Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Viking Childrens
Review Copy: Purchased
Availability: On shelves Now
Summary: Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too? -- cover image and summary via Goodreads
Review: Nnedi Okorafor created a vivid world that pulsed with life. I felt like I was transported every time I opened the pages of the book. The story takes place in Nigeria, but there are times when the characters cross over to a place beyond what we see and I loved experiencing the wonders there. I appreciated that even though a lot of the book was fantasy, it also showed me a view of Nigeria that I hadn't experienced. I knew where it was geographically and had seen pictures of Lagos, but didn't really know a lot about the country. I know I hadn't listened to the music before. There were references so I played some from the Internet while I read. Also, I didn't know of Zuma rock. That is one incredible landform. I definitely have a different picture of Nigeria in my head.
Even more than the setting of the story, the characters captured me. Watching Sunny explore her emerging talents was amazing. Her trio of friends were also equally interesting and highly entertaining. Chichi's confidence and sass brought smiles to my face even as she frustrated me on occasion. Each of the friends have their positives and negatives as they struggle along learning to work together. This is a book about the power of friendship.
I am excited for the series to continue. The next book doesn't come out until Spring of 2015 so it will be hard to wait.
If you haven't read it yet, get it soon. This is a fun and exciting fantasy that you won't want to miss.