Review: THE NIGHT MASQUERADE by Nnedi Okorafor

Publisher: Tor.com
Page Count: 208
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
Series: BINTI, Book 3
Rating: 3.5/5 stars – Liked it!

Warning: Possible light spoilers ahead for earlier books in the series. You can read reviews for those books here: BINTI, HOME

When Binti returned home to complete an important rite of passage, she never dreamed her presence would enflame old hatreds that would push two peoples to the brink of civil war. The African tribe of Khoush, however, has refused to truly acknowledge the peace with the alien Meduse, and an attack in the night leaves her family home in flames. If Binti doesn’t find a way to reconcile these two peoples, her own Himba tribe may end up being crushed between the warring factions.

THE NIGHT MASQUERADE is a satisfying conclusion for Binti, if a bit of a meandering one. The entire series, Binti has struggled to find her place in the universe. Even before she encounters the Meduse, she doesn’t feel at home with her own people. As she learns more about her ancestral past and her own evolving self, she’s had to reconcile many different parts of her heritage, and she finally does so in this book. Binti’s personal journey is one I’ve loved watching over this series, especially as it relates to honoring traditions while still moving forward.

That said, while the beginning of the book is fairly tense as Binti deals with trauma, new revelations, and the growing realization that no one can stop the coming war but herself, the last third of it felt a little meandering. Your mileage may vary on this, but I felt the book had come to a rather natural end at a certain point and should be winding down, but instead it was stretching into an ending I never would have predicted because it comes out of left field. It felt like an abrupt addition that kept this story from landing well for me.

Overall, however, I enjoyed my time with the BINTI series. It has some inventive futuristic world-building and a wonderful coming of age story. These three novellas are a quick read and I highly recommend reading them close together (you can pick up all three in a handy omnibus), especially as book three picks up mere moments after the end of book two. Readers looking for non-European inspired SFF should definitely pick up this series for a completely different approach to the galaxy.

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