Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch

Nnedi Okorafor

World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor weaves together a story of magic, mystery, and finding one's place in the world--for fans of Ursula Le Guin and Diana Wynne Jones.

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Affectionately dubbed "the Nigerian Harry Potter," Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one's place in the world.

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 in. 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?

Ursula K. Le Guin and John Green are Nnedi Okorafor fans. As soon as you start reading Akata Witch, you will be, too! 

From the Hardcover edition.

Advance Galley Reviews

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. I was initially drawn into this story, wanting to learn more about the chittim and trying to understand how they were earned, much like Sunny was. There were a lot of things that just confused me though (although as the story is told through Sunny's perspective and she doesn't fully understand most things initially it would make sense that I would also be confused). I thought it was a bit weird that Sunny was made to do things without any explanations about what was expected of her first though. I'm not sure if that makes the learning more profitable for her somehow, or if the kids were just being thoughtless, or maybe a little bit of both. In any case, I yelled at them a few times to just tell her what she needed to do. My issue with the book is that it felt like a Harry Potter knockoff at times. For example, a group of young Leopard people (witches & wizards) are trained to face off against a powerful adult Leopard person, much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione faced off against Voldemort over and over again. There were a few other similarities too, but I don't want to go too much into them because of spoilers. In the end, the similarities just made the book fall a little flat for me. I give Akata Witch 3.0984746737 stars

Sunny Nwazue has always felt like a bit of an outsider. She's albino, which has not only led to her being viewed differently, but it also stops her from being able to do certain things like spending an entire afternoon out in the sun. But Sunny soon learns that she's actually special in another way--she is a "free agent" and possesses the capacity for magic. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for her and introduces her to some new friends. But is also exposes her to some danger as well. There's someone out there taking children, a someone who just so happens to be able to use magic as well. And Sunny and her friends find themselves needing to help put a stop to it before more people go missing... There's an interesting world created and presented within this story, though I sometimes found myself a little confused with some of the various connections between the characters. There is probably some room for a little more world building, but it's still an enjoyable and interesting read. A definite possibility for fans of fantasy adventure stories. [Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher via the First to Read program.]

This is a really difficult book for me to review. There were pieces I loved as well as pieces I didn’t. On a whole, the story just never came together into a coherent storyline. The setting of this book is very cool. It takes place in (what I imagine is) modern Nigera. I know absolutely nothing about Nigera, so it was a little bit of a culture shock for me to read about this area, but it was also cool and enlightening. As Sunny discovers her Leopard (their word for magical people) abilities, we get to know more about that sub-world, which was also cool, if a bit…odd. The writing of this book feels middle grade, but there are so many situations the characters find themselves in that are beyond the maturity level of middle grade readers. Being touted as “the Nigerian Harry Potter” I feel like they missed the mark a touch. The first two Harry Potter novels, which I would consider to be lower YA/Middle Grade, did not have themes as dark as the later books. Akata Witch dove right in with the very dark themes. So much of this book is spent building the world and magic system that the plot seems mostly forgotten. At one point we learn that Sunny and her Leopard friends are supposed to take out a Leopard man who has been kidnapping and murdering children. Instead of, you know, training the kids to take on this task… they’re given little tasks that don’t really do a whole lot to train them. The book starts out with Sunny having a vision. And then that vision is pretty much forgotten throughout the whole book. It’s kind of a big deal, especially if it were to come true, but everyone just brushes it off. All of the adults/mentors/leaders in this book are pretty useless. They’re mostly mean and more often than not, NOT helpful to these 12/13 year old children. There’s also talk of Sunny’s mysterious (dead) grandmother. There’s very little talk of her throughout the story until the end. I feel like there was a missed opportunity, not making more use of her. I’d actually rather read her story than Sunny’s! Do I recommend this book? I don’t know… this book was just all over the place for me. I liked the idea, but I think the plot needed to be tightened. Unfortunately it’s a miss for me. If you want to explore a magical world / culture that is pretty unique, this might be worth reading for you.

WOW! Let me start off by saying that Akata Witch was unlike anything I’ve ever read. There were so many aspects of Akata Witch that I very much enjoyed, so let’s get into my review. LIKES: The setting. I’ve never read a book set in Nigeria, but Nnedi provided wonderful setting descriptions that allowed me to easily imagine Sunny’s surroundings. What I loved most were the places full of magic. The writing. Nnedi’s writing made Akata Witch a book I was unable to put down. The writing lent itself to the wonderful pacing that kept me interested in the story. What I found very special about Akata Witch was the magic you could feel through the writing. The strong friendship. Sunny, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha form a very strong team by the end of the book. Of course, they don’t start off that way. I was worried that when it came to the big showdown, one or a couple of the group would not give it their all, but I was glad to be mistaken. Through Akata Witch, you get to witness the journey that the group takes as they learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as learn more about themselves and what they bring to the group. I can’t wait to see how they further develop as individuals and as a group. DISLIKE: The big showdown. Okay, so Sunny and the group are asked to do something extremely dangerous. When it came down to the whole ordeal, I felt that it went by a bit too quickly. It was made into this huge thing throughout the story, and so I wished that there was more. You do feel a sense of urgency, which definitely works. I just wanted more of the awesomeness that was went on. And yes, it was AWESOME! Well, there it is! I can’t wait to read Akata Warrior (Akata Witch 2)! Akata Witch was such a great read and I fell in love with the characters! I’m excited to see more of the magic in the next novel. I'm also excited to check out more of Nnedi Okorafor’s other works because she totally blew me away with Akata Witch.

I actually put of starting "Akata Witch" for a few weeks because I just wasn't sure it would click with me. I initially requested it because of the cover and didn't know a whole lot about the story. However I couldn't have been more wrong. I fell in love with this book quickly and after the first 50 pages or so, had a hard time putting it down. Sunny is an young Albino girl living in Nigeria. She was originally born in Nigeria but lived many years in the States before returning and that, coupled with her differences, has led to her feeling as if she never fits it. In addition, Sunny loves playing soccer but due to her condition, can't formally play and is relegated to playing with her brothers after the sun goes down. Sunny's father is very critical of his daughter and she feels like she can never make anyone in her family happy. One day Sunny makes friends with a young boy in her class, Ohle. Through him, she is introduced to Chichi and together she learns that she holds some pretty unique powers. She starts sneaking away from home and studying with an Leopard People Elder - Anatov. Through these lessons she learns about her Leopard People heritage and the magic she can create. A second young boy, Sasha, who is sent to Nigeria from New York because his powers are getting in into some serious trouble soon joins the group and the fun begins. There is a serial killer on the lose and the four youth learn that it may be up to them and their unharnessed abilities to stop him before something happens and life as they know it ends. This book is truly beautiful. It was so interesting being introduced to the Nigerian culture of the Leopard people and the magic/power system Okorafor has created is unlike anything I've recently read. Sunny tries so hard to fit in but eventually learns that she can celebrate her uniqueness and be herself and still be liked by those around her. She makes a powerful transition as the story progresses and I think this middle grade novel would be a great read for any child struggling to find their place in the world. In addition, the four main characters develop such a wonderful bond that I couldn't help but be slightly reminded of the Harry Potter crew. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys middle grade tales or who has an interest in supernatural and mythical tales. The writing is well done and the book is fast paced so people who crave action won't be disappointed. I am already greatly anticipating the release of the second book in this series because I can't wait to spend some more time with Sunny and her friends.

