Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Reviewed by Ginny!
What I drank prior: Happy Hour tonight! Met up with some friends caught up on our lives, drank some white wine, and then went home and had another glass of white wine. It was surprisingly warm and I fely like celebrating.
When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.
Told from multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.
‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’
Drunk Overview: okie doke. Basic plot: sonic boom near Lagos, three main different perspectices (with a few additional perspectives) view a meteorite hit the earth and then 3 people are dragged into the ocean to meet with it. The aliens are changing creatires to what they want and then try to find a way to introduce themself to humanity. It goes aboit what you would expect
Spoiler-free Thoughts: im gonna admit I was a little so so on this book for a fairly large portion of th book. I read Binti and enjoyed it and was looking to read mote of Okorafor’s work. The pidgin English could be hard to understand. Im an English speaker who has always struggled to learn other languages, and there were just enough differences in the way things were spoken that it disrupted my flow of reading (Sam’s Sober Editor’s Note: kinda like reading a drunk review’s typos??). That being said, totally worth it. This book super sucked me in for the last third.
Characters: the characters are fairly diffetent than what Im used to. This book is set in Africa so the cultural differences are intense (i.e. religion is a bit more intense than in my worldview, internet schemes are shown feom the opposite side, and frankly the society I live in is just different) but the three main characters are incredibly well built and work well together. I think the weakest characters were from the story line I didnt particular care for or think was necessary for the plot outside of helping build the world (surprise that that would be the case) the aliens were a delight and Ill be honest. Id love a book that details where they came from and functioned.
Plot: there were portions that seemed disjointed. The teenager plotline seemed relatively unimportant to me. The acknowl3gment that the gods of Nigeria as well as various other things were alive felt a little overlooked. The plot itself didnt feel super tight now that I thibk about it. While some of the (I just realized I have something to say about the writing style!)… Ill just say that there was a surprising amount of movement here and there for partivular characters and elements I wish would have been introduced sooner.
Writing Style: wow this is weird. I have something to say. There were portions ofnthis book that felt a little like writing exercizes. Some of them really worked (theres this section that was first person accounts of humans watching gods and the aliens interact which was GREAT!) and then some things that didn’t. Parts of this book felt like a novella that had been adapted into a book. There were a few plotlines that could have been removed entirely and the book wiuld have functionally been the same. I really enjoyed some of the morenunique perspectives as well.
World building: great! The world felt so real to me (even as I wondered about the ease of people rioting). That is one of the things about the Pidgin English. I may have found it a bit disorienting (which may have been the whole point, or I could just be reading into it trying to make it about me) but it definitely helped set up the world. The glimpses and details about the various neighborhoods and the people that lived there made Lagos breathe. N.K. Jemisin wrote How Long Til Black Future Month and one of the short stories was about the birth of a city. And thats how I felt about this. Lagos breathed amd lived in this book. You could tell how much time and emotion was tied into writing about it!
What to pair it with: google is not being forthcoming on applicable Nigerian drinks so Im going to say a Margarita. You have the salt for the sea, a kick for the plot, and it reminds me of the random dude in jurrasic World who in the midst of a dino attack grabs his two Margs and runs. You know. Becaise of the riots in this book.
Rating: 3.5/5 Shots