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Noor

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From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent m From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong. Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn't so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.


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From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent m From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria. Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt...natural, and that's putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was wrong. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong. Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist and the saga of the wicked woman and mad man unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn't so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.

30 review for Noor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    A novel that is once meditative and riveting. AO is a Nigerian woman with cybernetic body parts who is forced on the run after a violent incident. She heads into the desert running away from the life she knew and in that great unknown she meets DNA, a desert-dwelling herdsman who is also running from something. Together they must find a way to defend themselves against all kinds of threats and their journey is intriguing, perilous, emotional and powerful. AO and DNA are interesting characters an A novel that is once meditative and riveting. AO is a Nigerian woman with cybernetic body parts who is forced on the run after a violent incident. She heads into the desert running away from the life she knew and in that great unknown she meets DNA, a desert-dwelling herdsman who is also running from something. Together they must find a way to defend themselves against all kinds of threats and their journey is intriguing, perilous, emotional and powerful. AO and DNA are interesting characters and AO is well-developed. As she evolves over the course of the novel, I was increasingly invested in her fate. I would have loved DNA to be more fully developed and for more of the story to be fleshed out. The world building was wonderful. Lots of imaginative details that made me believe this is a possible Nigerian future. The January 2022 Audacious Book Club selection.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    Well, this had potential. Unfortunately it failed to live up to it. There are so many cool ideas and awesome tech but little of it was explained. Yes, it's fiction, but still. If the author doesn't even attempt to explain how new technologies work, then it loses plausibility. For instance, we have a young woman whose had her damaged organs and limbs replaced with mechanical, computerized parts. Ok, very cool. But, (view spoiler)[when her brain suddenly connects with the internet because of all th Well, this had potential. Unfortunately it failed to live up to it. There are so many cool ideas and awesome tech but little of it was explained. Yes, it's fiction, but still. If the author doesn't even attempt to explain how new technologies work, then it loses plausibility. For instance, we have a young woman whose had her damaged organs and limbs replaced with mechanical, computerized parts. Ok, very cool. But, (view spoiler)[when her brain suddenly connects with the internet because of all these cyber parts, there is no explanation of how this happened. (hide spoiler)] Like so many books being published in the last couple years, the writing is surface level, dumbed down. Unfortunately, there must be a market for this type of writing or it wouldn't have become so prevalent. I wonder if it's because of the popularity of audiobooks -- are they publishing books that translate well into audio that's entertaining to listen to, but on the page lacks any sort of substance? (Not a knock on audio books, just wondering if it's not as noticeable when it's heard.... after all, we don't speak the way good writers write, so perhaps hearing the book read just makes it sound familiar instead of dumbed down?) It's an okay enough story, maybe, but I could have done without the romance. It added little and seemed like filler. It would have been better if the author had instead explored the technology instead of relying on insta-love to move the story. Though there is a not-very-detailed but exceedingly corny sex scene, it reads like a YA novel and the protagonist comes across as a teenager instead of a young woman. (Excerpt from sex scene: "I slightly lengthened by legs, so that he could meet me with perfect sweetness". Really? "With perfect sweetness"???? 🤦‍♀️) This is the second book I've read by this author and I doubt I'll read any more. There's just no substance. At least there was cool tech in this one, but again, if it's not explained how such things might work, then it's not believable. Another complaint is that there are a couple chapters written in italics. This is another thing I've come across in more than a couple newer books. Do authors or publishers or whoever makes this decision no longer read The Elements of Style? Italicized words are hard on the eyes and should be used sparingly and not for more than a couple words or a phrase at a time. I have to skip lengthy sections of books written in italics and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Is it necessary to write that way?? To me, it says the author is not sure of their ability to convey what they intend and/or they think the reader is stupid. We're not. If you tell us something happened in the past, we get it. We don't have to have the chapter written in italics to suddenly understand this happened prior to the rest of the story. Please stop treating readers as though we can't get something that basic. And how does this translate to audio? Does the narrator suddenly start talking with her nose pinched shut? Just stop with the italics already. OK, rant session over. This could have been a five star book. But: (RIP Betty White)

  3. 4 out of 5

    luce

    | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | 2 ½ stars Earlier this year I read and loved Nnedi Okorafor’s Remote Control, which is a truly wonderful novella. Because of this, I was looking forward to Noor as I’m a fan of Okorafor’s take on Africanfuturism and of the way she seamlessly fuses folkloresque fantasy elements with sci-fi ones. While Noor certainly delivers on the Africanfuturism front, pairing this with a commentary on biotechnology, on humanity, and on the realities of being ‘other’, its plot and | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | 2 ½ stars Earlier this year I read and loved Nnedi Okorafor’s Remote Control, which is a truly wonderful novella. Because of this, I was looking forward to Noor as I’m a fan of Okorafor’s take on Africanfuturism and of the way she seamlessly fuses folkloresque fantasy elements with sci-fi ones. While Noor certainly delivers on the Africanfuturism front, pairing this with a commentary on biotechnology, on humanity, and on the realities of being ‘other’, its plot and characters, to my disappointment, struck me as extremely derivative. A bare-bones version of Noor would go like this: we have a dystopian setting where the evil capitalist government is after the heroine who is not like other people and has special powers & her man who is also persona non grata and they eventually join a group of rebels where she comes across ex-lover before final ‘battle’ with the baddies. Anwuli Okwudili, who goes by AO, initials that stand for Artificial Organism, lives in a dystopian Nigeria. She was born with various physical disabilities which were later aggravated by a car accident. To her parents and her society’s disapproval, she goes on to have many body augmentations which enable her to be mobile and pain-free for the first time in her life. The opening sequence is rather clumsily executed as we are given vague descriptions about AO’s world (just how far in the future is it?). After splitting up with her partner who is openly repulsed by her ‘machine’ parts (why were they even together in the first place? she already had augmentations by the time they met, and all of a sudden he’s disgusted by her?) she goes to her local market where she’s attacked. AO is forced to flee and comes across DNA, a Fulani herdsman who is at first quite hostile to her (i’m pretty sure he threatens her...how romantic). The two have to survive the desert together and come across very few other characters, and if they do, it just so happens that those characters are just there to play the role of plot devices to further their story. The narrative allegedly takes place over a week but to be entirely honest the passage of time is rather unclear. It seemed to me that the events that transpire within these pages could have all happened in 1 or 2 days. AO and DNA’s bond felt forced and eye-rolling. They just have to fall in love because she’s a woman and he’s a man and they are both on the run from the evil government. While the first half of the novel is rather vague in terms of worldbuilding we, later on, get a ton of exposition that leaves very little room for interpretation (this is something i would expect from a ya novel, not an adult one). Noor has the trappings of a generic dystopian novel. What ‘saves’ this from being an entirely forgettable and uninspired read are the setting and the overall aesthetic which blends together folklore and technology. Okorafor also adopts the story-within-a-story device which works in her novel’s favour. I just found AO to be hard-to-like and at one point there is a scene about choosing your name which just didn’t go down that well with me (that this novel lacks lgbtq+ characters made it even worse tbh). AO’s ideologies were kind of murky and incongruent so that I found it hard to relate to her. The final section introduces a few more characters who are given very little room to shine as they are sidelined in favour of AO and DNA. All in all, Noor was disappointing, especially considering how much I loved Remote Control. Ao is no Sankofa and in spite of the longer format, well, here the extra pages do more harm than good (they don’t expand the world or flesh out the characters but end up being about a weird romance and a final act that gave me major martyr vibes ).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elle