I’ve been hearing about Akata Witch for a couple of years now and was excited to get a chance to read an eARC of it. On the surface, it appeared to have all the elements I look for in a fantasy. However, I had some reservations about approaching a book that had a substantial amount of hype. That being said, I really enjoyed Akata Witch. There was so much about the story that just clicked for me. So, I’ve seriously had to stop and wonder why I haven’t read any of Nnedi Okrafore’s novels before. Obviously, I’ve been missing out! The synopsis of this book promises magic, and it fully delivers on that and more. I’d like to just say that I liked this book and you should read it too, but that doesn’t explain why. I’ll start with the story. The story of this book moves at its own pace, and honestly, I didn’t mind because there were a lot of details to take in. There was magic, lots of it actually. That being said, Okrafore put such a fresh and imaginative spin on it that the premise of the story felt entirely new. In that way, I enjoyed the world building a lot and found Okrafore’s version of a magically inclined society interesting and unique. It’s probably one of my favorites thanks to how the characters interacted with each other and the places around them. There were so many cool elements to the story and setting, and I can’t talk about them for fear of accidently spoiling the story. Just know that they were cool. Before I end this review, I want to mention the characters. Let me just say that they were amazing, especially the main character, Sunny. From the start, I instantly loved how Okrafore portrayed her character. While the core of Akata Witch was arguably Sunny’s journey as she learned how to handle her abilities as a “free agent,” it was also about learning, teamwork, and friendship. The friendship between Sunny and her new friends was one of my favorite things about Akata Witch. At the end of the day, I’m really looking forward to reading more books by Nnedi Okrafore, especially Akata Warrior. Also, I’ve heard a lot of praise for her Binti series. So I’ll eventually read those books too. This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review.

Published July 11, 2017, by Speak Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is the first in her YA fantasy series where magic and culture collide. Originally published back in 2011, the novel is being republished to mark the announcement of a long-awaited sequel. This is such an incredible novel and I consider myself so lucky to have received a free copy from Penguin Books. This book takes a cultural standpoint to look at the world through the eyes of being different in a place where the differences isolate her. It follows Sunny who is an albino girl living in Nigeria with her family. Originally from America, Sunny stands out so much because of her skin condition. But her skin condition, her albinism, is exactly what makes her so special. It is truly unique, for me, to have read a book that follows a character with this condition. It’s remarkable because not only does it make Sunny stand out in the novel, it makes the novel stand out. There is magic in the novel, and not just real magic, but a magic that goes deeper, the magic of being unique and different. This novel capitalizes on differences, on the flaws that everyone has and how they should be respected. Flaws are not always flaws, they make people unique, they give people their courage and make them who they are. It’s so beautiful how Nnedi Okorafor uses that with Sunny to make the novel stand out. It also allows for character development as Sunny begins to find the strength in herself, in being herself, finding the inner strength within her to stand up and fight for what’s right. That right there makes the novel remarkable. But that’s not the only thing. The story, while cultural set in Nigeria, the plot, the magic, is culturally diverse. There’s so much that takes place in Nigeria, but it’s not exclusive to Nigerian culture. Okorafor makes this such an accessible novel by letting other cultures trickle in. What’s more is that they don’t overwhelm the Nigerian culture, they highlight it. The magic is dangerous, but within it there lies hope. And there is a claim that knowledge is power, that knowledge and learning is what makes a person strong, not wealth or physical power. Personally, I love that. It’s a teaching moment, the whole novel is a teaching moment with remarkable writing and powerfully storytelling. The characters are amazing, they all have their flaws, their gifts, their own unique personalities that all balance each other out so amazingly. The reader doesn’t really see how they all develop and grow, but in slivers through the eyes Sunny, there is a glimpse of change. There is magic on every page and a magic for those who are different. (????? | A)

I DID NOT WANT THIS BOOK TO END. And in fact, I savored it so much, I didn't quite get to the end before the timed reading period ended. However, I will just pick up a copy because it was that good. As a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin and Diane Wynne Jones, I knew when I read the blurb that I wanted and needed to read Akata Witch. Part fantasy, part mystery - it draws comparisons to Harry Potter and yet stands so firmly and beautifully on its own, you have to savor every word and immerse yourself in Sunny's story. Highly recommended! (And I'm off to pickup the book so I can finish the last chapters!)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor is a beautifully written story about a girl who finds her true self and the power she possesses. Sunny is an albino who recently moved from the United States to Nigeria with her parents and brothers. She does well in school and is a great soccer player but can't stay out long in the sun. Befriending a boy named Orlu and a girl named Chichi, she is thrust into a magical world she didn't know she was a part of. Sunny finds out that she is a Leopard person and that she can't tell the Lambs, non-magical people - including her family, what she is. Another boy, Sasha is sent from America to join their little group and they become a team to fight the evil that is threatening the children of Nigeria. I really liked this novel although it was a little slow going in the beginning. The magical world and the main characters were so interesting that I had to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. Definitely recommend to middle grade and young adults, but can be read by all.

Best book I have read this year. I was immersed in a culture I was unfamiliar with but wanted so much to learn about. The fantasy world was very believable and I just wanted to stay with the characters forever. I will definitely look for this author again.

