Nubia: The Awakening

Delacorte. (Nubia: Bk. 1). Nov. 2022. 368p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593428641.
Gr 7 Up–This team’s action-packed Afrofuturist novel features multiple, seemingly unrelated perspectives that slowly come together in an explosive climax. In a near-future New York City, the stratification between the elite and the lower classes becomes literal; the wealthy live Up High in a sky city to avoid the effects of climate change, while those with less live on the ground, a crumbling seawall that’s the only thing between them and annihilation. Zuberi, Lencho, and Uzochi are children of those who fled Nubia, a utopian society off the coast of West Africa, and each has their own approach to dealing with living in a society that views their Nubian heritage and refugee status as proof of their inferiority. But things are changing, and this new generation of Nubians is awakening to extraordinary powers—a legacy their families hid from them. Now, they will have to decide whether to leave their people behind and align with the rich and powerful Up High or find a way to help their own before it’s too late. This novel offers a powerful critique of capitalism, classism, and racial injustice through the intertwining perspectives of Zuberi, Lencho, Uzochi, and Sandra, daughter of the manipulative Krazen St. John, the architect of Up High. The point-of-view characters are dynamic and engaging. While the relationships between Nubians and the African diaspora could be more clearly articulated, and the fantasy elements explored more in-depth, this novel combines a high-action plot with engaging characters and will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
VERDICT A complext dystopian novel that will circulate well with fans of Black Panther, Tomi Adeyemi, and Roseanne A. Brown.

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