Published: 2016 (it comes out today!)
Genre: science fiction
Length: 364 pages
Setting: Nigeria, mostly near Lagos, 2055-2066
Summary: Kaaro is a finder. He’s one of the special people connected to the xenosphere and able to access information from it. In his case, he can find anything a person’s lost. When he was young, he used his abilities to steal, but nearly got necklaced by a mob when his mother caught him. When he grew up, he was convinced to join Section 45 of the government under Femi Alaagomeji. She calls him in on special cases. The most important case he was involved with was contacting the Bicycle Girl, who lives in the Lijad. The Lijad lives between space and time, and ultimately joins up with Wormwood, an alien entity living on Earth. Wormwood manifests on the surface as Utopicity, and Rosewater (where much of the action takes place) grows up around Utopicity. We eventually learn about the creation of Utopicity and the aliens slowly taking over Earth.
Final thoughts: A fascinating story that I was drawn into from the first. Trying to describe the plot is nearly impossible, though. Part of my enjoyment came from the Nigerian setting. The relationships between characters, the proverbs they quoted, and the underlying framework of the story was Nigerian, and definitely not Western. In fact, America has gone dark (literally – there’s a whole mystery here that needs exploration in a sequel) and in the power vacuum, Nigeria has become more important. The story is told in a nonlinear format, but the chapter titles clearly identify where you are in time and space. Slowly the two stories come together and we find out why the Bicycle Girl is so important and what’s really happening within Utopicity. The ending is hopeful, but not everything is resolved, nor is there a happy ending for all involved.
Title comes from: Rosewater developed around Utopicity as people flocked to be near and be healed by its periodic emanations of aliens. It’s called Rosewater because in its initial form, there were no sewers. Rosewater was the exact opposite of how the encampment smelled.
Reading challenges fulfilled: #88 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge, and #6 in my New Books Challenge
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