Twelve-year-old Sunny's family moved from the United States to their native Nigeria when she was nine years old. Even though her family is originally from Nigeria, Sunny is always an outsider amongst her schoolmates. She's American by birth and albino, both traits that make her a target for bullies. When she has a terrifying vision of the end of the world, she discovers yet another quality that sets her apart from the rest of the community. She's a Leopard, a person with magical abilities. With the help of three new friends and a challenge to protect her community from a ritual killer, she will find out who she really is and the full extent of her capabilities. I adored Sunny! She's continually underestimated and "her path to anything seemed to always be difficult." Her father favors her brothers over her, possibly because she "wasn't the son he wanted or the pretty daughter he'd have accepted instead." She loves to play soccer, but her gender and sensitive skin prevent her from playing with the boys after school. I loved Sunny's intelligence and fortitude in the face of adversity. She knows that the limitations and stereotypes that others saddle her with say more about them than her. When Sunny discovers her abilities, she also finds out there's an entire part of her community that was previously invisible to her. Leopard Knocks is a rich, magical world rooted in Nigerian tradition and mythology. There are some of the typical elements that you'd expect of this genre, but there are also so many new things to discover. Spirit faces, vengeful insect specters, and the approval-seeking (and charming!) wasp artists were especially interesting to me. While power and material possessions are the most valued things in the non-magical world, knowledge is the most important resource of the Leopard People. They receive a financial reward for learning new skills. However, opportunities to accumulate power and wealth are always tempting and even Leopards can be corrupted. Both the magical and non-magical world can be dangerous and the children are not sheltered from the harsh realities of life. Sunny is aware of ritual sacrifices and people being sold into slavery. Her community is currently being terrorized by ritual killer Black Hat Otokoto, who is mutilating and murdering children. Sunny and her friends encounter life-threatening situations during their magical training. In the Nigerian Leopard community, punishments are "swift and painful," unlike the America Leopard community's "verbal and lawful" system. Of course, America has its own problems, which are discussed. Division and discord are a major part of Sunny's world. There are tensions between people of different tribes, nationalities, and abilities. The multitude of languages spoken leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings and alienation. The title reflects some of these conflicts. One classmate calls Sunny a "stupid pale-faced akata witch," mocking her for being an American and albino. "Akata" is a derogatory term that refers to black Americans and people with albinism are often assumed to have "magical evil powers." Even in the Leopard community, Sunny is a minority. Both of her parents are Lambs (non-magical people), making her a rare Free Agent. The best resource available to her kind is written from a place of prejudice. But for the most part, the things that make Sunny different are assets in this new part of her life. Sunny's new friends all have different backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses, but it's their differences that make them strong as a team.  In fact, some of the traits that are considered weaknesses to Lambs are a source of enhanced strength to the Leopards. Mature and humble Orlu keeps the team grounded. Chichi is quick in both speed and wit. Sasha is angry and impulsive. Sunny is jealous that everyone else seems to know who they are, but she will figure out her place as she gains more experience. The only part I didn't like was the rushed and anti-climatic ending. I was beginning to think the big confrontation I was expecting wouldn't happen. Perhaps the major arc in this story would just be Sunny finding out who she is, coming into her own, and learning to navigate her two worlds. The big fight did come eventually, but it was over in a few pages and the result came confusingly swift. I didn’t get the same satisfying thrill witnessing the kids fight the big bad as I did seeing Sunny kick butt on the soccer field. Of course, this is just the first book in the series and there's much more to come. Like many preteens, Sunny is trying to figure out her place in the world. She just has a few extra challenges on top of that, like trying to save the world from ultimate destruction! Will these magical novices be able to put their divergent abilities together and defeat a more powerful foe? I loved Sunny and the world of Leopard Knocks. I'm anxious to see what Sunny, Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha will be up to in the long awaited sequel Akata Warrior, available October 3, 2017. I'm glad it'll be a short wait!

Akata Witch was an amazing read. I had a very hard time putting this book down to go get other tasks done. It is a page turner from beginning to end and I can't wait to read further books from Nnedi Okorafor. The story was not what I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised to find that is was much better. I loved the culture of the story and how well the experience of living in the area the story takes place was portrayed. This is an amazing book that I would recommend to almost anyone. Well done!

"Akata Witch" by Nnedi Okorafor is a fascinating book. The book stars Sunny, an albino girl who was born in America and raised there until she was nine, then moved to her parents home of Nigeria to live. Sunny discovers shortly after moving to Africa that she is a "leopard person". That is what people of the Western African nations call someone with a gift for powers. A person of another culture might call themselves a Shaman, witch, or Sorcerer. She starts her training to be a leopard person and becomes friends with three other people in her class. The four of them begin the take down of the Black Hat Killer, a serial killer in there area. Though this is a Young Adult book, I would recommend it to anyone of any age. It is truly a wonderful book and I was enthralled the whole time reading it. Five stars. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from www.firsttoread.com. I also posted this to amazon.

Just not my cup of tea. I tried to like it but I just could not get into the book. It was just to slow for me.

Sunny, an Albino Nigerian, discovers that she has "latent magical powers" as a free agent and Leopard person. While training to understand all that being a free agent and Leopard person, she and her friends soon discover that they are the only chance to catch a Leopard person who has turned to murder in the quest to perform some very dark magic. It took me while to get into "Akata Witch", I think part of it was the fact that I was doing a lot of traveling and part of it was due to the fact that I felt the book was a little slow moving in the beginning. There was a lot of world building going on (which only makes sense because it is the beginning of the series), but I felt that the story kind of drug on a little for the first several chapters. Once the story picked up, I found myself enjoying it more. By the end of the book, I found myself really concerned with the welfare of the characters and even wanting to know more about who they are and where they come from. I hope there is a little more background on the rest of the characters in future books. My only major complaint is the fact that this book was published in 2011 and while the paperback version came out in July, 2017 this wasn't really an advance reader copy of a new title.

The main character is 12 so I recommend this more as a middle grade novel THAT ANYONE SHOULD READ! It was described as a Nigerian Harry Potter and while I see the parallels I don't quite agree. Let's just call it a magical story dealing with juju were a girl learns she has another identity buried inside herself. The main character, Sunny, loves to play soccer even though girls aren't typically allowed to play. She gets to break a few barriers in her new life and do things she had no idea she could do. Thank you to Penguin First to Read for providing a review copy.

This was very HarryPotter-ish in a Nigerian way. The book was well written & drew you in, I just didn't like all the similarities. Since I miss the HP books it was nice to see something with that sort of twist and I may consider reading her books in the future just to see if she moves in a different direction with the story line. Thanks First To Read!