    As a fan of Nnedi Okorafor, I was very excited to get a chance to read her latest work of science-fiction, Noor. We meet AO, who goes by the initials of her given name as well as the moniker she’s adopted for herself, Artifical Organism, as she’s shopping in a Nigerian market. After a bloody run-in turns her into a target then a fugitive, AO flees her home for the desert in hopes of avoiding capture. There she meets a lone herdsman and his two cows, before deciding to embark into the Red Eye tog As a fan of Nnedi Okorafor, I was very excited to get a chance to read her latest work of science-fiction, Noor. We meet AO, who goes by the initials of her given name as well as the moniker she’s adopted for herself, Artifical Organism, as she’s shopping in a Nigerian market. After a bloody run-in turns her into a target then a fugitive, AO flees her home for the desert in hopes of avoiding capture. There she meets a lone herdsman and his two cows, before deciding to embark into the Red Eye together. Though the first half didn’t have as clear of a direction as the second, I think I still liked it better. The abrupt violence of AO’s and DNA’s altercations with suspicious and aggressive people was such a stark introduction, especially considering they were supposedly in spaces they believed to be safe for themselves to exist. Somewhere in the middle of the book I wasn’t exactly sure where the story was going at all, but eventually I found my footing and overall enjoyed the journey. As much as Noor is a criticism of overreaching government, it’s even more so a denunciation of corporate, capitalist interests. By far the most invasive and powerful forces in the world of Noor are the mega-corporations that seem to have control of every aspect of the lives of citizens around the world. They’re able to not just act with impunity, but write the narrative of their own actions, erasing any dissenting opinions from existence. And as our own society continues to celebrate the private accomplishments of the supremely wealthy, things like launching a rocket into ‘space’ which we have done as a country collectively decades ago, it’s hard not to see the parallels Okorafor outlines here. There’s a portion of the book that is a kind of story-in-a-story, where the origin of a lot of the technological advancements in this society are explained. Not to give too much of that away, but it features a girl decades and decades before the events of the novel, and the lines between our world and theirs intersect at multiple points. I would have preferred this tangent story to tie in more to the events of the book, or at least to have gotten more time with its major players, though it might have distracted from the rest of the text. Still, it’s one of my favorite parts of the book so I’m a little greedy for more of it. I think inside of the commentary on privacy, environmentalism and corporate power structures, there’s also a compelling story about two people trying to survive in a world that seeks to destroy them. I’m also interested to see how people with prosthetic limbs feel about AO’s body alterations and disabilities. The ending felt a little rushed and abrupt, but I’m assuming the author didn’t see a need to drag out the resolution for the sake of it. Noor is a short piece of speculative science-fiction that packs a punch and should not be missed. **For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    A small but interesting sci-fi novel set in future Nigeria. Deals with class, race, artificial intelligence, monopolies, government, colonialism...a ton of stuff in a slender sort of book but it really works.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I enjoy Afrofuturism novels mainly for the grand scope of differences it offers us readers, subverting expectations and combining very different idea-points. In other words, a lot of them give us some great worldbuilding. Disability, redefining yourself, transhumanism, and becoming a cyborg in a culture, or at least surrounding culture, that goes all superstitious and crappy on you? Check. Being a victim of circumstance but not willing to bow down to your culture's expectations? Check. Give us som I enjoy Afrofuturism novels mainly for the grand scope of differences it offers us readers, subverting expectations and combining very different idea-points. In other words, a lot of them give us some great worldbuilding. Disability, redefining yourself, transhumanism, and becoming a cyborg in a culture, or at least surrounding culture, that goes all superstitious and crappy on you? Check. Being a victim of circumstance but not willing to bow down to your culture's expectations? Check. Give us some wonderful energy-tech, an adventure, and a light-touch romance between a herder and a cyborg girl, and the novel ran pretty smoothly for me. The subtext is, of course, quite easy to follow. It's not just being wired differently from your people, but having to deal with a mash of conflicting worlds, too. Read into it whatever you like, but it's pretty universal. I'm glad I got to read this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Starlah

