Sunny was born and raised in New York, but lives in Nigeria. They call her “Akata,” an insulting term for Americans. The fact that she is an albino makes her even more of an outsider. When she sees a vision of Armageddon in the flame of a candle she knows she is truly different. Soon she finds friends that are different too and discovers she is part of a secret world. The good news is that she has magic powers, the bad news is she’ll need them to hunt down a black-hatted child killer, creatively named Black Hat.
This is my kind of fantasy. Set firmly in the real world, with characters you believe in, Akata Witch makes you believe in magic. Okorafor lets you really get to know Sunny and explores her life in Nigeria before the magic really starts moving the plot forward. This means, that the book has a slow start, but I really didn’t mind. It also has a super fast ending, but I was able to forgive some plotting problems because so much about the book is really good. It was as interesting to me to see life in modern Nigeria as it was to learn about a secret group of magic users. That’s what makes this book pretty special, you care about the world beyond just the cool powers AND the cool powers are really super cool! It’s also has a super evil and genuinely menacing villain. I’m always looking for paranormal that isn’t so normal and Akata Witch is way better than normal.