Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa–a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.
Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks–alone, except for her fox companion–searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.
But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?
Warnings: death of family; mass death; violence, and body horror; main character is attacked; animal death
About a girl who becomes a legend, Remote Control tells the story from Fatima/Sankofa’s childhood, as she first encounters the ‘seed’ that gives her extra-ordinary powers to the end of her personal journey with regards to coming to terms with those powers. Set in the future, the book has elements of science fiction strewn about, but its main storyline is not really focused on that, being character-driven. Fatima, who gains her powers in her childhood, accidentally kills her entire town and then spends the next part of her life chasing down the seed that gave her those powers, drawn into its pull and then resisting it. As part of her powers also kills tech, she has been wandering Ghana on foot for years, slowly gaining notoriety for being an adopted daughter of death, since she euthanizes people who ask for it, and kills those who attack her. Her powers are in a large part working to protect her from threats, but it is also something that keeps her isolated from others. The book deals with the reaction of the people to her powers, who are in awe of it, but also curse her for it. Even when she finds people who would care for her, they would still have it pushed down to accept her. She has had to experience a lot of the world and its violence from a young age, and that is formative in how she herself reacts to how her presence in perceived in the world. I enjoyed most of the book but the ending sort of didn’t work for me – I don’t entirely understand what happened, and it also felt very abrupt, suddenly shining light on an element but doing it quite late in the game.
Is it diverse? Black Ghanian Muslim main character; set in futuristic Ghana and has entirely Black cast of characters
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from TOR books, via Edelweiss.
Released on January 19, 2021
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