 03, 2017

Given how white and male the sci-fi world is (less so in fantasy), it's refreshing to come across a book written from a different perspective. Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American writer and "Who Fears Death" is set in a post-apocalyptic Africa. Okorafor uses the genre to deal with more serious issues like racism, violence, rape, and women's rights. I don't think you have to be a fan of sci-fi to enjoy this.

KateHillier Jul 27, 2017

Once this gets made, assuming this gets made well, we are in for one heck of a TV show. This book is fantastic. It's immersive, imaginative, brutal, and beautiful. Onye, our lead character, is a child of rape and her and her mother live as nomads in the desert until they reach a town where they may be able to have a normalish life. That's not Onye's fate and her fate is to be a force to be reckoned with. She has magical powers, she's going to change the world, and she has to fight tooth and nail with friends and foes to get an inch of respect. She makes mistakes, for sure. She's headstrong, angry, and that has its own consequences.

This is truly fantastic. Seriously. I didn't know all that much about it when I started reading it and I'm trying to give you that same experience by being a little vague. Give it a try, you won't regret it.

s
shayshortt
Sep 15, 2016

Onyesonwu is the child of rape, and this is only the first of many brutal and violent events that are recounted in great detail in the opening of pages of Who Fears Death. For anyone who might struggle with reading about rape and female genital cutting, this book and this review may not be for you. A variety of violent deaths are also graphically depicted, including more than one woman being killed by stoning, and another woman who is torn limb from limb by an angry mob. The violence is generally motivated by either the race or gender of the victim(s) and often by both. While the graphic depictions let up somewhat in the later part of the book, I honestly struggled to continue reading after making it through the first hundred pages. It took me two weeks to get through the book, though I put it down for a week in the middle. Full review: https://shayshortt.com/2016/09/15/who-fears-death/

Haunting. There are some amazing friendships between women here, with all their ups and downs. Onyesonwu herself was realistically flawed - her blind spots actually led her to make catastrophic errors, which was occasionally frustrating but ultimately made her deeply compelling as a protagonist. I also loved how Okorafor rendered the complexity of being in a romantic relationship with someone who both gets you like no one else does, yet is also deeply prejudiced about what you can be or accomplish because of your gender.

m
mlynxqualey
Feb 27, 2016

I am a book critic & review for a living, so I need "guilty pleasure" reads to keep me sane.

Thus far, this is hands-down my favorite guilty-pleasure read of 2016. Nnedi comes out of the YA world and it's evident in her tight plotting and accessible writing, but I also never felt she was talking down to me.

Delight & enjoyment.

View All Comments

Age

Add Age Suitability

t
Tauriel
Apr 07, 2018

Tauriel thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

m
mlynxqualey
Feb 27, 2016

mlynxqualey thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

b
Birkbm
Jan 08, 2016

Birkbm thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

r
Rilelen
Apr 28, 2012

Rilelen thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

i
Incarnadine
Feb 14, 2012

Incarnadine thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

r
rachelleme
Apr 24, 2011

rachelleme thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Notices

Add Notices

s
shayshortt
Sep 15, 2016

Sexual Content: Graphic depictions of rape

s
shayshortt
Sep 15, 2016

Violence: Including sexual violence, genocide, and stoning. Depictions of female genital cutting.

Quotes

Add a Quote

s
shayshortt
Sep 15, 2016

Humiliation and confusion were the staples of my childhood. Is it a wonder that anger was never far behind?

s
shayshortt
Sep 15, 2016

Humiliation and confusion were the staples of my childhood. Is it a wonder that anger was never far behind?

Summary

Add a Summary

s
shayshortt
Sep 15, 2016

Onyesonwu is Ewu, a child born of the violence that the Nuru have long visited upon the Okeke people they have enslaved in post-apocalyptic Sudan. Nuru and Okeke alike regard her as an abomination, but she is protected by her determined mother, and her highly respected adoptive father. Her magical talents begin to manifest early, setting her even further apart from her Okeke peers in the village of Jwahir. But things begin to change when she meets Mwita, an Ewu boy with connections to the village sorcerer, Aro, who has never agreed to take a woman as his student. Her untrained power ties her to a larger destiny, one will impact the future of Nuru and Okeke alike.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at MCL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top