Unfortunately, Akata Witch just wasn’t for me. It didn’t hold my interest, and I spent much of the book compulsively checking how many pages I had left and hoping that I was almost at the end. I’ve seen Akata Witch hailed as “the Nigerian Harry Potter,” but the book fails to live up to the hype. There are similarities between Akata Witch and the Harry Potter series – both star a preteen misfit who discovers they possess magical abilities and must be taught to wield that magic in order to fight an evil wizard – but Akata Witch lacks the richness and the “wow” factor that made me fall in love with Rowling’s novels. Okorafor’s book stars a 12-year-old albino girl named Sunny who doesn’t feel she belongs. She’s picked on at school, and at home she has to deal with annoying older brothers and a father who doesn’t appreciate her “otherness.” Everything changes, though, when she learns she is a Leopard Person, or someone who possesses magic juju. She also finds out that she's fated to be one fourth of a coven that's purportedly destined for a great purpose. Like Sunny, her fellow coven members are very young – the oldest is about 14 or 15 – but they do their best to train and make ready for their ultimate battle with an evil Leopard Person who's gone rogue. Much of the book focuses on the four coven members honing their juju, going to lessons and field trips, and teaching Sunny about the world of the Leopard People. As much as I love fantasy stories, this particular one didn’t resonate with me for some reason. I was incredibly bored and didn’t feel the sense of wonder, delight, or amazement I usually experience when I read fantasy. Part of my problem is that I wasn’t enamored of the plot or the characters, who were flat at best and annoying at worst. I had a tough time connecting with them, and I partially blame this on the third-person point of view. I can’t help but feel that the book would have had a lot more personality if the story had been filtered through Sunny’s first-person viewpoint. That said, there are a few interesting and creative bits of magic in the book now and then, like masquerades – spirits that enter the world through termite mounds; tungwas – balls of hair, flesh, and teeth that float around and explode at random; and wasp artists that build spectacular creations out of found household objects but are notoriously melodramatic if they feel their work isn't valued: “‘It’s a wasp artist,’ Orlu said. ‘They live for their art. If you want it to live for a long time, make sure you let it out like you’ve been doing, and show it that you appreciate its work.’ ‘I’d smash the thing,’ Sasha said. ‘My sister had one when she was small , and when she forgot to give it praise once, it got pissed and stung her. Its sting paralyzes you for ten minutes so that you can do nothing but watch it build its ‘final masterpiece’ and then keep watching as it dramatically dies. The damn things are psychotic.’” By far the most positive aspect of this book is that it opened my eyes to just how narrow my worldview is; it wasn’t until I read Akata Witch that I realized how rarely I read books that are set in a country and culture very different from my own. Growing up in the U.S., reading American books, and watching American movies and TV shows, my understanding of the world has been admittedly limited. I so infrequently venture outside of my comfort zone when it comes to books and other media that I was – stupidly – unprepared for Akata Witch’s descriptions of foods, expressions, residences, etc. that were so very unfamiliar to me. Sometimes this led to confusion (I still don’t understand what a “rapa” is, and what on Earth is a chewing stick?), but for the most part it was a humbling reminder that “my” way of life isn’t “the” way of life. This book showed me that there is so much I don’t know, and so much that I don’t even realize I don’t know. One thing that really struck me was the fact that there are so many people speaking so many different languages in many scenes of the book. There's no guarantee that everyone who needs to interact with one another in a given situation will speak the same language, which leads to a constant need for translation. This is viewed as the norm, as nothing out of the ordinary. It's a stark contrast to what I'm used to in the U.S., where some people can sadly be rude – and downright ugly – when they hear people speaking anything but English. There’s even a reference to this in the book, which is, again, quite humbling: “The toucan man scoffed. ‘They don’t teach them to understand others, they teach them to expect others to understand them,’ he said in English. He humphed and said, ‘Americans.’” Bottom line? Much as I enjoyed the cultural aspect of Akata Witch, I really struggled with staying invested in the story and characters. It just didn't hold my attention, and I can't say I'll be reading the sequel when it comes out later this year.

This book draws you in, and doesn't let go. Nnedi Okorafor seamlessly blended the mythologic world with the normal world. Her characters are well developed and relatable. I found it to be entertaining and fun. However, I did have a problem with the pacing. It seems like the story moves slow, and then all of a sudden we're at the climax without warning. Then it's over, and you feel cheated. I did like the book, and I am looking forward to Sunny's next adventure. Thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for giving me the opportunity to exprience this book.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Akata Witch through the Penguin First To Read program. It honestly wasn’t my first pick. I wanted Library of Fates, but all the copies were gone by the time I got there, so I took this one instead. I’m thankful that it worked out this way, because this book was unique and contained a memorable cast of characters. Sunny Nwazue is just a twelve-year-old girl struggling to live a normal life with her albino skin, until she discovers she is a Leopard Person able to do unusual magic and juju. Her life changes drastically, and she has to keep it a secret from her parents and brothers, while becoming a part of a coven and receiving training to hone her skills. Important things to mention: ~Sunny is American and West African. She spent a portion of her younger years in America before moving back to Nigeria. She doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere because she feels she is American and African, she feels like she doesn’t fit in with her family either because she is forced to play soccer at night due to her skin sensitivity. Also, her father favors her brothers and treats Sunny very harshly. ~This book is middle-grade, NOT young adult. There is very little romance, and none of it features the protagonist. Sunny and her friends go on a quest to catch a killer, and basically attend a magical school, there is a distinct magic system and a linear plot, so this book is very middle-grade, though I would say it has crossover potential. ~It’s a very dialogue heavy book, and this is one of the things that I think irritated me the most. I liked the story quite a bit, but most of it is told through dialogue and that’s not my favorite thing ever. It reads a bit stilted and immature at times, and I wish that had not been the case. Basically what I am saying is that it could have flowed better if there was more of a mix of dialogue and narrative. It also lacked transitions in places, and yeah this kind of stuff does pull me out of the narrative. Despite my criticisms, though, I really enjoyed Akata Witch because I liked Sunny, and I was invested in her quest to stop Black Hat Otokoto. I like reading books set in non-white countries, I am finding, because the last two books I’ve read have been set in Africa and I enjoyed them both. I also love books set in Asia. The mythology and magic system was well thought out, and I appreciate the depth that went into planning this. I just wish there was more time spent with Sunny learning to do actual magic. It reminds me of Harry Potter. Harry somehow has to save the world but he doesn’t seem like he’s that great of a wizard, honestly. When does he learn actual magic? And when he does, he kinda sucks at it. It’s sort of like this with Sunny. All of a sudden she knows how to do certain kinds of magic and I have no idea how she learned it. I just feel like it’s an important part of the journey of her character and I missed out on it. Akata Witch is a fast read, and it’s an enjoyable one if you are searching for a unique fantasy with depth and characters you can root for. I don’t recommend it if you mostly don’t enjoy middle grade because it reads younger than young adult, but if you know what to expect going into it, you will probably love it.

Yes, this is another "chosen kid" book, but the Nigerian setting and Okorafor skillful telling make it a refreshing take on the old trope (which long predates Harry Potter). My only complaint about Akata Witch is that the climax is too rushed, but I really enjoyed the rest of it and will definitely read the sequel.

I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't get into this book. What I managed to read was well and vividly written, I will give it that much. However, it was not my cup of tea in terms of capturing and holding my interest and attention.

Lovely! A bit slow to get into, and I thought there were pacing issues (especially at the end), but an amazingly original entry into the familiar "magical school" trope. I loved Sunny and her friends, and I loved that the magic was sourced from Nigerian culture.

Oh my goodness, this book. THIS BOOK! I loved every second of the coming of age tale. The mythologies that weaved through the plot hooked me, and I couldn't put it down! I was especially thankful to read a book written by a person of color about people of color. The book takes a hard look at issues of economic and other systemic models of oppression, which was another wonderful, meaty aspect of the plot. My one quibble is that this book seems situated in a weird place between YA and middle grade. The characters are young, but many of the themes feel better suited to a YA audience.

