Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Whole Lot of Juju - Akata Witch Review

TITLE: Akata Witch
AUTHOR: Nnedi Okorafor
PUBLISHER: Speak
PUBLISHING DATE: July 11, 2017

FROM GOODREADS:  Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a "free agent" with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.

Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she's finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?


MY THOUGHTS: 
I actually put of starting "Akata Witch" for a few weeks because I just wasn't sure it would click with me. I initially requested it because of the cover and didn't know a whole lot about the story. However I couldn't have been more wrong. I fell in love with this book quickly and after the first 50 pages or so, had a hard time putting it down.

Sunny is an young Albino girl living in Nigeria. She was originally born in Nigeria but lived many years in the States before returning and that, coupled with her differences, has led to her feeling as if she never fits it. In addition, Sunny loves playing soccer but due to her condition, can't formally play and is relegated to playing with her brothers after the sun goes down. Sunny's father is very critical of his daughter and she feels like she can never make anyone in her family happy.

One day Sunny makes friends with a young boy in her class, Ohle. Through him, she is introduced to Chichi and together she learns that she holds some pretty unique powers. She starts sneaking away from home and studying with a Leopard People Elder - Anatov. Through these lessons she learns about her Leopard People heritage and the magic she can create. A second young boy, Sasha, who is sent to Nigeria from New York because his powers are getting him into some serious trouble soon joins the group and the fun begins. There is a serial killer on the loose and the four youth learn that it may be up to them and their unharnessed abilities to stop him before something happens and life as they know it ends.

This book is truly beautiful. It was so interesting being introduced to the Nigerian culture of the Leopard people and the magic/power system Okorafor has created is unlike anything I've recently read. Sunny tries so hard to fit in but eventually learns that she can celebrate her uniqueness and be herself and still be liked by those around her. She makes a powerful transition as the story progresses and I think this middle grade novel would be a great read for any child struggling to find their place in the world. In addition, the four main characters develop such a wonderful bond that I couldn't help but be slightly reminded of the Harry Potter crew.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys middle grade tales or who has an interest in supernatural and mythical tales. The writing is well done and the book is fast paced so people who crave action won't be disappointed. I am already greatly anticipating the release of the second book in this series because I can't wait to spend some more time with Sunny and her friends.

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.


RATING: 5 PAWS

24 comments:

  1. I love when I put a book off cause I am not sure about it and then end up loving it. :)

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    1. I know. Reading this was such a pleasant surprise!

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  2. I had also requested this from First to Read but never ended up reading it. Guess I will have to check it out from the library.

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    1. It was so enjoyable. I think the next one comes out in October and I can't wait!

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  3. I read another review that mentioned Harry Potter so now I'm even more intrigued. And there's a sequel that's coming out soon, right? Great review, I definitely want to read this.

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    1. I hate comparisons so I'm always hesitant to mention them but it just reminded me of the gang in Harry Potter. They really aren't that similar in plot. I think you'll like this one and I think the next is released in October? I'll have to check.

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  4. Ok...I totally should have asked for this book. Sounds like a good read and I am glad you enjoyed it. May have to check my library for this one.

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    1. For once, First to Read didn't let me down! Sometimes it is so hit or miss with them.

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  5. Love when a book sneaks up on me.
    sherry @ fundinmental

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  6. Love it when there is a different culture and system of magic to read about. Thanks for the interesting review.

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    1. Thanks Laura. Yes, the Leopard People are such a great and magical creature. The author has quite an imagination!

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  7. That cover is kind of creepy though!

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    1. It is which is why I grabbed it!

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  8. I'm with Stormi. I love when a book I've put off starting ends up being awesome. Now you have me curious about this.

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    1. Then you should consider giving it a chance!

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  9. This looks amazing! Nothing what I would have expected from the cover, which struck me as more sci-fi than fantasy for some reason. The magic in this sounds wonderful.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. I know she writes a lot of sci-fi (isn't there a Tor.com novella series?) so I kind of thought this one would have some too. Either way, it was a great read.

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  10. oh I'm so glad you finally read it and that it was so beautiful! I was so curious! And I want to know more about Nigerian culture so I think I'm gonna add this one!

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  11. Adding this to my TBR right now! Lovely review!

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  12. I have several books by Nnedi Okorafor on my wishlist. This one is completely knew to me. Fantastic review.

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    1. This book definitely has me looking into her other works.

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