Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a story about a girl called Binti who’s leaving her home, running away, for the first time to attend a prestigious university where she is the first of her kind to be accepted. Her people seem to be “primitive” and controlling with separate rules for girls and beliefs that prevent their progress. (I use the word primitive here because while this may be normal now I assume this is centuries into the future and I would like to hope that there aren’t rules just for women to base their marriageability on by that time.) Not to mention her people are viewed as savages by the Khoush inhabiting the place she’s going to.
I didn’t really feel like this warranted the hype it got. Everywhere I turned people kept recommending this book to me telling me it’s the epitome of diverse scifi and that I have to read it else I’m a bad book lover (kidding) but I just don’t understand what the big deal is. This would have been better as a five hundred page epic than as a tiny novella. The writing was dry and impersonal and felt like it had been compromised in the interest of keeping things short. I didn’t feel like I’d had an adventure nor did I care what the Meduse did to Binti or anyone else.
STORY & CHARACTER
This wasn’t anything great either. Like I mentioned earlier, the story was kinda cute. It wasn’t anything so fabulous that you have to rush out and buy this immediately. Yes it would have been a great story if it had been long and detailed with some world building and character building. It actually felt more like mini scifi for children or Scifi in shots. As for the character Binti there was so much potential. I probably will read another book about her if one ever gets written and isn’t a novella but, for this book, it was like a sneak peek and I don’t understand why she makes a great character.
To conclude, read this book with zero expectations and you’ll enjoy it. The high expectations ruined it for me and I blame that more than anything else. I’m just glad I found a copy to borrow instead of paying a chunk to import it here. I’ll probably read something else from the author but only if it’s long and detailed. Novellas are so not my thing.
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 gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.