Cover for Noor by Nnedi Okarafor

Korey B’s Review:


Categories: Books | Reviews


Nnedi Okorafor’s Noor is a fierce, tightly-woven tapestry of cybernetic bodies, corporate fascism, and chosen family wrapped in a reverently imagined Nigerian future.

One of my favorite aspects of Okorafor’s work is the author’s precision, distilling epic themes into decisive prose. And Noor’s themes center on some grand questions. What does it mean to be human? How can society spring forward and embrace change while also retaining its essential cultural touchstones? How will we as people survive the continuing impacts of global corporations favoring constant growth over preserving dwindling resources?

We see these struggles personified in AO and DNA. AO has chosen the path of transhumanism, embracing the technological upgrades forced on her disabled body as a child to the point where she wonders if she’s even human. DNA wrestles with the challenge of holding onto his traditional nomadic lifestyle in the face of corporate and governmental forces that have other designs on the nomads’ ancestral lands. And both are forced to face off against the faceless Ultimate Corp, the latest in a long line of colonizers who see Africa only for its potential profit.

Noor’s power comes from Okorafor’s deft hand. There are no throwaway words or filler scenes here. To read it is to be called to hang on every word. But the magic comes from the setting, a real-feeling, and lived-in near-future Nigeria.

This book contains mentions of physical and mental abuse, technological body modification, and descriptions of colonization, violence, and death.