Audiobook Review: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

21 01 2011

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Read by Anne Flosnik

Brilliance Audio

I usually know my breadbasket and tend to stick to it. I’m a 30something white American male, and I tend to like 30 something white American male stuff. I like football, pizza and attractive women, the basic guy staples. This applies to my reading materials. I like tough guy mysteries and crusading lawyers. I like alien invasions and zombie plagues. I like military sci-fi with tons of explosions and gratuitous sex. Heck, every once in a while I even enjoy reading about the young orphan boy who discovers only he can defeat the dark lord. Yet, sometimes I feel the need to take a risk. I try a romantic time traveling book, or maybe something the dude Pulitzer recommends. Often times, it just doesn’t take, yet sometimes, not all that often, but sometimes, I get walloped with one of the more amazing reading/listening experiences of my life.

I knew Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor was going to be a risk when I plopped out my audible credit on the cyber counter. I mean how many 30ish white guys tend to read Dystopian African Fantasy novels. Honestly, I am not all that familiar with many Dystopian African Fantasies to begin with, but I doubt I was high on the list of the intended market for this book. But heck, it came with recommendations from the likes of Patrick Rothfuss, and David Anthony Durham, so I took a shot.

Simply put, Who Fears Death is a brilliant, beautiful and often times brutal novel. It is truly a magnificent journey not just through the ravaged African landscape, but also through the souls of the people who inhabited it. Okorafor takes on many topical subjects, like the roles of women in society, genocide, racial hatred and religious cruelty. Yet, she is not hitting you with a stick (though you often feel sucker punched) but, letting you embrace the characters that live in a world dealing with these issues. The main character Onyesonwu, a child of rape and a racial outcast, is at times inspirational and utterly frustrating and through her eyes you see the world. You see the prejudices and poetry of the people surrounding her. Her power as a sorceress makes you both fear her, and fear for her. This is what makes Who Fear Death the stellar novel it is.

At first, I was unsure of Anne Flosnik’s narration. Some narrators tend to over act when it comes to fantasy, and in the beginning it seemed her breathy accented performance was just that. Yet, about two hours into the novel, both she and I seemed to settle into the tale. As events moved on, Flosnik’s performance took on a sort of poetry of her own. The combination of the amazing story and the solid narration makes this one of the most startlingly beautiful audiobooks I have listened to in a long while.

Grade: A

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3 responses

1 02 2011
January in Review « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okafor […]

31 10 2011
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn

Really nice review of a great audiobook.

15 12 2011
My Top 20 Audiobooks of 2011 « The Guilded Earlobe

[…] Mention #1: Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor Read by Anne […]

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