You are here

The Shadow Speaker

Winner of the Parallax Award and Image Award Nominee

Haunted by vengeance. Destined for peace.

Niger, West Africa, 2070

When fifteen-year old Ejii witnesses her father's beheading, her world shatters. In an era of mind-blowing technology and seductive magic, Ejii embarks on a mystical journey to track down her father's killer. With a newfound friend by her side, Ejii comes face to face with an earth turned inside out -- and with her own magical powers.

But Ejii soon discovers that her travels across the sands of the Sahara have a greater purpose. Her people need to be protected from a force seeking to annihilate them. And Ejii may be just the hero to do it.

Nnedi Okorafor says this about The Shadow Speaker: "Spontaneous forests, polygamy, strange insects, Nigerian 419 scammers, really really fast cars, a different kind of Sahara Desert, male beauty contests, the apocalypse, life, death, sword fights, fat chiefs, assassins, this novel is very alive."

NAACP Image Award (nominee)
Parallax Award (winner)
The Essence Magazine Literary Award (finalist)
The Golden Duck Award (finalist)
A CCBC Choice for 2008
The Andre Norton Award (finalist)
A Tiptree Honor Book
An Amelia Bloomer Project Book
It’s easy to name a dozen fantasy novels set in England but, save for Nancy Farmer’s futuristic book “The Ear, the Eye and the Arm,” difficult to think of one set anywhere in Africa — just one of many unexpected pleasures in Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu’s novel “The Shadow Speaker”...This novel — like the author’s first, “Zahrah the Windseeker” (2005) — leaves little doubt that Okorafor-Mbachu’s imagination is stunning.
- The New York Times
THE SHADOW SPEAKER is wonderful, highly original stuff, episode after amazing episode, full of color, life and death. The people and the places in the Shadow Speaker all feel so real. Nnedi also deals head-on with the fact that power and pain are closely linked, as are magic and blood. I think this book is MARVELOUS.
-Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl's Moving Castle and the Chronicles of Chrestomanci
There's more vivid imagination in a page of Nnedi Okorafor's work than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics.
-Ursula K. Le Guin, author of the classic Earthsea series
Many will also embrace the novel’s complicated characters, especially its women, and the unusual appearance of African, Muslim traditions in a science fiction context. Fans of Nancy Farmer’s The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm (1994) will want to give this a try.
As wildly inventive and suspenseful as her first novel, THE SHADOW SPEAKER is at the same time more ambitious and thematically complex, and represents a major step forward for a storyteller who, in the tradition of Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson , is equally adept at combining that most contemporary of forms, science fiction, with the ancient beliefs and values of non-western cultures that have for too long been underrepresented in modern fantastic literature.
-Gary Wolfe , award-winning critic and lead reviewer for Locus Magazine
For 13 and older, my pick for best fiction of the year is The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu. A young adult devoted to Orson Scott Card for his complicated societies set in the future will be thrilled to discover this complex quest tale that begins in the Sahara Desert of 2070
-The Barnes and Noble Review
Ejii, a young woman from West Niger who can see into other people's minds, travels across the Sahara in 2070 in search of her father's killer. She contends with sand cats, desert magicians, and villages constructed entirely out of vegetation -- and befriends a boy with the power to change the weather. This is a thoughtful, awesome fantasy for young adults." --Tasha Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop, Ann Arbor, MI
-from the Booksense Winter 2008/2009 Pick List