So it has been one super long minute!!!!!
Too long. I have been on a rollercoaster ride called life this past month and a half and slowly getting myself back to normal aka letting my feet touch the ground. That is a story for another day though. Today being Tuesday is time for yet another riveting book review:)
The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo
What exactly can I say about this book? Well it started out great I can tell you that much. Chibundu really knows how to reel in her audience but what she lacks is how to keep the same audience captivated, to keep them turning pages and intrigued as opposed to exhausted by the dragging story line. This is exactly how I felt by the time I was finally done with the book… exhausted. And frankly glad to be done with it. Sad thing is I wasn’t expecting my thoughts on the book to be like that when I was basically halfway through it. This could be a case of the author having a certain page # quota to fulfill and that could explain why 286 pages felt like 486 pages instead.
I may have my own biased opinions to this novel but there are some good parts to it. The story revolves around two characters, Abike Johnson, a rich teenage girl living the lavish life in Lagos thanks to her wealthy father, and a lowly hawker, whose name we only know as ‘Runner G’ as his real name is not mentioned anywhere throughout the novel. We are introduced to Lagos, Nigeria in two different views; the wealthy upper class view and the poverty, low class view.
Abike buys an icecream from the hawker one day and she is intrigued by him. Especially by his ability to speak articulately which isn’t common among hawkers on the street. From the first interaction the hawker and Abike form an instant connection. A trippy romance between them follows and we get to see their thoughts and feelings played out in two different narrations from both of them. Further along in the story we learn how the hawker’s past is connected to Abike’s through her wealthy murderer of a father. The story then turns into a love story turned revenge tale in just but a few chapters.
One thing I like about Chibundu’s writing, despite the slow pace of the storyline, it still had its major twists and turns that gave the story that extra oomph. Her description of rich Lagos compared with poor Lagos really reminded me about the similar divide we have between the rich and the poor here in Nairobi and made me wonder if at all a wealthy teenage girl would ever give a hawker a second look and befriend him. Sadly the story became more and more unbelievable as the book progressed hence my frustration in completing it forcefully. As the plot thickened and FINALLY unfolded I was already uninterested and was just completing it for the sake of writing a review on it. If Chibundu had just stuck to the romance story of it all and left out all the politics, I think it would have made for a much more interesting story line.
I love my African authors, I really do but sorry Chibundu, this time an African author did not really wow me. I give her a 4 out of 10. I could have given 5 just because I enjoyed the first half of the book but half commendations shouldn’t really be given if half the story made a reader lose interest.
Just my two cents though, so let me know your thoughts!