"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Review: Akata Witch


Every summer I download free audiobooks from Sync: Audiobooks for Teens. It is a wonderful resource to get great literature into the ears of teens. I've been participating for several years yet I rarely find myself listening to the books. That all changed last week when I cued up the audiobook for Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorofor. I was delighted and enraptured with the whole listening experience.

Summary: Sunny is a twelve-year-old girl living with her family in Nigeria but she was born in the USA. She has African features but she is an albino. Her skin looks like the color of sour milk and her eyes are light hazel as though the palette ran out of color before it was finished coloring them. She is a terrific athlete but can only play soccer after the sun sets, her skin is so sensitive to sunlight. It is an awkward age for everyone but doubly so for Sunny since she is different from everyone at her school. One day a bully decides to beat her up after school. Another classmate, Orlu, helps defend her and walks home with her. He introduces her to another friend, Chichi. Soon the three are hanging out together after school. Chichi challenges Sunny to take a "test". The results show that Sunny is a free agent, which means she is magical without having any magical parents. Soon another boy joins the group of friends, Sasha, and four start taking lessons from Anatov, the first Leopard Person that Sunny has ever met. Though she often doesn't know what is going on, Sunny is caught up in her new reality.

Review: I kept thinking of the Harry Potter books as I listened. So I wasn't surprised when I found a reference to Akata Witch being the "Nigerian Harry Potter." At one point I found myself ticking off a list of similarities between the two stories. Here is a partial list of things I noticed:
Harry Potter series
Akata Witch (also a series)
Harry doesn’t know he is magical
Sunny doesn’t know she is magical
Hogwarts with magical teachers
Leopard People school with Anatov
Harry, Hermione, Ron---magical friends
Sunny, Orlu, Chichi, Sasha---magical friends
Harry good at quidditch even though he has never played before
Sunny good at soccer even though she has only ever played with her brothers in the dark
Dark magic, dark arts, death eaters
Levels of magical practice. Magic can be used for evil purposes.
Harry and friends fight Voldemort even though they are kids. They do what adults can’t.
Sunny and friends have to fight off Black Hat, an evil Leopard man
Wands that pick the person
Knives that pick the person
Hogsmead
Similar town only frequented by Leopard People


Now don't get me wrong. I loved Harry Potter books and I am so into this book I must find and read the second book in this series. Because they are similar endeared the book to me. I also loved the African setting and cultural references.  I found this great Akata Witch website for all kinds of information about the books and the author, setting, characters, etc. I really enjoyed the audiobook, too. It was read by Yetide Badaki, a Nigerian-born American actress. I absolutely loved her Nigerian accent. It made the whole story more authentic. Can you tell that I loved this book? Check it out yourself!


4 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of this book or series, but it sounds really fun and uplifting.

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  2. I feel the same way about Sync. I’ve only read a couple, and most of those were in the first few years. I haven’t been excited about the selections lately. Glad to hear this is a good one.

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    1. Over the years I have listened to three or four of the selections from Sync and I I've liked them all. My problem is that most of them aren't on my TBR reading list so I don't feel compelled to listen. I enjoyed the Canterville Ghost earlier this fall. If you have that one downloaded, give it a try.

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  3. I love HP too, but have too much to read right now. I need to remember it for later though.

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