Title: Akata Witch
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Science Fiction
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are 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. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
Akata Witch first came to my notice last year and I liked the sound of it and bought it straight away. It then languished on My TBR Mountain until I picked it up the other day. Why, oh why did I wait so long!!!? Gosh it’s SO good!
Sunny finds out she is a Leopard person – capable of great magic. The non-magical part of the population is referred to as ‘Lambs’. Author Nnedi Okorafor bases her fantasy world in the real Nigerian world, and gives very plausible reasons as to why ‘Lambs’ won’t discover the magical elements that go on around them. Having Sunny as a newcomer to the magical side of Nigeria the reader learns about the alternative world as information is given to Sunny. The first inkling Sunny get that she is different is when she sees a horrific premonition of a nuclear holocaust in a flame. After Sunny is bullied at school she is befriended by Orlu; introduced to Chichi and then initiated into Leopard people where Sasha is added to the group. The newly formed coven has to go into a fast-tracked training course to destroy a leopard person who has turned into a serial killer of young children. Of course teens never do anything by the book, and this group are no different, get into lots of mischief before they face their foe as a team in the very last pages.
Each of the four young people has flaws – Sunny is an albino, Orlu is dyslexic, Chichi has a photographic memory (therefore a know-it-all) and Sasha is a trouble maker and has been slung out of the USA as punishment. They each have to accept their flaws and overcome their differences and learn to trust each other and take advantage of those differences to work as one unit.
Also the Leopard people in this book are quite different from the Leopard men my old Ana use to frighten me with as a child when I lived in Nigeria – the Leopard Men were a West African cult where its members would dress up as Leopards and kill the same way a leopard does, by slashing, gashing, and mauling their human prey with steel claws and knives. I use to spend hours awake at night watching the branch of the tree outside my bedroom window! Obviously one never turned up to do me in J
AKATA WITCH is a blend of fantasy, science fiction, paranormal and adventure. It is the first in a proposed series, but the story was completed in this novel, with the opportunity to expand into future magical adventures.
Rating: A – Excellent. I could not put it down
For more about the author – Click Here