    As a big fan of Nnedi Okorafor, I picked this one up immediately! We follow AO, who goes by the initials of her given name. While she is shopping in a near-future Nigerian market, a bloody run-in turns her into a target then a fugitive. So, AO flees her home for the desert in hopes of avoiding capture. While out there, she meets alone herdsman called DNA and his two cows. We follow the two as they decide to embark into the Red Eye together. I enjoyed this novel! And even though the first half see As a big fan of Nnedi Okorafor, I picked this one up immediately! We follow AO, who goes by the initials of her given name. While she is shopping in a near-future Nigerian market, a bloody run-in turns her into a target then a fugitive. So, AO flees her home for the desert in hopes of avoiding capture. While out there, she meets alone herdsman called DNA and his two cows. We follow the two as they decide to embark into the Red Eye together. I enjoyed this novel! And even though the first half seemed to lack direction, I enjoyed the pacing and there is this abrupt violence to AO and DNA's meeting and alternations with suspicious and aggressive people that make for a bold introduction to the story and characters. I loved the themes and conversation posed in this story. It's criticism on overreaching government and its conversation on taking down corporate, capitalist interests. As well as privacy, environmentalism, corporate power structures. But at the end of the day, this was a compelling story about two people just trying to survive in a world seeking to destroy them. As usual, Okorafor really knows how to pack a short piece of speculative science fiction full. I'm interested to hear how folks with physical disabilities and prosthetic limbs feel about AO's body alterations and disabilities and that representation.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Noor is an African-futurism book with some really interesting ideas and very meandering storytelling. I'll be honest that this isn't my favorite thing from Okorafor, but you should know that I listened to this as an audio review copy which may have impacted my experience. I found the story difficult to follow at times and maybe a physical copy would have been helpful. This is nothing against the narrator because she did a great job, I just felt like I missed key details along the way. (like what Noor is an African-futurism book with some really interesting ideas and very meandering storytelling. I'll be honest that this isn't my favorite thing from Okorafor, but you should know that I listened to this as an audio review copy which may have impacted my experience. I found the story difficult to follow at times and maybe a physical copy would have been helpful. This is nothing against the narrator because she did a great job, I just felt like I missed key details along the way. (like what exactly is this Noor? Were we ever told? Did I somehow miss that?) That said, there were definitely elements I liked! This is set in a futuristic Nigeria and follows a woman named AO who was born severely disabled and has a lot of biotech components, for which she faces discrimination. It's worth noting that Okorafor is herself disabled which lends added weight to the way that experience is described. The big bad is a global biotech company with fingers in many places. We follow AO on a journey of sorts after her engagement is broken off. A lot of seemingly random things occur, but a lot of it does come together at the end, even if it takes awhile to get there. One element I found entertaining is the subversion of the "magical negro" trope by instead having this mystical white man appear and offer the main characters wisdom on their journey. And also marijuana. Setting a white character as the exotic other in this way is an interesting choice. Overall I had mixed feelings on this one. I had kind of a confusing reading experience, even with frequently going back to re-listen to sections that lost me, but I can't tell if that's because of the audiobook or the narrative itself. But I appreciated some of what the book was trying to do. I received an audio review copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Content warnings include sexual assault, violence, death, ableism, mention of letting disabled children die, and more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This was a very interesting science fiction novel with prominent elements of African Futurism. For me, the best part of this novel was easily the worldbuilding. Just like with the Binti novellas, this story weaves cultural traditions into a futuristic setting. I also really appreciated how the story incorporated body augmentation as a way to address disability. As an ownvoices story, Noor explores the challenges and stigma surrounding those with disabilities living in an able bodied worl 3.5 Stars This was a very interesting science fiction novel with prominent elements of African Futurism. For me, the best part of this novel was easily the worldbuilding. Just like with the Binti novellas, this story weaves cultural traditions into a futuristic setting. I also really appreciated how the story incorporated body augmentation as a way to address disability. As an ownvoices story, Noor explores the challenges and stigma surrounding those with disabilities living in an able bodied world. Admittedly, I did not completely connect with the plot and characters which held me back from really loving this one. Yet, I still really appreciated what the story was doing and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a diverse, fresh science fiction story. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the audiobook from LibroFM for review. 

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    Synopsis: This very short novel is set in a near-future Nigeria, governed by an overreaching government under the influence of a highly innovative mega-corporation “Ultima Corp” which clearly resembles Amazon, just shying away from naming it. The narration follows main protagonist AO, short for Anwuli Okwudili or in her own words “Artificial Organism”. AO is a cyborg who was born disabled, later on injured in a car accident, and has now large parts of her body replaced by mechanical parts and en Synopsis: This very short novel is set in a near-future Nigeria, governed by an overreaching government under the influence of a highly innovative mega-corporation “Ultima Corp” which clearly resembles Amazon, just shying away from naming it. The narration follows main protagonist AO, short for Anwuli Okwudili or in her own words “Artificial Organism”. AO is a cyborg who was born disabled, later on injured in a car accident, and has now large parts of her body replaced by mechanical parts and enhanced with lots of AI augmentations. Others call her a freak, her own parents don’t like her transformation, but she embraces it all. When she goes to a local market in Abuja, a couple of men attack her, demonizing her cybernetical implants. Defending herself, she kills them inadvertently and has been on the run since then. She goes completely offline and tries to escape across the deserts of Northern Nigeria. She teams up with a Fulani herdsname calling himself “DNA” who is wrongfully accused of terrorism but only wants to protect his last two remaining cows. He knows a lot about the devastating huge cyclone called “Red Eye” in the desert where they hope to find a safe haven. AO develops some superhero forces enabling her to control devices and AIs. Suddenly, her flight doesn’t seem as hopeless as before. Review: Okorafor is a well-renowned author, always writing about the African continent, the people and the culture there. Africanfuturism is her topic, and I really liked her novella Binti (review) with a follow-up novelette Binti: Sacred Fire (review). In Noor, she did it again, this time embracing the Cyberpunk subgenre to its fullest. It’s easy to see that mega-corporations like Amazon will go to subvert states by blackmailing them with huge amounts of money. I always thought about the dangers for countries like the U.S. or Western European states, but this novel focuses on Nigeria. Rich with natural resources and projected to become one of the most densely populated countries in the world, it is also bothered by one of the most corrupt governments in the world misusing power and most of the population lives below poverty level. Average life expectancy at just 53 years is one of the lowest in the world. Enough room to project a cyberpunkish near future. The author ticks off all the Cypberpunk checkbox tropes. Most of them have been featured elsewhere, and maybe better. One is new, and that’s where the author shines and is absolutely worth reading: the combination with Africanfuturism. The novel started slow with several interleaving stories-within-stories exposing the setting. I didn’t buy into the technological projections like wireless energy transfer over large distances or the superhuman interactions with those AIs. They gave the novel a touch of Fantasy, so don’t expect Hard SF here. Similarly, the Red Eye cyclone is more a fairy tale than dystopian CliFi. We have to give the author a lot of room to draw her setting. Then, the action starts off and speeds up to a feverish pace. I didn’t like the main protagonist much. Her tendency to suicide put me off, as did some other of her (non-) reactions. Add to that many wooden dialogs and sometimes confusing narrative structure. In the end, it was a lukewarm reading experience. I liked parts of the setting a lot, but the author failed to reach me with a lot of unbelievable elements which felt too artificially constructed.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Serge

