Young Adult

Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi – Book Review

Fantasy

Rating

Goodreads:

3.83

Novel Fables:

2/5

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Book Review

Riot Baby

Tochi Onyebuchi

2/5

Fantasy

(The above links for Amazon and Kobo are affiliate links & I earn a small commission if you purchase a book through them)

Riot Baby

Tochi Onyebuchi

2/5

Buy a copy:

The above link(s) for Amazon and/or Kobo are affiliate links & I earn a small commission if you purchase a book through them at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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“I am the locusts, and the frogs, and the river of blood.”

Synopsis

Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

Review

The synopsis sounded interesting, and this is shelved on Goodreads as fantasy, sci-fi-dystopian, and speculative fiction, which I love to read. Then we have the important topic of race, which usually has some hard-hitting moments, can be an emotional roller-coaster, and an empathetic me ends up with a head of snot and tears. This book is a recipe that usually works for me, but unfortunately, the fictional story of Kev and Ella didn’t do anything for me.

I feel like this would have worked better as contemporary fiction without the fantasy elements. The two narratives clashed. Maybe even psychological thriller aspects vs. the magical elements? Nothing about the fantasy worked for me. The Thing only seems to exist to allow the plot to jump around timelines. The Thing lacked any development, which hindered the story.

The prose reads like contemporary poetry, was clunky, and lost me a few times throughout the story. The transitions between characters were confusing. A bit too fast-paced from one idea to the next. Nothing really had time to sink in before we moved on to the next passage.

I was hoping for some impactful moments, messages, or ideas, but it’s just 172 pages that show only the surface of the hate and horrors of the world we live in. I’ve watched documentaries, movies, and shows on the same topics of racism that left me crying and raging. Riot Baby missed that mark and lacked depth as there was little to no character, magic, or story development.

Best,

Ashley

From novelfables.com

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(The above link(s) are affiliate links & I earn a small commission if you purchase a book through them on Amazon or Kobo's websites.)​

“I am the locusts, and the frogs, and the river of blood.”

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