2 stars Plot: Akata Witch interested me with its first lines. A young albino girl that identified as American and African. A group of magical people, and a new setting. Sadly after that, my excitement fizzled into nothing. There was something about the writing that just didn't mesh with me. The dialogue served more to explain things than to make the characters feel real. In fact, I would say that most of the dialogue felt wooden and awkward. It felt like Harry Potter because immediately Okorafor divided the world into two categories: the Leopards and the Lambs. The Leopards were basically your wizards while the Lambs were muggles. Unlike Harry Potter, I never found my groove in this book and unfortunately ended up skimming about two-thirds of it. For all of my complaining, I did like the question of identity that this book addressed. It was also interesting to see Okorafor describe the relationship between black Americans and Africans. Also, I was under the impression that this novel was Young Adult, but the oldest character was 13. I'm still hesitant to categorize this as Middle Grade because some of the topics and conversations were very mature. Characters: Sunny was 12 years old throughout this book and I felt that her mental age ranged from 12 to about 17. For middle schoolers, they had some intense conversations about economic disparity and race. None of the characters really stood out to me. I wanted to root for Sunny, but she just faded into the background despite being the star of this show. This, again, was probably because I didn't like the writing style. It was a lot of "telling instead of showing" and it didn't help me understand anyone. Worldbuilding: The most interesting aspect of this book was undoubtedly the setting. I loved the Nigerian location and how the author wove in how systematic oppression had affected the people and continued to overshadow various cultures in the region. Short N Sweet: I wanted to love this magical Nigeria but couldn't connect with the writing style.

An exciting read! I was excited to learn more about Nigerian culture, and realized I knew next to nothing about African stories and cultures. This was a great way to change that and to meet some interesting characters as well! While I likely wouldn't have picked this one up, when I seen it listed as a First Reads title, I had to enter, and I'm so glad I got the chance to read this! So different from other books I read, but just as amazing!

This was my first Nnedi Okorafor book and it certainly won't be my last! I've heard a lot about the Binti trilogy and I didn't know Akata Witch was going to be middle grade. Well, it's perfect for any middle schooler who has already read Harry Potter! If they can handle HP, they can handle Akata Witch. I really enjoyed this book! I loved the culture and mysticism so much! I couldn't put it down and I'm looking forward to Akata Warrior.

A beautifully crafted stunning story. Sunny's struggles are heartfelt, deeply touching, and all too real. One minute she's discovering mystical powers, the next she's still that awkward pre-teen who gets bullied in school. I cheered for her all the way through and wanted to comfort her when things got rough. Okorafor does an excellent job of introducing the reader to Nigeria, and makes you want to learn more, especially if you're an American and your public school education ignored this country and its continent. Sunny's friends are superbly drawn, with true emotion and depth. It's easy to see how they become a unit bigger than the sum of its parts. I can't wait for the next one!

Great coming of age story with a unique cultural perspective, it felt more 'human' than many of it's ilk and I really came to believe in the random cast of characters. I've read one book by Nnedi before and now I think I should be checking out anything she crafts.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a wonderful coming-of-age story with great characters!

I enjoyed reading this light tale of a new magical team. These young Nigerian team of Leopard People charmingly involved me in their unique world as they carried me with them on their exciting adventure. I would recommend this book to any child enthralled with the Harry Potter series.

Akata Witch was a delightful book- a youngish YA fantasy with a distinctive, Nigerian voice. It was quick, simple and fun- exactly what a good YA should be, and yet so unique it wasn’t stale or formulaic as the genre can sometimes be.

I finished this book several days ago, but just couldn't put my thoughts into words. I enjoyed the book. It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked. Sunny and her friends made their way into my heart. I began to like them and root for them. As for the people who say it is similar to Harry Potter, I can totally see it. I am an avid Potter fan and the more I thought about the similarities, more I saw. All in all, though, I believe it was the differences from Potter that I really liked. I enjoyed learning about a new culture through Sunny and her friends. I liked that Sunny was an albino that couldn't go into the sun. Ironic, but it made her look at life differently from kids her own age. She dealt with bullying from both her fellow classmates and her father who never wanted a daughter, Despite that, Sunny is a strong person who learns to stand up for herself work with a team. In the end, I wanted to read this book because the blurb said it was like Harry Potter. It was. But, it also wasn't. I am so glad that the author was able to use a familiar trope and work some new magic with it. I loved that she wove African lore into the story and made the main character a girl who has to overcome numerous obstacles to become who she is meant to be. I am anxiously awaiting the next book about Sunny and her friends.

This weaving of mythology and coming of age tale was very enjoyable. There are some sections of writing where it was clear that this book's audience is younger; however, it was still very entertaining. As Sunny learns about her heritage and her abilities, the teasing of information is frustratingly slow at times, but the overall world that Okorafor paints is colorful and interesting. The first book sets a good foundation in the Leopard People's world, and it will be interesting to see what happens as the series progresses.

DNF at 60%. I tried to get through this book, mostly because I was given a copy through Penguin's First to Read program. However, when I get to the point where I'm pushing myself to keep going and considering skimming just to get to the end, I have to say, "I gave it a fair shot, the book's just not for me." As for why it didn't grab me... Maybe I'm not the audience for it and it's meant to hook MG and YA readers? Maybe I couldn't get into Sunny's emotions as someone diving into this unknown world? Or as an albino in an unfriendly world? Maybe I wanted more out of the world itself? Everything just felt... there. That said, there are two ideas that stood out to me from the book. One was the idea that knowledge gained and used were transfered into currency. I loved that part of the world and how it pushed people to keep learning and growing. The second was Sunny's first book about Free Agents being both the only book about free agents AND biased against them. It was a small part of the book, but it brought me back to college and having to tease information out of heavily biased historical documents. I wish there was more to grab me.

This story was rich with beautiful detail to accompany it's magical story line. I was immediately captivated by Sunny and the vivid wold Okorafor creates for her characters. I would recommend this book to any fan of fantasy, of world literature and of Nnedi Okorafor.

Nnedi Okarafor is a genius with imagery. Every page of this middle grade novel is full of color and scent and sensory images. I love that it reaches across borders while providing kick-ass young heroes of color. I understand the comparisons with Harry Potter, but this series is its own magical world, with roots in African culture and creations born of that influence, then nurtured by Okarafor's stunning imagination. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series.

I'd previously read Okorafor's Lagoon and was uncertain that this could stand up to it. While I recognized the light and inviting style, Akata Witch was a story of it's very own. I was instantly involved in this world, so similar yet dissimilar to our own. All of the main characters were sympathetic and relatable, despite the varied backgrounds and perspectives on life. And once I entered this world, I couldn't pull myself away. It's an engrossing and delightful read from beginning to end.

This is a spellbinding coming of age story. A story about friends growing up together. A story of people reaching across the divides of skin color and nationality. The mythology was fascinating, and the descriptions of Nigeria and the people who live there were enchanting.

