A fiery spirit dances from the pages of the Great Book. She brings the aroma of scorched sand and ozone. She has a story to tell....
The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi Okorafor’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.
Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.
Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.
But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.
This haphazard prequel to Okorafor's postapocalyptic first novel for adults, Who Fears Death, explores the circumstances that led to that apocalypse. Phoenix is a three-year-old biological weapon who looks and acts like a 40-year-old woman. Escaping from the facility where she was created, Phoenix flees from a malevolent organization bent on recapturing her and bending her to their will. While this installment answers burning questions from Who Fears Death, it lacks much of the nuance and intrigue that make the author's other work so beloved. Okorafor once again creatively melds European and African mythologies into a fresh hybrid, but the wonder and magic aren't enough to distract from the flat characterization and bland narration. This tale of oppression is brimming with anger, but without a compelling reason to care about the characters, Okorafor's vital larger messages are lost.