    3.5/5 Anwuli Okwudili, more commonly known as AO, is no ordinary woman. After having to endure life with many physical defects, some she had to suffer since birth while others were inflicted on her through a tragic accident, AO, with the help of high-tech equipment supplied to her by a top-tier organization called Ultimate Corp, was able to "fix" her defects by getting new implants, and since her defects were so many, one would wonder if AO is more machine than human at this point. This obvio 3.5/5 Anwuli Okwudili, more commonly known as AO, is no ordinary woman. After having to endure life with many physical defects, some she had to suffer since birth while others were inflicted on her through a tragic accident, AO, with the help of high-tech equipment supplied to her by a top-tier organization called Ultimate Corp, was able to "fix" her defects by getting new implants, and since her defects were so many, one would wonder if AO is more machine than human at this point. This obviously doesn't help with social integration, and AO is an outcast, looked down upon by most people. After an incident takes place where AO had to resort to fatal violence to defend herself from being brutally murdered, she was forced to escape the town she lives in and head to the ruthless desert to save her life, but nature there might even be as cruel, if not crueler, than her persecutors. In the depths of the desert, AO encounters another outcast, just like her, and the two of them must escape together, knowing very well that the path they are treading leads straight to a terrible desert sandstorm that has been raging on for years on end, slowly getting worse and spreading its reaches to the south. This is the first work I read by Nnedi Okorafor. The story is set in a futuristic Nigeria, and the future envisioned by Okorafor is a realistic one I can see happening quite easily. The main themes covered in this work are how foreign powers encroach upon the local resources of less wealthy countries, desecrating the nation in the process while swelling their bank accounts. The organization that is the main power here, Ultimate Corp, sells its products for a price cheaper than the Nigerian market itself, and the citizens themselves feed into an organization that does harm to their country, because the momentary comforts their products give are effective tranquilizers. The theme explored here is a powerful one, and I enjoyed reading it. The world building was really nice. I've been a fan of desert based stories lately, and this one scratches that itch quite well. The writing is immersive and takes the reader on a thrilling journey in the depths of the desert, just around the eye of a terrible sandstorm that has only gotten worse over the years. Reading SF through an African lens was very enjoyable, which is one of the reasons why I will continue reading more works by this author, since she does a great job in blending in local African culture in her prose in a way that is immersive and takes the reader on an exotic trip. Where this book fell a bit short for me though, was the plot and characterization. It started off quite nicely, and I was quickly immersed, but around the halfway mark, it hit a slog that eventually made me lose that hyped up interest I had at the beginning. I found that the characterization, although good at the start, stagnated as well, and we were at a point where nothing much was going on and the plot was meandering, and we were just walking in circles, waiting for the story to become interesting again. By the end, when things do escalate, I was too bored with the plot to care that strongly, and the characters had gotten to a point where they felt bland to read about, which nullified any emotional impact I had when challenging things happened to them. It almost felt like I started the book off digging into the inner world's of the characters, expecting it to go deeper, being intrigued at first, only to get to a place where there's nothing left to dig for. There was also a fair share of plot conveniences in this book, so that is an aspect one must overlook to enjoy the work. That being said, AO's plight is powerful. It shows just how ruthlessly judgmental and prejudiced people can be at any perceived extreme difference between themselves and others. AO is constantly berated for being mostly machine, and that most of her body doesn't even belong to her, while in truth, all of it is indeed a part of her now, and dehumanizing her because of her unique issues is in no way morally justified. This book sheds light on the outcasts of society, and how cruelly we humans have the potential to treat one another. The ever present reality of foreign enterprises taking advantage of African resources was also a strong point in this book, and something we must all be aware of. So overall, despite the flaws in plot pacing and characterization, the themes and world building helped this work stand on its feet. I also enjoyed the mix between futuristic SF elements and traditional local customs and beliefs that go centuries back. This was also represented through a vague presence of magic, which might be odd to read in such a SF book, but I enjoyed it because it helps bridge the gap between hard science, and the occult side of things we don't necessary have explanations for. I'm giving this a 3.5 and I do recommend reading it, but be warned that the pacing isn't really the best here and it might get boring at some point, but if you push through, the big picture of this work would probably make this a good read. ------------------------------------------------ “They hate what it does, yet Ultimate Corp continues doing it. It’s something more than human, by Allah. It’s the beast, a djinn. Fire and air, insubstantial, but very real. Human beings created it, but they will never control it.”

  12. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Sometimes I love Okorafor, and sometimes I find her books just OK. Regardless, I always love her Afrofuturist vision and the way she explores and reinvents different aspects of Nigerian culture, both of the past and of a visionary future. So, not my favourite of hers, but as always, I'm glad I read it. Sometimes I love Okorafor, and sometimes I find her books just OK. Regardless, I always love her Afrofuturist vision and the way she explores and reinvents different aspects of Nigerian culture, both of the past and of a visionary future. So, not my favourite of hers, but as always, I'm glad I read it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linguana

    Another brilliant novel by Okorafor. This is one I'll reread a lot! Another brilliant novel by Okorafor. This is one I'll reread a lot!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meera Nair

    Anwuli Okwudili has always been made to feel like she doesn’t belong. In the eyes of society, there’s too much about her that’s machine-powered, and consequently, not organic. So when she retaliates against a group of men who assaulted her, she accidentally ends up killing them, giving the government the perfect reason to hunt her down. Nnedi Okorafor’s imagination knows no limit. Her worldbuilding possesses an intricacy that becomes apparent from the first chapter. From perennial storms, increas Anwuli Okwudili has always been made to feel like she doesn’t belong. In the eyes of society, there’s too much about her that’s machine-powered, and consequently, not organic. So when she retaliates against a group of men who assaulted her, she accidentally ends up killing them, giving the government the perfect reason to hunt her down. Nnedi Okorafor’s imagination knows no limit. Her worldbuilding possesses an intricacy that becomes apparent from the first chapter. From perennial storms, increased civilian monitoring to cybernetics, you’ll find a range of interesting ideas that breathe life into the plot. A significant portion of the story is set against the backdrop of the vast deserts of Nigeria. I was really intrigued by how the author combined the visuals and the state of the environment in the narrative. This sci-fi novel marks my foray into Afrofuturism, and I’m glad it is helmed by a character as adamant and outspoken as AO. One of the main reasons I was engrossed right from the get-go is how straightforward AO’s demeanour (and subsequently, her voice) is. Regardless of the simplicity with which she... Read the rest of the review on my blog