From the very start, I was thoroughly engaged in this book and its characters, especially the main character, Sunny. This was set in a culture and country that I haven't read anything about before and I was enthralled by both the magical, juju aspect and also the day to day world they live in. It was very interesting to me that the juju world is accepted and acknowledged in the non-magical world. And this is not the next Harry Potter. It is its own thing - completely and utterly and beautifully. The storyline was thrilling and the only thing that stopped me from reading this inn one sitting was adulting!

Okay. Let's discuss the elephant in the room. Akata Witch has been nicknamed the African (Nigerian) Harry Potter. While there are some influences, overall this story respects the cultural magic realism hailing from Nigeria and other African countries. Hate to break this truth to some readers, but J.K. Rowling doesn't hold the copyright to magical realism in books, particularly when you see cultural aspects she nicked for her stories. But, we'll save that pot of tea for another discussion. As the blurb states, 12-year Sunny is a Nigerian-American, living in Nigeria with her parents after living in the U.S. for nine years. She's an outcast - an Akata or "wild animal" - not only because of her ethnicity and birth country, but because of her albinism. Deep down, she's a normal kid, enjoying soccer (football), getting good grades and suffering from school bullies. But, as she reaches deeper into her soul, there's a calling within her soul she cannot tag. She meets to fellow kids, Orlu and Chichi (another kid, Sasha, an African-American, joins the group) and they discover their souls are intertwined for greater roles some of they knew, but still couldn't imagine. They form a leopard coven (lambs equate to muggles, if you insist on following the HP world) and with training, find themselves battling an evil rogue using children and ritual killing to bring on a vicious spirit. Will she accept her gifted fate? Or, will she cower and decide being ordinary's not so bad? Nnedi Okorafor clearly writes with love as she showcases rich and varied Nigerian traditions within magical realism. I'm not Nigerian. In fact, I do not know where my African heritage descends (Another story for another day). Okorafor schools me on foods, language, and aspects of her culture better than any documentary. Furthermore, she paints the landscape strong. I see the dust, mud, and urbane landscapes with Leopard Knocks (Okay, her version of Diagon Alley. Give it a rest!). Yet, while the latter's fictional, those markets described in Akata Witch are real with a magical spin. Additional, each kid she created holds their own personality. None of them blur. They stand distinct (although Sasha worked a nerve or two for me). They are spirited and melancholic, joyous and angry. They realize the hardcore job ahead and all encompassing it. While rough in some areas (mainly, reading about the ritual killing and maiming), this story presents fantasy, a genre which I tend to shy from, in a palatable manner and I cannot wait to read the next book in her series, Akata Warrior. However, while I highly recommend this story, AW has one glitch: the ending. The battle's way too short for the amount of build-up presented. But, given Okorafor's series, my inpatient self will have to move on the next book. While fantasy's lack of diversity speaks volumes - I mean, you can create blue fairies but not people based on real folks - this is a story worthy of reading. Adapt this book into a movie...stat. Verdict: 4.5/5 Chittems (Read the book to get the reference)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor First in the Akata Witch series 4.5 stars "Lies are a thing of the physical world. They can't exist in the spirit world." Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born in America. She is both Nigerian and American. An outsider who belongs. Sunny is different from her family in more ways than one. She’s albino, but she has also seen the end of the world in the flame of a candle. She’s a free agent— a Leopard Person who is not from a family of Leopard People. She has no knowledge of the magic that flows within her or the spirit world that is both her friend and enemy. There’s a serial killer pillaging the streets and killing kids and it’s up to her and three new friends to stop him. This is unique. When I requested this novel, I hadn’t realized that Nnedi Okorafor was the author of Binti, a hugely popular scifi that has been sweeping the book world by storm. This is my first time reading Okorafor’s work and it will not be my last. The writing is beautiful and the storytelling is rich. Okorafor merges the world of Nigeria with the hidden world of Leopard Knocks seamlessly. The imagery is stunning and one of my favorite things about Akata Witch was the excerpts from the book about Free Agents. We learned about Leopard People as Sunny does and it puts the reader on equal footing with Sunny. It makes the story more intimate because the reader develops relationships and knowledge as the main protagonist does. It’s a wonderful, well-developed story full of magic, mischief, and innocence. Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.75 The main female character is Sunny. Sunny is a very young protagonist; she’s only twelve-years-old. She doesn’t know much about the world and her thoughts can feel a little silly, but it’s important to keep in mind that Sunny is experiencing a world that is unfamiliar to her. This is a world that children know about since birth if they are born into it and this world is also brutal. There’s a scene towards the end where Sunny and her friends attend a wrestling match that results in someone dying. It’s very brutal for a child to see this, but her teacher was teaching them a valuable lesson— a lesson that becomes important to their task of defeating Black Hat. I really enjoyed Sunny as a character and I guess I have developed a maternal affection for her. I want to see her succeed in learning about and navigating this new world, but I also want her to be safe. If this series follows Sunny throughout her teen years, I know she’ll grow into a badass woman. Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4.5 The other characters in Sunny’s friend group are integral to this story. Without her friends, Sunny wouldn’t know of her true self or be able to embrace who she really is. There’s ChiChi, Orlo, and Sasha. ChiChi is a wonderful character with a lot of spunk and heavy doses of snark. She’s fierce, but reckless. She’s very bright for her age (whatever that age may be), but she’s also too cocky. It puts her and others at danger, but this characterization makes ChiChi authentic and feel real. Orlo is Sunny’s classmate at the Lamb school (Lambs are outsiders who are not Leopard People, non-magic folk) and he comes to her aid after several fights. He has the unique talent of mending things that are undone and he’s reserved. Orlo calculates situations and doesn’t make rash decisions without thinking about them. He adheres to the rules of the Leopard People and doesn’t believe they should be pushed or broken. Sasha is from the United States and is outsider in Nigeria, but a Leopard Person through and through. He has a lot of power for being young, but he is reckless and has a vendetta against authority figures. He doesn’t respect those with power and believes that rules are meant to broken. He’s definitely rebellious, but he isn’t a bad person. He just makes a lot of foolish and bad decisions, but most young kids do. Together the four children have a strong bond and they are definite friendship goals. Anatov is their mentor and teacher. He’s wise and does a lot questionable things, but the lessons always outweigh the risks. Messing with juju is dangerous and it can lead to death; Anatov doesn’t let the kids forget it and leads them to many missions that can harm them. I also really enjoyed the balancing of Sunny’s family life with her new life. Her relationship with her mother, especially towards the end, takes a new shift and brought a smile upon my face. Character Scale: 5 The Villain- Black Hat is a serial killer who targets children. He takes limbs and seems to be practicing some type of ritual sacrifice. It is revealed later on that he has a role in the Leopard Knocks society and an even bigger part to the end of the world that Sunny has seen. Villain Scale: 4 My only problem, and it’s a bit of a big one, is the ending. The ending felt rushed and the big battle showdown wasn’t as climactic as the novel kept building it up to be. It felt a little too convenient and everything just worked out so well. That’s why I can’t give this novel a full 5 stars, but I’m really excited about the sequel to Akata Witch and I know that this will be a series I don’t want to miss. Plotastic Scale: 4.5 Cover Thoughts: This cover is fierce. It’s intense and I really like it. Although I must admit I love and prefer the hardcover because it captures Sunny’s innocence. This girl on the cover isn’t Sunny until the end of the novel. It feels a little too mature, but it’s still a well-done cover. Thank you, First to Read and Speak, for chance to read this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Akata Witch is being likened as the Nigerian Harry Potter. I am always skeptical when a book is compared to Harry Potter. I learned my lesson with The Bone Season. However, I think the description is apt for Akata Witch. Sunny Nwazue is a twelve year old girl who lives in Nigeria but was born in America. This makes her an "akata," a rude word for foreigner. To top it off, she is also albino. On her way home from school one day, Sunny meets ChiChi. ChiChi introduces Sunny to the secretive, eccentric world of the Leopard People. Leopard People are those who have and can manipulate juju. Sunny is delighted to find out she herself is a Leopard Person. Soon, Sunny and her friends are tasked with finding and stopping Black Hat Otokoto, a mysterious figure who has been killing local children recently. Others have tried to stop Black Hat Otokoto before Sunny and her gang, and none have lived to tell the tale. This is a tall task, one that Sunny and company may not be up to. To say I enjoyed Akata Witch is an understatement. So much of YA fantasy is generic nowadays. Everything seems to be cut from the same mold. But not Akata Witch. This book is unique, exciting, eccentric, delightful, entertaining. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. If you're tired of the same old, same old and crave something different, something new, pick up Akata Witch.

