When I read Zahrah the Windseeker a few years ago, it changed the game for me. It nurtured the spark created by Holly Black’s Valiant, RA Salvatore’s The Dark Elf Trilogy and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely Series. Nnedi did it again with Binti, going places where few authors have gone.
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.
What I liked:
- The protag is from the Himba African tribe.
- She runs away from home to attend a special, selective school. The main town is an Arabic/Islamic culture. It was refreshing and gave me a diversity high to read the descriptions of the townsfolk versus the Himba.
- I was not familiar with the Himba, and so I thought Nnedi made it up, until I googled it. So if you’re as clueless as me, this is what members of the Himba tribe look like:
Beautiful, right? Nnedi explains why they wear the red clay, why they wear anklets. She gives us a glimpse into a culture I never knew I wanted to learn about it.