  15. 5 out of 5

    ash

    Noor was atmospheric from the very first pages. It's a scifi set in a future Nigeria. A vicious and bloody encounter leads her on a fugitives path. The pacing was good during the first half. I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed, and was not a fan of the direction it took. There is a lot of cool technology in this story but not a lot of it was explained and it became confusing when the characters began having abilities that had no explanation. A solid 3; will check out Okorafor's other tit Noor was atmospheric from the very first pages. It's a scifi set in a future Nigeria. A vicious and bloody encounter leads her on a fugitives path. The pacing was good during the first half. I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed, and was not a fan of the direction it took. There is a lot of cool technology in this story but not a lot of it was explained and it became confusing when the characters began having abilities that had no explanation. A solid 3; will check out Okorafor's other titles.

  16. 4 out of 5

    julia ☆ [owls reads]

    I have mixed feelings about Noor. I loved the world-building to bits! Okorafor did such a fantastic job developing everything about AO's augmentations and how they worked as well as the presence Ultimate Corp throughout and their influence over everything and everyone. The social commentary regarding that was excellent and I loved how it was done and all of the twists exposing who they really were and what they were capable of. The rest of it, though? I had a few issues with how stiff the dialogu I have mixed feelings about Noor. I loved the world-building to bits! Okorafor did such a fantastic job developing everything about AO's augmentations and how they worked as well as the presence Ultimate Corp throughout and their influence over everything and everyone. The social commentary regarding that was excellent and I loved how it was done and all of the twists exposing who they really were and what they were capable of. The rest of it, though? I had a few issues with how stiff the dialogues felt at times and how underdeveloped the characters were in terms of personality--backstories they all had and they were pretty complex and intriguing. I also wasn't a fan of how the plot abruptly jumped around a bit when it came to action or big reveals. It felt like we were going somewhere and then everything took a very sharp turn to some other place within a few lines. It was very jarring during some chapters and it took me out of the story. Regarding AO's character, I was at times uncomfortable with the way disability was addressed? I understood that the basic premise was AO having a bunch of necessary body augmentations, but I didn't think it was necessary for her character to refer to and frame her own disabilities as if she were a monster and/or less and inferior because of them. The word "crippled" was also thrown around. It just rubbed me the wrong way. * ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: Another fantastic entry into the Africanfuturism subgenre, Noor blends sci-fi tech with interesting characters and an intriguing African desert setting. I’ve read enough Nnedi Okorafor books now to recognize her particular writing style, and Noor not only embraces that style, but it’s full of the author’s brilliant, futuristic ideas and social commentary. If you’ve never read Okorafor’s books before, Noor would be a great place to start. As with most of her books, this one is se The nitty-gritty: Another fantastic entry into the Africanfuturism subgenre, Noor blends sci-fi tech with interesting characters and an intriguing African desert setting. I’ve read enough Nnedi Okorafor books now to recognize her particular writing style, and Noor not only embraces that style, but it’s full of the author’s brilliant, futuristic ideas and social commentary. If you’ve never read Okorafor’s books before, Noor would be a great place to start. As with most of her books, this one is set near Lagos, Nigeria, and the main character is a young, misunderstood African girl with enough grit and determination to survive in a world that doesn’t want anything to do with her. Anwuli Okwundili, or AO as she prefers to be called, is more machine than human. AO was born with severe birth defects—a shriveled arm and two stumps for legs—but when she turned fourteen, Ultimate Corp offered her cybernetic upgrades to repair her body. Now AO lives a fragile existence: people fear and hate her because of her appearance, and so she’s careful to stick to familiar places where people know her. But one day in her favorite market, a group of men attack her, and AO fights back, killing all five men before she’s realized what she’s done. AO takes off into the desert, hoping to escape the authorities, but the desert has its own challenges. A perpetual dust storm called the Red Eye threatens anyone who goes near it, but AO is desperate. When she runs into a Fulani herdsman named DNA and finds out that he’s also running away from a terrible event, they team up to keep each other safe. Their journey takes them into the heart of the Red Eye itself, where AO will discover her true nature. Okorafor’s visions of futuristic Africa are always so interesting, and this time she sets her story on the vast, dusty plains of Northern Nigeria. The world-building in Noor is fantastic. The Red Eye is a constant threat to those who live nearby, and I don’t want to spoil the story by revealing certain things about it, but trust me, it's pretty cool. The government has developed a machine called an anti-aejej that can protect users from the sand, and people often carry personal anti-aejejs with them when they go outside. Huge Noors—which relate to the book’s title—act as wind turbines to create electrical energy for distant cities. I loved the idea of “wireless energy transfer,” invented by a woman named Zagora, who AO idolizes. Her idea allows all the energy gathered from solar farms to be wirelessly transferred to cities. Okorafor explains that she got many of her ideas for the story from visiting a solar plant in Africa called the Noor Solar Complex. Finally, AO and DNA discover a large anti-aejej deep in the desert called the Hour Glass, a hidden structure that moves every hour and is a sanctuary for people like AO and DNA who are on the run. AO is such a great character. She’s always felt like an outsider because of her body modifications, but she loves the way she looks and feels, so she tries to ignore the stares and taunts. I love this exploration of body positivity with a science fiction spin, it was so well done. The only thing that seems to set her off is when people say things like “What kind of woman are you?” They see her as more robot than human, and she hates that because she’s still human in the ways that count. AO has also suffered years of living with intense pain while her body adjusted to her cybernetic limbs, and she’s become stronger because of it. I liked DNA as well. He has a steer and a cow that follow him everywhere, the two remaining members of his herd. I’m a sucker for animals in stories, especially when they are loved by their owners, and you can tell DNA loves his cattle. He and AO made a great team. They are both in desperate straits, driven to survive, and despite their differences, they worked well together. Okorafor imagines Ultimate Corp—a huge company that can supply you with everything you need and then some—as a stand in for Amazon. I always get a kick out of stories that skewer Amazon, and I especially loved that AO finds a way to get back at Ultimate Corp in the end.  My only hesitation in rating this higher is that the plot meanders quite a bit. This is more or less a “quest” plot, as AO and DNA journey into the desert to avoid the authorities, and there was even one part that reminded me of the Wizard of Oz, when they are sent to meet a “wizard” named Baba Sola who dispenses wise advise while smoking pot with AO. (lol) I’d be hard pressed to tell you exactly what AO and DNA are trying to accomplish, other than to keep one step ahead of the authorities they are convinced are coming after them. The two go from place to place without a clear plan, although at the end they do accomplish something pretty big, but it sort of comes out of nowhere. I really liked the way the author had AO go through some trials (she starts having extremely painful headaches and visions) so that she could emerge on the other side stronger than she was in the beginning of the story. The two also uncover a big secret that Ultimate Corp is hiding, and that realization plays a big part in how the story ends. The ending is rather dramatic, and I loved the way things came together. And I have to say, best last line in a book I’ve read in quite some time! Nnedi Okorafor leads the pack when it comes to Africanfuturism, and this is a great example of the subgenre. Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . I am a fan of the author's writing having read six of her previous works and I will continue to read new releases and catch up on old ones.  Noor follows the life of Anwuli Okwudili who changed her name to AO - short for Artificial Organism.  She was born with birth defects and made the choice to get augmentations to her body.  She embraces the pain and her choice Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . . I am a fan of the author's writing having read six of her previous works and I will continue to read new releases and catch up on old ones.  Noor follows the life of Anwuli Okwudili who changed her name to AO - short for Artificial Organism.  She was born with birth defects and made the choice to get augmentations to her body.  She embraces the pain and her choices and is determined to live life on her own terms.  Others call her freak, devil, and worse and see her mechanical legs and arm as abomination.  The day comes where AO protects herself in self-defense and her life is destroyed. The novel follows her journey on the run and the truths she discovers.  I really loved AO as a character.  The pain she suffered, her self-will, and her ability not to see the world through the lens of hatred were admirable. I love both her body positivity and her realistic viewpoints on human behavior and prejudice.  Not that I wish people weren't so horrible of course. This novel doesn't shy from the selfish things folks do out of ignorance or selfishness or fear.  But there is good in humanity as well.  I also loved the herdsman DNA and his two awesome cows. The world building is as wonderful as usual.  This book was inspired by the author's visiting an African solar plant.  I loved the solar and wind powered tech.  I loved the desert life and the tech for survival..  I loved how the big bad corporation controlled the world and how there is a small amount of justice in the end.  This comeuppance may not last long but it is nice to see the maligned and outcast part of society win.  There is always satisfaction in that.  If ye haven't read this author's afrofuturism style before, this is a good place to start. So lastly . . . Thank ye DAW! Side Note: There is going to be a third book in the Akata Witch series out in January 2022.  Cool!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Spoer