When I first began to read this book, I was unaware that this was for middle school children. It took me a little while to adjust at first, but once I realized who the target audience was, I had a better grasp of the story. I really liked the cultural elements that are infused into this story. The author does a great job of integrating them and explaining them in a graceful and sophisticated manner; nothing feels too simplified or "dumbed down". It was really cool to read about all of these rituals and customs that are practiced and upheld, and it was just a great introduction to the culture. The story itself is pretty much like Harry Potter. You've got your group of friends and they are against an evil foe and they practice magic and learn about their abilities and have to pass tests to move up in levels. I felt that the story and writing could have used some polishing. Too many things were conveniently placed and there were many abrupt and awkward transitions in the book. The characters could also have been a bit stronger. Overall, I can see how this novel would appeal to middle schoolers and I would recommend it to any child between the ages of 8-13 who likes Harry Potter-like fantasy novels.

This was a fun book, one that I can't wait for younger kids to read. For me, the reading level was a bit low and sometimes developments in the story felt a little *too* convenient, considering these kids were supposed to be fighting a powerful evil force. However, that's fairly common for a middle grade book, so I don't consider it a huge fault. Overall this was a fun book with incredibly world building and a diverse group of characters. It's exciting to see new books come out that aren't so Eurocentric and highlight the culture of African countries, like Nigeria. It's important that a book for younger kids addresses racism, class, and sexism, and this book does all that.

Before I first started Akata Witch, I wasn't sure what to expect. A few chapters in and I was in love with the setting and the magical system. I really enjoyed this book except for the fact that the character's ages didn't quite make sense for me. Given how complicated and intricate the world-building was, it seemed odd to have characters who were so young. It felt as if the book was aimed at two separate audiences at some points. Additionally, there were some themes that could have been developed more if the main characters had been older. This book did contain some fantastic world-building and wonderful mythology. I think this is a wonderful middle grade read, although parts of it may seem a tad young for older readers.

We've all read this story. It's an old standard that's possibly been around, in one form or another, for millennia: A young person (in our case a girl, Sunny Nwazue,) an outsider bullied by her family and peers, discovers that she has within her a talent, a power, and with her few friends goes on to save the world from a horrible villain. What makes this story worth reading is the atypical setting, the atypical style of magic, and the atypically excellent skill of the author to present a character that one cares for within a world that some people today might believe actually exists! The story is set in Nigeria, where some people do have a belief in Voodoo, so when Sunny, an emigrant from the United States, starts to display a talent for juju and becomes identified as a “Leopard Person” (an actual cult in Nigeria,) the boundary between reality and fantasy becomes quite blurry for the reader. Is the author, Nnedi Okorafor, describing a fantasy world of her own creation or is she describing, or at least mixing in, elements of the Voodoo beliefs and juju practices that play a part in the lives of some present day Nigerians? Whatever the answer, Akata Witch takes full advantage of the mystique and the ambivalence. As Nnedi's world slides between reality and fantasy, so does her protagonist, Sunny. She is interstitial, someone between, sliding from a 21st century reality of school bullies and a father who beats her to a way of dealing with the world through magic; from a material realm to a spiritual realm; from an American girl with Nigerian parents to a Nigerian emigre, not completely accepted. She is a black girl who is an albino. She is someone who exists between realities but partakes in all. Although the story is directly aimed at the middle school / young adult market, any adult with an interest in a fascinating take on a very ethnically-based fantasy would enjoy it. I certainly did! My only complaint about the story and the reason I'm giving it four stars rather than five is the way the climax was handled. I felt that the particular nature of Sunny's ability at that crucial juncture required more extensive foreshadowing, as it had a distinct deus ex machina flavor without that elaboration. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this story, and I'm so glad that more books about people of color, especially young, black books are being published. I read straight through, and wished that there was a book like this while I was in middle school, so I could get into Igbo (and other West African) mythologies then, instead of just being interested in European mythologies. Really amazing, and I'm going to read the sequel. Though, I did have one problem. I had trouble reconciling Sunny's age (well all the Oha coven's ages) for some reason?

This was a book I had trouble putting down! I quickly got pulled into Sunny's story and those of the people around her. It was nice to see a different cultural view of magic, as well. Overall, a very good read.

I love the story or friendship and magic coming for a totally different view/culture. Think of the Harry Potter version of Africa! I am far from being middle grade but I still really enjoyed the story. It wasn't overwhelming to intake the world building (and that's coming from someone with very little cultural background of Africa's beliefs/folklore/etc). I can assume the characters will get older as the series progress like the Harry Potter series. I actually can't wait for the next book! Also I applaud the author for staying true to her roots and respectful while not shying away from what others may feel as sensitive topics (physical abuse/discipline, death, kidnapping, racism, sexism, humanity's greed and etc).

The imaginative tale of a young girl in Nigeria discovering her true magical heritage is an excellent read for any age. Sunny was born in America of Nigerian parents and they move back when she's 9. She's also an albino, so she's doubly separate from the world. The theme of duality plays a continuous role in the background, especially when Sunny is forced to lead a double life as a result of her discovering her "Leopard" (magical) status. Along the way to a fantastic magical confrontation, she makes friends, finds herself, and discovers that there's more to the world than she ever thought possible.

Oh my gosh! This book was so good! I hated putting it down! The characters, the story, wondering what was going to happen next. I absolutely loved it! Can't wait to read the 2nd one! Highly recommend!

