BOOK REVIEW: Binti Home
I always anticipate sequels with dread. It is like visiting uncharted territory, expectations exposed to possible threats of disappointment. I enjoyed the first installation of Binti and I thought I was very much impressed with the coming of age story ‘Binti’ until I read ‘Binti Home’ its sequel. Nnedi Okoroafor continues to show us why she is the queen of speculative fiction.
The narrative for “Binti Home” picked up a year after her arrival in Oomza Uni where she is studying to be a master harmonizer using mathematical equations. Binti is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after her ordeal journey and is struggling with her identity. Her only friend remains Okwu the Meduse. Binti is now part Himba and part Meduse, her locs now replaced with twitching Okuko.
Binti tries to understand the ancient artifact Edan which saved her life and in the process occasionally falls into fits of violent temper which she is unaccustomed to. She feels unclean and decides to redeem herself by going back to Earth and joining the pilgrimage for women in her tribe. She embarks on this journey with Okwu and is plunged into a world of uncertainty as she faces a family who is proud of her and at the same time feel betrayed.
Nnedi took us bravely on this journey with Binti as she struggles with self-discovery and identifying her and roots against societal expectations. Even though this is fantasy, speculative fiction, we can see that Nnedi tries to portray themes that plague real life situations such as gender barrier and tribal prejudice. How Nnedi masterly uses ancient cultures and futuristic imagination (science fiction) still amazes me.
My only dissapointment with the second story is its abprubt end. In Nnedi’s books, you can never guess what happens next correctly and it was exhilirating to allow the narrative take you on the journey of Binti’s Adventure in the first book but in Home, the story ended just when her adventure was starting. Leaving you with questions and itching for the final part of the trilogy.