Ikenga by Nnede Okorafor

I couldn’t have chosen a better title to be my first audiobook for review… I’ve tried listening to them before and I just get too distracted. But Nnedi Okorafor’s prose paired with the vocal talents of Ben Onwukwe made this a most enjoyable experience. It took me about a chapter to get used to Onwukwe’s accent, and after that it added to the atmosphere of the book perfectly.

Let’s get to the book itself… With an epitaph from Bruce Banner, you know this is gonna be good!

The protagonist is named Nnamdi and he is the son of Kalaria’s late Chief of Police. The novel opens at The Chief’s funeral… the grief, and the responsibility on Nnamdi’s shoulders. A year passes and the killer is not found, and the night of the one-year memorial, Nnamdi’s father visits him. He gives his son a special ebony figure, the Ikenga. With its powers, Nnemdi is able to fight crime and ultimately search for his father’s murderer.

A blend of so many genres I love. There’s the prominent coming of age theme, and the pure superhero vibes. You have to fall for a story that creates such a true blend of ‘with great power’ and teen angst. I also appreciated the setting… the descriptions of food, the names, and the culture of Nigeria. It felt as if I was walking alongside the characters.

I could see myself sharing this story with one of my classes. And I could imagine their eyes lighting up to hear Onwukwe read Okorafor’s words.

5 out of 5 stars

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” – Bruce Banner from The Incredible Hulk television series.

Thank you to NetGalley, Tantor Audio, the author and the narrator for an advanced copy for review,

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