This middle grade/YA fantasy is steeped in the myth and magic of Nigeria. It takes you on a fantastic journey to the country of Nigeria and introuduces to the mystery of JuJu through the eyes of sunny almost like a african virgin of Harry Potter in ways. You have a character who knows nothing of the Leopord People but knows she has a grandmother who was thought of as odd. Her mother trys to shield her but just like Harry the juju finds her and she is drawn into this world. Their evil character that needs to be taken down just like Voldermort and Sunny ends up being this savior to do just that. I loved learning more about Nigeria through this characters eyes and i think this will be a great hit.

I thought this was a really riveting book. Full of magic and mystery and friendship and personal growth and strength it definitely had me reading late into the night to finish the book. I would say it's more for the younger crowd as the main characters are mostly 12 or 13 but still a really great fun book.

Love love loved this book. It was one of those books where I wanted to know how the story ended while at the same time not wanting the story to end. I found Sunny and her friends great complements of each other. They all had their distinct personalities, strengths and ways about themselves but those traits brought out the best (and sometimes the worse) in the others. The struggle for Sunny to find her place in the world is something that I could definitely relate to and the fact that she is a girl in a male dominated society adds another layer of complexity as well as the fact that she is an albino girl. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the next installment.

This book was really interesting. It was a bit hard for me to get into at first because I don't usually read stories with such young characters. This made it a bit more difficult to connect with them. That being said, the fact that this story was set in Nigeria was fascinating. I don't think I've ever read a story set there before, and the author's writing really made the world of this book come alive. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a unique, refreshing read.

Loved it! Not sure why I didn't pick it up sooner, it's absolutely wonderful! I really enjoyed the cultural details and mythology of Nigeria as well as how the author used physical abnormalities and learning disorders such as albinoism, scoliosis, and dyslexia as an indicator of strong ?magical abilities. I also thought the characters were well developed and relatable. My only issue was with the climax. There was such a strong buildup for an ultimately underwhelming ending. Overall, I found it to be a wonderful story that fans of Harry Potter will likely enjoy. I can't wait to read Akata Warrior to see what happens next! *Thanks to First to Read for the arc!*

I received an advanced copy of this book and this is my honest review: This was such a great book. 4 Stars and all the Copper Chittim for the author. Before I go any further some housekeeping: Reading age : Appropriate for 10+ years old. I would give 9 years-old me this book to read and it would be a blast! Cliffhanger : Nope! But anticipating the sequel. So much potential. *ZEE* QUOTE : "There are no Lamb cultures where people do not strive for this inferior thing called perfection" Favourite part: The"Fast Facts for Free Agents"! SO. MUCH. INTERNALIZATION. This book is billed the Nigerian Harry Potter but I disagree. It reminds me more of Laini Taylor's "Daughter of smoke and bone" trilogy. Indeed, while "Akata witch" can be viewed as a wizardely coming of age tale set in ~~~exoctic~~~ Nigeria, it is much deeper than that and more layered than HP could ever be. Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha are much more relatable and realistic characters. The Author masterfully weaves in the difficult dynamics of Culture and Subcultures and how they intersect and clash sometimes depending on which side of the fence one is. It begs the question of what is the Self in regards of the (African/North American) Diaspora. The author adress the infamous Diaspora wars ["Akata Witch" OMG she went there] with great humour, a spoonful of tenderness and a pinch of cynisism. Nnedi Okorafor also gives its dues to the splendid plurality of the Cultures of the African continent and of the Diaspora. But the thing that I would applaud the most is that none of that stuff jumps right in your face. If you know nothing about Diaspora wars, all you'll see is a world divided in 2. On one side you have the regular folks, The Lambs, and the Magically Gifted Leopard People on the other. There is no Manichean divide; there is good and bad within both factions. In the Mist of it all stands one young imperfect girl, which is neither here or there, navigating her way through the world with the help of her friends. She will learn that "We embrace those things that make us unique or odd. For only in these things can we locate and then develop our most individual selves". Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha will learn that "There are more valuable things in life than safety and comfort. Learn. You owe it to yourself". I will end my rambling now, but Yes I will recommend this book to any teen I know, because this book is magical yet real. It’s intriguing yet familiar. And the lessons to be learned while pretty standard are always a good refresher. 4/5 because of some pacing issues. Thank you so much to First to read for providing me with a copy!

“Prejudice begets prejudice, you see. Knowledge does not always evolve into wisdom.” Thank you to First to Read Program by Penguin for giving me the opportunity to read this book, which got me too excited once I found out it was about a Nigerian character, which was something I've always wanted to read about. From the first chapter I knew I'd connect with the main character, Sunny, the story begins with sunny being teased by her colleagues and I know that feeling all too well, as well as the fact that she writes and I love to write. Sunny then makes 3 friends: Orlu, Chichi, Sasha and she introduces them to her magical world. We go together with Sunny on a journey of discovery, where she's discovering her powers and how the world truly is. This boo “We embrace those things that make us unique or odd. For only in these things can we locate and then develop our most individual abilities.” Nnedi's writing is just amazing and engaging, making the entire experience better. This was my first book from her and I can’t wait to read more, I wasn't sure what to expect jumping into it, but I'm glad I got the opportunity to read this amazing work, and recommend it to all of you, I do have to say that it has been compared to other books, including Harry Potter, but the only similarities I can account for is the whole fighting against an evil persona, in this case Black Hat Otokoto, who is stealing and killing children, often removing their eyes in the process, but we should be used to the fact that a group of friends is mastering skills to stop an evil source, it has happened in more books than Harry Potter, take Lord of The Rings as another example, this shouldn't stop you from reading this book, it should only spike your interest on it “There will be danger; some of you may not live to complete your lessons. It's a risk you take. This world is bigger than you and it will go on, regardless.”

Finding your place in the world can be a challenge, but when you're an albino in Nigeria struggling to fit in with the other kids, that task can be even more challenging. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor follows the discovery of unique power for its protagonist that helps her fit in with an unforeseen group of people. Twelve year old Sunny has been different all her life as an American living in Nigera with African roots and features, but she's also albino. Her friend and classmate Orlu introduces Sunny to free-spirited Chichi, who introduces a whole new world of opportunities to Sunny through revealing the magical potential she has. In learning about and developing her abilities, Sunny becomes one quarter of a magical group of students who are tasked with helping defend their community from an evil magical threat. The writing style is engrossing, driving readers forward to find out what happens next to this quartet of magic students. The narrative took a while to develop, establishing details about the magical abilities and rules of the world, and then the ending came rushing forward rather abruptly, which was quite jarring, although the overall story definitely leaves the reader wanting more in this world with these characters. While tales of students discovering their magical abilities and fighting a bad guy are relatively common, it was a nice reprieve for this story to take place in Nigeria, which offers a fantastic new outlook on the world and magic from a different cultural background. Overall, I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.


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