I just finished my second last book for my school board review committee, which is good considering our meeting is next Tuesday! The book is The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-mbachu. And I am still not sure what I really think about this book.
I don't think I will be recommending it for a middle school audience. I do however, think it would be a great read for high school students. The book is set in a futuristic Earth where magic has returned after "the big change". The landscape continually changes, forests pop up all over, there are mutations in humans and animals. The many character is Ejii, a 14 year-old girl who is struggling to control her abilities as a shadow speaker. She must set out on a quest to strengthen her powers and potentially save the world.
The author of this book certainly has a vivid and interesting imagination. I found myself drawn into the action of the book and looking forward to reading on and on. I did struggle with the unbelievability of the setting, seeing as it was Earth. I normally love fantasy and science fiction books. I love being transported to other lands and suspending my disbelief. However, most of those books are set in different lands. I throughly enjoyed the description of the Ginen world where the homes and buildings are all made of plants.
Overall, I think was drew me most into this book was that it reminded me of the Feminist Science Fiction class I took in university. SB, did you take that class with me? The Shadow Speaker brought me back to when I read Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski and Dawn by Octavia Butler. Both of which I recommend to any woman, or lover of science fiction.
Think overall I am still unsure about The Shadow Speaker. I know I enjoyed it, I know I wanted to continue reading it...but I don't know how I feel about it. It made me think for sure. About the role of women, role of pollution, role of racism. A very interesting read for sure.