Nnedi Okorafor says this about The Shadow Speaker:
"Spontaneous forests, polygamy, strange insects, Nigerian 419 scammers, really really fast cars, a different kind of Sahara Desert, male beauty contests, the apocalypse, life, death, sword fights, fat chiefs, assassins, this novel is kind of nuts!"
Niger, West Africa, 2070
When fifteen-year old Ejii witnesses her father's beheading, her world shatters. In an era of mind-blowing technology and seductive magic, Ejii embarks on a mystical journey to track down her father's killer. With a newfound friend by her side, Ejii comes face to face with an earth turned inside out -- and with her own magical powers.
But Ejii soon discovers that her travels across the sands of the Sahara have a greater purpose. Her people need to be protected from a force seeking to annihilate them. And Ejii may be just the hero to do it.
It’s easy to name a dozen fantasy novels set in England
but, save for Nancy Farmer’s futuristic book “The Ear, the Eye
and the Arm,” difficult to think of one set anywhere in Africa —
just one of many unexpected pleasures in Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu’s
novel “The Shadow Speaker”...This novel — like the author’s
first, “Zahrah the Windseeker” (2005) — leaves little doubt that
Okorafor-Mbachu’s imagination is stunning. -- The New York Times
THE SHADOW SPEAKER is wonderful, highly original stuff, episode after amazing episode, full of color, life and death. The people and the places in the Shadow Speaker all feel so real. Nnedi also deals head-on with the fact that power and pain are closely linked, as are magic and blood. I think this book is MARVELOUS.
-- Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl's Moving Castle, Dark Lord of Derkholm, and the Chronicles of Chrestomanci
There's more vivid imagination in a page of THE SHADOW SPEAKER than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics.
-- Ursula K. Le Guin, author of the classic Earthsea series, The Dispossessed,
The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, and many more.
also embrace the novel’s complicated characters, especially its
women, and the unusual appearance of African, Muslim traditions
in a science fiction context. Fans of Nancy Farmer’s The Ear,
the Eye, and the Arm (1994) will want to give this a try. -Booklist
THE SHADOW SPEAKER is endlessly imaginative, full of mystery and delight on every page. Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu is a voice that will delight readers of all ages and backgrounds. She has created an adventure worthy of Harry Potter, told from a new and intriguing part of the world. -- Tananarive Due, American Book Award-winning author of JOPLIN'S GHOST
As wildly inventive and suspenseful as her first novel, THE SHADOW SPEAKER is at the same time more ambitious and thematically complex, and represents a major step forward for a storyteller who, in the tradition of Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson , is equally adept at combining that most contemporary of forms, science fiction, with the ancient beliefs and values of non-western cultures that have for too long been underrepresented in modern fantastic literature. -- Gary Wolfe , award-winning critic and lead reviewer for Locus Magazine
From the Booksense Winter 2008/2009 Pick List: Ejii, a young woman from West Niger who can see into
other people's minds, travels across the Sahara in 2070 in
search of her father's killer. She contends with sand cats,
desert magicians, and villages constructed entirely out of
vegetation -- and befriends a boy with the power to change the
weather. This is a thoughtful, awesome fantasy for young
adults." --Tasha Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor, MI
The Barnes and Noble Review:
For 13 and older, my pick for best fiction of the year is The
Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu. A young adult devoted
to Orson Scott Card for his complicated societies set in the
future will be thrilled to discover this complex quest tale that
begins in the Sahara Desert of 2070