Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. ★★★
This YA science fiction novella and I didn’t hit it off, even though it has some interesting ideas within it.
Binti is the first of the Himba, a scientifically and mathematically gifted but inward focused people, to be accepted into Oomza University, a galactic center of learning. She runs away from her family to join the stars, and along the way, the spacecraft she’s on is attacked by an alien race.
I’ve considered a lot of different reasons why this novella may not have worked for me. Possibly it was the length. I feel like Binti would have been better suited compressed into a short story or expanded into a novel. It also felt repetitive in places and a tad simplistic.
Another problem was that Binti’s most significant choice in the novella – her decision to leave her entire family to go to university – was seen mostly in flashbacks at the beginning of the book. Sure, other stuff happened on the spacecraft, but it was mostly the result of Binti being the right person in the right place and less of her making any actual decisions.
On the bright side, the prose was good. There were a lot of world building ideas that were interesting, such as the organic space ships. I liked Binti’s facilities with math.
I wouldn’t say the novella’s bad as such. It just doesn’t mange to be any better than “okay,” and as such I probably won’t be recommending it.