Science Fiction

Book review: Binti – The Night Masquerade

This was my least favourite of all the Binti novellas, mainly because there was just TOO MUCH HAPPENING. So beware of the spoilers, because it’s hard to talk about what happened without it.

It’s like it had about 8 different stops and starts. The plot starts out with Binti dealing with post-traumatic stress and wanting to return home to go on a pilgrimage. However, she takes Okwu (the Meduse), despite there previously being a war between the Meduse and the Khoush (on Earth). But there’s a truce and everything is supposed to be fine.

So she goes home, has to deal with the family drama of leaving in the first place (because no one in her culture leaves their homeland). However, before she can go on the pilgrimage, Binti has to leave because she sees the Night Masquerade (which men should only see) and then goes out into the desert with her Grandmother’s tribe. We then find out they have some alien DNA, which can be activated by those who want it. Binti, has this DNA through her father, so of course, she gets it activated.

And then the Khoush attack her town because of Okwu.

Then she has to race home through the desert while tripping out on having her alien DNA activated. Her whole family are dead and her house is burned down.

Then she has to try and stop the Khoush and Meduse having a war again.

Then she’s betrayed by her village elders.

She manages to use some of her myriad of strange powers to make the King of the Khoush and the Chief of the Meduse agree to a truce. Except somehow they start having a war anyway.

Then Binti dies.

Then we find out her family aren’t dead.

Then her friend Mwinyi from her Grandmother’s tribe says they should take her out to the rings of Saturn because Binti had wanted to go there. He’s able to call Three Fish (the living ship Binti first travelled in) to take her, but Three Fish sends her newly spawned New Fish to take them.

Then she comes back to life, but now also has New Fish DNA, to go alongside her Meduse  and Enyi Zinariya DNA.

WHAAAAT.

There’s just toooo much. It’s not a long book!

And the most annoying thing was her just freaking out all the time. I mean fair enough, there’s a lot of weird shit happening to her, but it was just a little annoying. Oh, she’s crying again. Oh she’s freaking out again. More crying. More being upset about her otjize running off because she’s crying so much or whatever.

It’s still broadly fun and I enjoy the weirdness of it, but it was just a bit too much this time. It was also pretty stressful to read because she was just ALWAYS upset or something traumatic was happening. It just wasn’t that pleasant to read.

And then the whole thing with Saturn was hilarious anti-climatic (which I found funny that even the author wrote that it was also anti-climatic.) I guess it was all so Binti could regenerate with New Fish DNA. WHATEVER.

Anyway, they’re all back at Oomza university now, despite everything that happened. I mean, maybe read it, but the first two are much better.

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