cover image She Who Knows: Firespitter

She Who Knows: Firespitter

Nnedi Okorafor. DAW, $25 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1895-3

Okorafor packs a punch in her She Who Knows series launch, a return to the realm of the World Fantasy Award–winning Who Fears Death. At 13, Najeeba receives “the call,” the psychic summons to the Salt Roads that only male members of the Osu-nu people experience. She’s the first girl to ever feel it, but her father and brothers welcome her along with them on the trek to mine salt and sell it at the market. Along the way, several more strange occurrences mark Najeeba as different from her peers: she’s drawn toward a witch on the roads, her preternatural talent at selling salt earns her family wealth, and she can do a sort of astral projection wherein her spirit channels a mysterious energy. Though Najeeba has no idea what’s happening to her, it’s clear that these phenomena will affect not only her but the lives of all Osu-nu and perhaps the world. Okorafor’s writing style is both straightforward and poetic, creating a perfect voice for Najeeba as she comes of age. Fans of Who Fears Death will appreciate the return to this rich, fully realized world, but Okorafor keeps things accessible enough that this works just as well on its own. Readers will devour this. Agent: Angeline Rodriguez, WME. (Aug.)