Review: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

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Publisher:Hodder & Stoughton
Publishing Date: April 2014
ISBN: 9781444762754
Genre: SciFi/Fantasy
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Publisher Description: 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. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

At its heart a story about humanity at the crossroads between the past, present, and future, Lagoon touches on political and philosophical issues in the rich tradition of the very best science fiction, and ultimately asks us to consider the things that bind us together – and the things that make us human.

Review: The cover is pretty good. Should have left out the city scape. though.

Loved the overall story-line. The transformative process of the internal and external. The parallel religious message of Jesus/Ayodele self-sacrifice, healing and subsequent resurrection is purveyed in the scifi genre of otherworld alien beings that have landed in a Nigerian Lagoon. She has disciples Agu, Adaora and Anthony that have been given special powers.

The thinking, transformed denizens of the deep was really creative. Where this novel falls flat is not the writing but the pages of interactive detail that really takes you nowhere near the story-line. Just sub-groups of people with their own machinating designs. I suppose this could be construed as commentary of the mass-mind where negativity develops for want of a collective identity. i.e. people suck or more accurately peoples minds suck. The author paints a really good message of “forgive them , they know not what they do” but that message, and others, gets bogged down by the tedium of pointless detail. Her message of the “mind” is embodied in Bishop Oke who takes from the poor for his own personal aggrandizement. It is an old message that many authors use as a tool to diminish Religion in favor of their own perspectives.

The author develops a good story-line but feels the need to express her own identity/belief systems in the form of LGBT within the body of the novel. There is no reason for this, other than that the author’s own identity with regards to “social justice” is being met. It really detracts from the novel as do other vignettes within.

This author certainly has a writing style that is very unique. She jumps around within the scene to suddenly complete what should have taken a while to hammer out. Very inventive. There is the dreaded overuse of the verb “growled”. This fugging ruined some portions of this novel, yet thankfully desisted after a bit.

I would have rated this much higher except that some of the scenes and their subsequent development tended to detract from the overall story-line. The idea that most people have minds that trend in negative ways is a message that is oft repeated within the novel as is redemption for the meek. Perhaps this overuse is the authors own experiential past coming to life. Still, I would definitely not overlook any future novels from Ms. Okorafor.

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