    Without using the letters: a,m,z,o,n, how does one write a (almost)post-apocalyptic novel about a megacorp? Read Noor to find out! Then freak the fuck out because... well....yeah...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    A very brief review: + excellent and intriguing world-building + interesting (if slightly exaggerated) comment on privacy, environmentalism, and corporate power structures + a compelling story about two people (a herder and cyborg girl) trying to survive in a world that wants to destroy them. - meandering plot - the pacing feels off - the opening is heavy with exposition - I couldn't warm up to characters; they're interesting but not relatable (subjective) not a fan of the narration A very brief review: + excellent and intriguing world-building + interesting (if slightly exaggerated) comment on privacy, environmentalism, and corporate power structures + a compelling story about two people (a herder and cyborg girl) trying to survive in a world that wants to destroy them. - meandering plot - the pacing feels off - the opening is heavy with exposition - I couldn't warm up to characters; they're interesting but not relatable (subjective) not a fan of the narration

  21. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    Rating: 3.50 stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nadine in California

    Okorafor is a hit-or-miss writer for me. I loved Remote Control but this book was disappointment. I always love her vision of a future Africa that perfectly blends technology with traditional culture - and in this book it was especially interesting applied to Fulani herding life. But the book felt more like an action adventure screenplay than deeply realized fiction. I wouldn't want it to be longer, but I wish it went deeper, maybe by focusing on fewer themes and especially not turning the prota Okorafor is a hit-or-miss writer for me. I loved Remote Control but this book was disappointment. I always love her vision of a future Africa that perfectly blends technology with traditional culture - and in this book it was especially interesting applied to Fulani herding life. But the book felt more like an action adventure screenplay than deeply realized fiction. I wouldn't want it to be longer, but I wish it went deeper, maybe by focusing on fewer themes and especially not turning the protagonists into international criminals. That cheapened the whole story for me - it turned the protagonists into caricatures and made much of the plot look like a series of dystopian cliches - the exceptions being (view spoiler)[ AO's visit to DNA's people, and especially Baba Sola - so much more could have been done with him! What was his backstory??? (hide spoiler)] But.... if this book was made into a movie, I'd be first in line to see it - it might not be great, but it would be fun - especially if it spent a lot of time in The Hour Glass.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    I think there are some interesting ideas especially with AO becoming engineered or bionic. However, if they wanted her dead then they had plenty opportunity to kill her rather than replacing her body parts. I had a hard time getting into this book. I didn't really connect with the characters. I don't read a lot of sci-fi and this to me wasn't very believable. I will look though the Literati discussions and hopefully gain more appreciation for this book. How did I find this book? I won a copy thro I think there are some interesting ideas especially with AO becoming engineered or bionic. However, if they wanted her dead then they had plenty opportunity to kill her rather than replacing her body parts. I had a hard time getting into this book. I didn't really connect with the characters. I don't read a lot of sci-fi and this to me wasn't very believable. I will look though the Literati discussions and hopefully gain more appreciation for this book. How did I find this book? I won a copy through the Goodreads giveaways. Roxane Gay also selected this for her January 2022 book club, Audacious, read hosted through Literati book store.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tar Buendía

