The Book of Phoenix
Published May 3 2016
Phoenix is aptly named, a woman of fire and magic and rebirth born within a science ivory tower, one of nine run by The Big Eye—a secret organization operating on people, animals, and aliens to further scientific progress. She’s young but accelerated, a person designed to artificially mature, and in true childlike fashion she simply accepts the constructed reality around her until she is forced to accept the death of her closest companion, Saeed.
She escapes with the help of Mmuo, a man genetically altered to shift through solid obstructions. She is thrown into a series of events where each encounter sends her plummeting toward her destiny—planting an alien life seed, fighting the Big Eye to evade capture, from Africa back to the United States to the Virgin Islands, from escapee to the figurehead of a rebellion. It is only when she decides that she will no longer allow The Big Eye to play at being gods that her magic changes the course of the future.
Nnedi masterfully interweaves the stories of slavery, science asserting dominance over magic, abuse, manipulation, and consequence into a prosaic treatment of the moment transitioning to a movement, a woman realizing her potential and going nova, eclipsing her oppressors. The Book of Phoenix is the more sci-fi prequel to the acclaimed and World Fantasy Award-winning Who Fears Death, but I would highly recommend reading them in the order of publishing. The Book of Phoenix is lighter, more swiftly read, though it handles no less relevant issues. I couldn’t put it down.
Kronda Seibert plays video games. If her social media is to be believed, she also absorbs all the superhero movies and occasionally leaves the house to go to work as a computer Systems Engineer/Architect.
Aside from writing for PopCultureBeast, Kronda splits her time between running the science fiction convention AnomalyCon, reading comics and SciFi/Fantasy novels, doing computer science, and blogging about intersectional representation in all things geek.