Aurelien’s January reading wrap up

What I read when I was procrastinating book club picks!

Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

After we read “Akata Witch” for book club last year (listen to the episode), I’ve been reading more of Nnedi Okorafor’s work. After tearing through “Akata Warrior” (and wishing for more Sunny stories), I started the “Binti” series.

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Imaginative Afrofuturism, set in space, and a main character who just wants to learn. The importance of learning comes up again and again in Okorafor’s stories, a theme that we love! Because this is super creative scifi, there were some pictures that I struggled to visualize, which occasionally took me out of the story.

That said, if you like fresh and different scifi, give it a shot.

The Haunted (The Haunted #1) by Danielle Vega

A teen fleeing danger, consistently absent parents, and a spooky haunted house. Need we say more? Plus, it’s got a great creepy cover!

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

I devoured this book in a weekend, but I have to say, I didn’t love it as a whole. Danielle Vega is great at writing creepy, tense scenes, and a few times (especially at night), I was pretty nervous to keep reading! The haunting elements are well done and the house is genuinely creeptastic. The “mythology” is simple, but works.

Unfortunately, the characters are pretty flat and lacking in personalities. Even the main characters are shallowly-sketched, including self-proclaimed “non-cliche” Hendricks. The love interests are barely there, the friends are straight out of a teen movie, and the end didn’t have nearly the emotional impact that it could have.

I hate to say that I didn’t like a book, but this was just ultimately not for me. But if you like hauntings, malicious ghosts, and creepy houses, give it a try.

What did you read in January? Are you picking up either of these books?

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