    This book is amazing. I was really excited about 'Noor' and yet I didn't expect I would love it so so much. 'Noor' is the story of AO and ADN, two completely different persons navigating prejudices while travelling through Nigerian dessert. It encompases all the best things of a road narrative plus a lot of mixed science fiction/reality written in superb style. And it has a cow and a bull I love with all my heart even if they don't have that much 'camera time'. The only reason I don't give the f This book is amazing. I was really excited about 'Noor' and yet I didn't expect I would love it so so much. 'Noor' is the story of AO and ADN, two completely different persons navigating prejudices while travelling through Nigerian dessert. It encompases all the best things of a road narrative plus a lot of mixed science fiction/reality written in superb style. And it has a cow and a bull I love with all my heart even if they don't have that much 'camera time'. The only reason I don't give the five out of five stars rating is because of a part in the beggining, when you are starting to get hooked, and a worldbuilding explanation appears as if it where a podcast. It was cool enough that it would have been awesome if published appart but, in the book and in that moment, it broke the pace for me. Annyway I highly recomend it. Thank you RAW and Netgalley for the opportunity! It has been an awesome ride. ______________ Pasando al español. Este libro es estupendo. Estaba bastante esperanzada, quería engancharme a Okorafor y lo he conseguido. Aquí vais a encontrar la historia de AO y ADN, dos personas completamente diferentes que se ven sin embargo empujadas a navegar infinidad de prejuicios y malos tratos. Cuando se ven forzados a huir a través de un desierto con una vaca y un toro a los que quiero con todo mi corazón, y eso que no salen mucho, la ciencia ficción y la realidad actual se van mezclando de una manera estupenda. Si no le doy las cinco estrellas es por un momento, cuando aún te estás haciendo a la historia, en el que todo se corta para hacerte una explicación del mundo como si fuese un podcast que me dejó un poco desenganchada. Muy muy recomendable y si queréis saber más podéis leer mi reseña en gorgonas.com https://gorgonas.com/2021/11/08/resen...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shamiram

    first of all, i want to smoke wizard weed in a tent with said wizard. more importantly, though, this makes me want to dabble in science fiction more. AO, the main character, is a badass. there's so much reflection here on our bodies, our relationships with our bodies, choice, capitalism, technology, love, belonging... A LOT. and with all of that reflection there's a lot of plot, too. I feel like I got lost in some of the science-fictiony stuff but I still found the meat of the story easy to foll first of all, i want to smoke wizard weed in a tent with said wizard. more importantly, though, this makes me want to dabble in science fiction more. AO, the main character, is a badass. there's so much reflection here on our bodies, our relationships with our bodies, choice, capitalism, technology, love, belonging... A LOT. and with all of that reflection there's a lot of plot, too. I feel like I got lost in some of the science-fictiony stuff but I still found the meat of the story easy to follow. I love AO, I love DNA, and once again, would love to smoke some wizard weed and f capitalism <3

  26. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    3.5 stars This was pretty slow to get started and some of the dialogue seemed repetitive. Hard for me to rate. I’m probably rounding up because of the anti-monopoly message.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    My second books by Okorafor. The first being REMOTE CONTROL, which I absolutely loved. NOOR is a fantastic story of AO who is basically part machine. She has to leave home and in her journey, meets DNA, and the story then takes off with their adventures as they get to know each other and she starts to find her way. There's absolutely something about Okorafor's writing that is just gorgeous. This story delves into what we still see today with consumerism, classism, racism, artificial intelligence My second books by Okorafor. The first being REMOTE CONTROL, which I absolutely loved. NOOR is a fantastic story of AO who is basically part machine. She has to leave home and in her journey, meets DNA, and the story then takes off with their adventures as they get to know each other and she starts to find her way. There's absolutely something about Okorafor's writing that is just gorgeous. This story delves into what we still see today with consumerism, classism, racism, artificial intelligence, going to space... while also delving into the human side of relationships and learning that there are shades of grey to any and all things. The narrator is fantastic and I would absolutely recommend listening to this story. While this is science fiction, I do wonder about own voices readers and their thoughts on the prosthetics and disabilities of AO. AO's character herself is fascinating and multilayered and I enjoyed her relationship with DNA. I think they learned a lot from each other and allowed readers to learn of the culture within. While I may not have loved this as much as Remote Control, I certainly would recommend this and I most definitely will be picking up more from this author. 3.5 stars rounding up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarmat Chowdhury

