My rating for the first half of the novel is higher than the second half, particularly the end. I got a copy of the 10th anniversary edition, and it was interesting to read Okorafor's notes a decade later. The protagonist, Onyesonwu (whose name means “who fears death”), undergoes female genital mutilation (using the author's descriptive phrase here) as a preteen, and based on controversy around Okorafor's depiction of the practice, the novel was originally banned in Nigeria (Okorafor is Nigerian American). She doesn't regret her authorial choice, and I'm really glad it's in the book: it's a nuanced portrayal of the very complex cultural issues that surround any practice that is controversial to those outside a culture (and often, as the novel portrays and real life makes clear, to those within it!). Okay, I need to lay off the parentheticals. Anyway, I wish other equally interesting plot points had been treated with similar intricacy. The novel is essentially Onyesonwu's bildungsroman blended with a hero's journey, set in a futurist Sudan during a genocide in which rape is frequently used as a weapon of war, and I felt a little let down on both major themes. Onyesonwu's development and personal growth is beautifully traced in the first half, but flattens noticeably in the second half, and the issues related to genocide and the problem of evil, are similarly flattened into overemphasis on a singular villain as opposed to the social circumstances that give such people the opportunity to reach for and wield incredible destructive power. There is tremendous moral ambiguity in the final chapters, which I actually appreciate, but very little exploration of that ambiguity, especially Onyesonwu's penultimate actions, and I think that lets down a great character. Overall, though, I'm glad I read this, and am curious about what else Okorafor has written. I'm also glad that this was optioned by HBO, because although it would be tempting to get sucked into the magical elements of the plot, I think a great actress could take what's there and run with it in a way that would add depth to Onyesonwu's later choices that would adjust for the weaknesses at the end.