Who Fears Death?

Who Fears Death, like so many of my newer sci-fi or fantasy novels, came to me via Boing Boing. It almost pains me to admit it, but I kept pushing it back on my to-read pile for the same reasons it turned out to be fantastic: I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy or relate to an African-centric light fantasy/sci-fi novel. It turns out the answer is a lot, to both.

Despite being clearly written for Western audiences, it does very little to Westernize the characters or culture. Topically, the story doesn’t pull any punches, dealing with everything from brutal racism to female genital mutilation to weaponized rape. There were parts that were physically uncomfortable for me to read, and that’s fantastic. The characters are complex and believable, and very little is depicted as stark black or white.

We need more books like this.

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