Binti was last year's most triumphant novella, it has been awarded with the Hugo and the Nebula. The plot is starred by an intelligent young woman who is part of a very peculiar ethnic minority, the Himba, and who dares to contradict all the traditions of her tribe, as well as the prejudices of the rest of habitants of the Earth, to embark on a journey between the stars to the most prestigious university in the galaxy.
Although the universe created by Okorafor aroused my interest, my final assessment of the novel was not very good, I was left with the feeling that the key situations in the story were decided by a cluster of coincidences. Too many casualities and things that are not explained.
However, I was interested in how Nnedi Okorafor would continue the story, so today I present the second part, Binti: Home.
I've heard a lot of times that sequels are usually worse than the first part of a saga. Fortunately this is often wrong, and the novel I present today is a clear example of it.
This second part has totally convinced me. Several of the aspects that are not explained in the first one are clarified here, and, although new questions are opened, the various threads of history are better stranded. The plot is deeper and more attractive, a very interesting mix of tradition and ancient rituals with speculative science fiction.
LOOK OUT: From here, some spoilers of the first novel.
After a year at the University of Oomza, Binti and her friend Okwu, a Meduse, travel to Earth. Although at the beginning it explains some things about the functioning of the university, it is one of the aspects that causes me more curiosity of the universe that Okorafor has created, and I have been left wanting more. Binti must overcome the aftermath of her traumatic experience on the previous voyage, and she has many doubts about how her tribe will react to her new appearance, with the Meduse tentacles instead of her braided hair. The story will tell us the meeting of Binti with her numerous family, in a tense situation created by the presence of a Meduse on Earth, many years after the war that faced this species with ours.
I think Binti's story is about changes (at a physical level, but also mental and spiritual) and how to adapt to them, and is packed with many details and mysteries. The mixture of science fiction and tradition as a backdrop has just given an extra point to a story with a lot of interest, fully recommended.
The main drawback of the novel is its ending, a HUGE cliffhanger that I recognize has caught me by surprise. Well, that implies that there will surely be a third story of Binti. Here it will have an intrigued reader.