Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a novel about a young girl named Binti who is the first of her people to go to Oomza University. She has to escape in the middle of the night just to avoid her parents to be able to go to the University. Her people believe that you should stay in your homeland forever, but Binti has been dreaming of going to this university since she was a young girl. While traveling to the university, Binti realizes that she may have made a mistake. Everyone stares at her because of the otjize or an orange-red substance that her people rub into their skin and hair to become a part of their homeland. They call her terrible names and treat her as if she is worthless. Then, on her way to the university, her ship is attacked. Binti must make difficult decisions and use the power within herself to be able to survive until she gets to the university.
I was so excited for this book, I really was. Now that I am at the end of it, I am simply disappointed. I felt like I was on some sort of wild ride where I never really got to connect with any of the characters and simply raced to the end. Binti went from being on a ship with classmates who may or may not have liked her to being on a ship full of killer aliens. I was looking forward to seeing Binti make friends and connect with the other students who were feeling isolated, but instead they were just murdered in cold blood and then never really spoken about again. The novel doesn’t even discuss how being on a ship full of her classmate’s dead bodies affected Binti. It just leaps from scene to scene without focusing on anything for a long enough time.
Then, the book tries to convince me that the people who literally murdered Binti’s classmates in cold blood aren’t really killers. There was literally nothing redeemable about them, and Binti doesn’t automatically stop fearing them, but that was a terrible take in my opinion. I think the story could have been salvageable if the motto hadn’t been “mass murderers aren’t always evil.”
Overall, I was generally disappointed by this book. I really wanted to like it, but I couldn’t. I will be reading the rest of the series however, as I have already purchased the books and don’t want them to go to waste! Maybe things will turn around for Binti.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books