Book review: Noor

Noor

Noor
by Nnedi Okorafor
Narrated by
Délé Ogundiran
Daw Books
Tantor Media
11/9/2021
224 pages
7H10
Science fiction/Cyberpunk*

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*If you don’t know what cyberpunk is, here is a definition I found. It fits perfectly to this novel:

“Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a ‘combination of lowlife and high tech’, featuring futuristic technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, juxtaposed with societal collapse or decay.”

I discovered Nnedi Okorafor recently with her Binti trilogy which I enjoyed very much. Nnedi Okorafor has come up with a new genre she calls African futurism. She is masterful in bringing together African culture and science fiction. Noor is another great example of it.

I found similar themes in Noor, a scifi/dystopian/cyberpunk novel that takes place in a near future Nigeria. Anwuli has faced many health issues since birth and her problems got worse after a serious car accident. But with the progress of technology, she was able to compensate for her disabilities with many body augmentations. To the point of now preferring the name AO, standing for Artificial Organism.

However, one day when she goes to the market, her life will completely changes.
Running for her life after this event, she meets a young Fulani herdsman (the Fulani people are also known as Peul, a word we use in French. When I grew up in France in the 1960s-1970s, we talked a lot about the Peul), whose name is also initials: DNA. He has two awesome cows, GPS and Carpe Diem!

Just like Binti, AO is a very tough young woman. And super geeky!
She has to fight not only for her life, but also for the life of her friends, her country, her culture, and her world.
And her enemies are many and powerful: big corporations, racist people, and basically anyone not ready to accept people different from them.

I like how the author combined African cultural themes and bigger issues, related for instance to climate change, biotechnology, and the survival of the planet. I will not reveal what Noor stands for, but it is something important in relation to the weather.

Audio performance:

I received this audiobook through Libro.fm and I am grateful.
T
he narrator, actress Délé Ogundiran, is excellent at conveying AO’s toughness, and her Nigerian accent blends beautifully with the story.
However, I have to admit that although I am used too many accents (and even did some simultaneous translation from Nigerian people in my previous life), the beginning of the story was very confusing in its audio format. So to train my ear, I read and listened at the same time to a few pages. When I got used to to the narrator’s accent, all went well and was enjoyable.
So you may have to do something similar, if you are not used to African accents.

VERDICT: Good scifi novel focusing on biotechnology, climate change issues, and mostly acceptance of others, whatever they may look like, wherever they are coming from.

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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
Any other great cyberpunk?
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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines, I received this audiobook free of charge for review through Libro.fm. I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

11 thoughts on “Book review: Noor

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