Unearthing and Mastering Magic

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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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