Nnedi Okorafor

Book - 2020

In southeastern Nigeria, twelve-year-old Nnamdi is determined to avenge his police chief father, who was murdered while triyng to rid the town of criminals, but Nnamdi feels powerless until he receives a magical object which gives him superpowers.

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Fantasy fiction
Action and adventure fiction
New York : Viking 2020.
Physical Description
227 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 10 and up.
Grades 4-6.
Main Author
Nnedi Okorafor (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

The murder of Nnamdi's father, the chief of police, halts the campaign to end widespread corruption in their Nigerian town of Kaleria. A year later, the murder is still unsolved, but Nnamdi is certain that the culprit is the local crimelord known as the Chief of Chiefs. When the spirit of Nnamdi's father visits in the night and gives him the Ikenga, a statuette that endows the power to transform into a huge, Incredible Hulk–like man, Nnamdi takes it upon himself to finish his father's work and stamp out corruption, one crook at a time. Okorafor returns to middle-grade with a tightly paced action-adventure rooted in the turbulent emotions of her young protagonist. This new, Nigerian superhero, dubbed "The Man," proves an effective device for exploring Nnamdi's unresolved feelings. As his rage fuels a violent—often intensely so, with knives, guns, and bloody beatings—path of revenge, he leans on his friends to help him solve the murder mystery, restore order to Kaleria, and find peace within himself. An engaging stand-alone with sequel potential.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy–winning Okorafor made a splash with the African-rooted fantasy of her Akata Witch books, and her kidlit fans will be eager for a new series of a similar nature. Grades 6-8. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A year after his father—respected police chief of Nigerian suburb Kaleria—is murdered and 12-year-old Nnamdi and his mother fall into difficult circumstances, the boy encounters his dad's ghost. The spirit gives him an Ikenga, an ebony figurine that can transform Nnamdi into an enormous space-black figure with immense strength and superhuman senses. Through this alter ego, soon dubbed The Man and called out by the new police chief for embracing vigilante justice, the boy takes on Kaleria's most nefarious criminals, including the feared Chief of Chiefs, whom Nnamdi believes is responsible for his father's death. The powers also ignite equally powerful feelings that Nnamdi struggles to control. Blending Nigerian culture and American comics, Okorafor (the Akata series) has created a black hero struggling to work toward justice while navigating inequitable power structures and others' definitions of who he is. Details, including Igbo phrases, villain names (Three Days Journey, Mama Go-Slow), and food descriptions, evoke a vivid sense of place amid the story's recognizable beats. Fans of classic superheroes—including Nnamdi's favorite, the Incredible Hulk—and readers looking for a young superhero will find a champion in Nnamdi. Ages 10–up. Agent: Donald Maass, Donald Maass Literary. (Aug.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–8—Fans of Okorafor's "Akata" series will enjoy the author's middle grade debut, introducing her work to a new set of readers. When 12-year-old Nnamdi Icheteka's father is murdered, this Nigerian boy draws on the powers of his ancestors and an ancient magic to cope with his loss and deal with the growing criminal underground threatening to take over his hometown of Kaleria. This wonderfully fresh superhero origin story offers a look into the shadowy, inexplicable powers that are suddenly in the hands of an ordinary child. Through the strength bestowed upon him by the Igbo symbol of an Ikenga, Nnamdi transforms into an otherworldly force as he metaphorically deals with the big emotions of grief and tries to solve the mystery of who killed his father. While the themes of good vs. evil and vigilante justice will seem familiar, Okorafor has created unique, multifaceted characters that will have young readers hoping for Nnamdi's next adventure. VERDICT Though violent at times, this fantasy novel will surely appeal to comic-book lovers and mystery-seekers alike, and would be an asset to any library.—Monisha Blair, Rutgers Univ., NJ Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Vowing to avenge the murder of his police chief father by a powerful criminal, 12-year-old Nnamdi receives a magical object that gives him superpowers that he is challenged to use for good or bad. A first middle grade novel by the award-winning author of the Binti series. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In southeastern Nigeria, twelve-year-old Mnamdi is determined to avenge his police chief father, who was murdered while triyng to rid the town of criminals, but Nnamdi feels powerless until he receives a magical object which gives him superpowers.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Nnedi Okorafor's acclaimed first novel for middle grade readers introduces a boy who can access super powers with the help of the magical Ikenga.Nnamdi's father was a good chief of police, perhaps the best Kalaria had ever had. He was determined to root out the criminals that had invaded the town. But then he was murdered, and most people believed the Chief of Chiefs, most powerful of the criminals, was responsible. Nnamdi has vowed to avenge his father, but he wonders what a twelve-year-old boy can do. Until a mysterious nighttime meeting, the gift of a magical object that enables super powers, and a charge to use those powers for good changes his life forever. How can he fulfill his mission? How will he learn to control his newfound powers?Award-winning Nnedi Okorafor, acclaimed for her Akata novels, introduces a new and engaging hero in her first novel for middle grade readers set against a richly textured background of contemporary Nigeria.