Audio Book Review: The Book Of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, Narrated by Robin Miles

Book: The Book Of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor, Narrated by Robin Miles

Published September 2015 by Audible Studios|Length: 8 hours, 50 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: Who Fears Death #0.1

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Dystopia

A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell….

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman” – only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading ebooks, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7. Then one evening Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life.

Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape. But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future. 

I really liked The Book Of Phoenix!  Nnedi Okorafor always writes really interesting books, and this one was no exception.

This one is a prequel to Who Fears Death, and I kind of wish I had re-read that one first, just to get back into this world.  Also, I couldn’t begin to tell you how the two books are connected, but maybe I’ll re-read Who Fears Death just to see.

I did like Phoenix, and I thought it was horrible what people were doing to the biologically altered.  I do remember wondering how we got to the future we saw in Who Fears Death, and I am thinking that maybe everything we see in this book is what leads to that future.  I could be wrong, and I really am wishing I had re-read Who Fears Death.  But that is what I get for randomly deciding to read a book without re-reading any of the other books in that series.

That being said, I thought the book stood on its own really well, and I don’t think the order in which you read the books matters.  Also, you could probably read just this one, and be fine.  It is its own story, and I liked seeing Phoenix try to take down the towers and fight back against her controllers.

The Book Of Phoenix worked really well as an audio book.  It’s an oral history, told by Phoenix herself, and I felt like Phoenix was telling me her own story, which really worked.  Also, it’s narrated by Robin Miles, who is a fantastic narrator.  I’ve really liked the books I’ve listened to that have been narrated by her, and this one was no exception.  I’m really glad I went with the audio, and I wholeheartedly recommend the audio book.

4 stars.  I wish I had more to say about this book, but I don’t.  I really liked it, and I love how Okorafor blends fantasy and sci-fi.

Book Review: Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Wild Seed CoverBook: Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Published July 1980 by Doubleday Books|245 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Patternmaster #1

Genre: Adult Sci-Fi

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Doro is an entity who changes bodies like clothes, killing his hosts by reflex — or design. He fears no one until he meets Anyanwu. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter who can absorb bullets and heal with a kiss and savage anyone who threatens her. She fears no one until she meets Doro. Together they weave a pattern of destiny unimaginable to mortals.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

After reading Fledging last year, I figured it was time to read another book by Butler.  This was a really good choice, because I ended up really liking it!

I wasn’t sure about it at first, but eventually it won me over.  I think what really stood out was slavery and freedom, especially with how different Doro and Anyanwu are.  And with how they deal with their immortality and abilities…I felt really immersed in their world and what they (but particularly Anyanwu) were going through.  You see so many different issues, like race and sexuality, in Wild Seed through Doro and Anyanwu, and I really liked that about the book, because it somehow made the book more accessible and interesting to think about.  Especially since it’s sort of sci-fi but also sort of fantasy and sort of historical fiction.

The relationship between Doro and Anyanwu also really stands out to me.  They have a really uneasy relationship, and they definitely struggle for control.  Not only that, but their relationship is always changing, and with the span of time we see in the book, we see that highlighted really well.  Their lives are very much entwined.

I am curious about how they both got their abilities and discovered it in others.  It’s very much a normal part of life for them, even though those around them might not see them that way.  They may be seen as different by others, but their abilities don’t seem to be the main reason why in some cases.

Wild Seed is a really hard book to pin down because it’s not just one thing- it’s a mix of genres and touches on so many different things that I’m not even sure what to talk about next.  This is only the 2nd book I’ve read by Butler but I think it’s a great one to read if you’re new to her work.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

4 stars.  I really liked the relationship between Doro and Anyanwu and how much they contrast each other.