Zahrah the Windseeker

Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is the author of this fantasy novel about Zahrah, a girl who is born dada. Meaning she has plants growing in her dreadlocks, or at least that's what it appears to mean, at first. But strange things start happening to the shy Zahrah, among them that she begins to be able to fly by controlling the air around her, and it becomes clear that the real meaning of being dada has been lost. Okorafor-Mbachu creates an engaging fantasy world, where humans have shunned the Jungle in favor of their "culture," a culture that involves bending many kinds of plants to their own technological purposes. Zahrah only really comes out of her shell when her best friend Dari is bitten by a snake. Then she realizes that she has to go into the jungle, alone, and face down its most ferocious beast in order to save her friend's life.

It's a good read, and one that would work well alongside Farmer's The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm. The world it portrays is interesting, albeit mostly modeled on our technological world today, except with plants that function as technology. The scenes with the Dark Market hint toward layers of society that Zahrah and Dari don't understand yet, and as such beg for sequels. But not in an annoying way. I found myself, at the end, wanting to read more about this world.

*****

On another note, word is out about my winning an award from ALA/LHRT: http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter. /news/pr.cfm?id=4171 After a tough year on many, many fronts, from a 3rd year tenure review to various family/friend troubles, a it's a joy to be able to celebrate this accomplishment. And relax and read novels for awhile. :)