    her latest short novel, Okorafor once again returns to her curated genre of Afrofuturism, this time focusing on the nexus of artificial intelligence, security and privacy, capitalism, supranational corporations and the role that technology could play in Nigeria. This time around we meet AO (who has legally changed her name to the acronym) because of the augmentations that she has had done on her body in order for her to survive. Born with birth defects, and later ending up in a car accident that her latest short novel, Okorafor once again returns to her curated genre of Afrofuturism, this time focusing on the nexus of artificial intelligence, security and privacy, capitalism, supranational corporations and the role that technology could play in Nigeria. This time around we meet AO (who has legally changed her name to the acronym) because of the augmentations that she has had done on her body in order for her to survive. Born with birth defects, and later ending up in a car accident that took away more of her bodily autonomy, AO becomes a cyborg, seen by others as less human, an "artificial organism", and this in turn causes folks in Nigeria, even one where technology is a part of everyday life, to want to end her existence. The allegory here to the value of woman seem in their "authenticity" of being women was one that was powerful, as AO, even with her augmentations and machine parts, is still a woman, though society may see her otherwise. One day this all changes when she is attacked in the market, and ends up killing her attackers, the attack caught on the drones. She escapes and runs into a heardsman calling himself DNA, one of the last of the Nigerians who reject the more modern ways of life, and someone who is also on the run from the authorities, and together the both of them embark on a journey to escape the Nigerian government and Ultimate Corps, the supranational organization that is hunting both of them down. There are elements of her earlier works in this book, though there is more of a reflection of the current world and its issues here. Okorafor does a great job breaking down the more complex policy and societal issues that are currently being debated, with the same blend of "juju" and technology that allows for her to stand out. It is one of her shorter novels, so I won't get into the mechanics of the plot, but I will say that "Noor" is on the more tech side of her novels, with a focus on AI and our overall reliance of technology in our everyday life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality Two lost people find themselves, each other and a secret that the biggest corporation in the world hoped would never be found. A secret that the powers-that-be will do anything to protect. As the saying goes, once a can of worms is opened they never go back into the can. Especially when the secret that’s been hidden is as earth-shattering and sand-spewing as this one. And no, we’re not talking about Arrakis. We’re talking about Earth. A future Earth after an Originally published at Reading Reality Two lost people find themselves, each other and a secret that the biggest corporation in the world hoped would never be found. A secret that the powers-that-be will do anything to protect. As the saying goes, once a can of worms is opened they never go back into the can. Especially when the secret that’s been hidden is as earth-shattering and sand-spewing as this one. And no, we’re not talking about Arrakis. We’re talking about Earth. A future Earth after an ecological/climatological disaster has created the equivalent of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in northern Nigeria. A sandstorm of such speed and force that the windpower it generates is powering great cities all over the world. Even as it eats up and eats away the land that gave it birth. The Red Eye is the place where people who don’t fit, where those who have nothing left to lose, and those who refuse to be monitored by giant corporations 24/7 take themselves when they have nowhere else to go. Or when they can no longer make themselves pretend that they belong in the world that has left them behind, in one way or another. This big story, like that big ecological disaster, starts small. With AO and DNA, those two lost people who have each survived a trauma on the very same day. AO, born with multiple birth defects both internal and external, is now part cybernetic. In fact, AO is a lot cybernetic, with two cybernetic legs and one cybernetic arm to replace the nonfunctional limbs she was born with. And with cybernetics in her brain, not because there was anything wrong, but because she wanted the enhanced memory and permanent internet connectivity. But the more AO looks like the “Autobionic Organism” she had named herself for, the less she is accepted by the people around her. Many object on religious grounds. Some do so out of fear – not that that’s much of a difference. Some find her rejection of traditional appearances and roles for women to be anathema. Many call her an “abomination”. When the safe space she believes she has carved out for herself suddenly becomes anything but, AO refuses to submit. Instead, she uses her greater strength to not merely subdue her tormentors but to kill the men who expected her to submit to her own execution at their hands. In the aftermath, AO runs. Away from the towns and towards the desert. Heading away. North. Towards the Red Eye. Driving as far and as fast as she can in an unthinking fugue state. At least until her car runs out of power and she continues on foot towards an unknown but probably brief future. Where she runs into a herdsman named DNA, who is just as lost and traumatized as she is. Who has also just defended himself with deadly force against a mob that killed his friends and most of his herd of cattle in an act of misplaced revenge against terrorists posing as herdsmen. Now DNA has been labeled a terrorist, just as AO has been labeled a crazed murderer. Everyone is literally out to get them. But the context of both of their stories is missing. When they find that context, when they are able to dig down through the layers of propaganda and misinformation that surrounds the most traumatic events in both their lives, they find a deep, dark, deadly secret. A secret that many people will kill to protect. A secret that brought them together – and is tearing their continent apart while entirely too many people, including both of their families, go complacently about their business. Just the way the biggest corporation in the world had planned it. Escape Rating A: One way of looking at Noor is that it is two stories with an interlude in the middle. Another way, and a better metaphor, is that it is a story that winds up like a hurricane or a tornado, pauses in a calm storm’s eye in the middle, and then unwinds quickly in an explosive ending as the storm dissipates. I listened to Noor through the eye of that storm, and then read the rest because it and I were both so wound up that I couldn’t wait to see which direction all those winds ended up blowing. And the narrator, particularly for that first part, had a wonderful voice that was just perfect for storytelling. She helped me to not just hear, but see and feel that oncoming storm. At first, in the story’s tight focus on AO, it all seems small and personal. AO is different, and she is all too aware of those differences. She, and the reader, are equally aware that one of the ways in which human beings suck is that anyone who is deemed by society to be different gets punished by that society in ways both large and small. AO’s constant awareness of her surroundings and her ongoing attempts to be less threatening and less “herself” in order to carve out a safe space in which to live will sound familiar to anyone who has bucked the way it’s supposed to be in order to be who they really are. The violence against her is sadly expected and both she and the reader sadly expect it – until it becomes life-threatening and she strikes back. When she meets DNA and his two steers, GPS and Carpe Diem, he is in the same emotional trauma coming from an entirely different direction. Where AO has embraced the future – perhaps too much – DNA has clung to his people’s past as a nomadic herdsman. That they find themselves in the same situation is ironic and tragic, but not in any way a coincidence. And that’s where things get interesting. The more that AO and DNA search for answers, the bigger the questions get. The more they find friends and allies, the bigger the forces arrayed against them. And the less the story is about those two lost people and the more it is about the forces that put them in that situation in the first place. The story expands its tent to encompass colonialism, complacency and exploitation in ways that make the most singular acts have the most global of consequences – and the other way around – in an infinity loop at the heart of the storm.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    I discovered Nnedi Okorafor when I read Binti last year [I didn't want to read it as I am not a sci-fi person and this showed me that I actually CAN be, I am just more particular about it than I am about other genres] and have wanted to do a deep dive into all her work; so I totally jumped at the chance to listen to her new book Noor and I was so happy I did. This book does not disappoint and as it went on and I spent more time with AO and DNA [I actually snorted out loud when they introduce him I discovered Nnedi Okorafor when I read Binti last year [I didn't want to read it as I am not a sci-fi person and this showed me that I actually CAN be, I am just more particular about it than I am about other genres] and have wanted to do a deep dive into all her work; so I totally jumped at the chance to listen to her new book Noor and I was so happy I did. This book does not disappoint and as it went on and I spent more time with AO and DNA [I actually snorted out loud when they introduce him in the book and he tells AO his name and then snorted again when he introduces his cattle. Hilarious!], I realized I wanted this book to be much longer than it was. That is probably my only complaint; it is too short. I wanted so much more, and considering that it deals with class, race, artificial intelligence, monopolies, government, colonialism, that is saying a lot in my opinion. I also believe that you should read this with little before knowledge - getting to know AO and DNA should be a process that is unique to you and with no preconceived notions from a review; it will be a deeper, more meaningful reading experience for you. The Narrator is absolutely amazing and she really added to the reading experience. I would listen to her again and again [I will be looking for books narrated by her for sure]. Highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley, Nnedi Okorafor, and Tantor Audio for providing this Audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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