The Book of Phoenix

The Book of Phoenix

The Book of Phoenix is a unique work of magical futurism. A prequel to the highly acclaimed, World Fantasy Award-winning novel, Who Fears Death, it features the rise of another of Nnedi’s powerful, memorable, superhuman women.

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.


“The” Arthur C. Clarke Award, finalist

John W. Campbell Memorial Award, finalist

Sputnik Award, finalist


“Okorafor triumphs over the perils of the prequel by making the inevitable feel newly dreadful. Blending poetic passages with sharp observation and the occasional cadence of a story told by firelight, “THE BOOK OF PHOENIX” is an assured introduction not just to her world’s myths, but to the process of mythmaking.”
The New York Times
“Okorafor’s inventiveness is as stunning as ever, and the ending is nothing short of spectacular.”
-Gary Wolfe, The Chicago Tribune


“This is a story of vengeance, a fantastic epic battle between good and evil; written as a fable for the future.”

-Barnes & Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog

“Action, excitement, and exotic locales abound, but the book is grounded by its unflinching exposure of the brutalities of colonialism, racism, and greed, and exalted by the beauty of Okorafor’s prose.”

Library Journal (*Starred Review*)

“Okorafor, here, has confirmed for me that she’s doing some of the most interesting work in the genre right now—and perhaps outside of it, too, combining a multinational, politically challenging, brilliant voice with the narrative expectations of science fiction and fantasy. It’s a marriage of styles and tropes that I think works delightfully well to birth something original, sharp, thoughtful and evocative.”


A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Book of Spring 2015

Publishers Weekly

“It is possible that Nnedi Okorafor has invented a new genre; not quite fantasy, not quite magical realism; not quite sci-fi; not quite speculative fiction; not quite young adult, she takes the best of these and adds something else and I can only think to call her genre – simultaneity. With a beguiling elegance she weaves danger, possibility and history into a deeply human pursuit for justice and transformation. In this new book, with this rebirth of the Phoenix these all come together with a breathtaking ease. A rare and unique voice in a very strong book. Read it.”

-Nigerian author Chris Abani – The Secret History of Las Vegas and GraceLand.

“Phoenix- who has wings and can set things on fire just by touching them- is an arresting character: thoughtful, rash, caring and increasingly (justifiably) angry. A short, sharp novel which packs a lot of thematic and action-sequence punch.”

SFX Magazine (UK)

“[The Book of Phoenix] is a gripping examination of the power of myth and of who is allowed to write and preserve history…Okorafor’s fantastical “The Book of Phoenix” has that ring of truth, a superlative adventure that addresses all-too-harsh realities.”

The San Fransisco Chronicle

“For all its grim corporate dystopianism and moments of tragedy and startling violence, The Book of Phoenix is actually a more playful and experimental novel than Who Fears Death, and in a weird and unsettling way, it’s a lot of fun.”

Locus Magazine

“Okorafor established her fascination with black girls flying in her very first novel, Zahrah the Windseeker (2008), a young adult fairy tale. Her fascination with flight has only grown, and our travels with Phoenix bring nuance to the exhilaration and annoyances of having such a large wingspan.”

-The LA Review of Books

“Although it is a prequel to 2010’s Who Fears Death, The Book of Phoenix stands perfectly well on its own. While the grim logic of the plot makes it very clear early on how the plot must play out, the process is as entrancing as watching an avalanche sweep toward you, and Okorafor’s prose is, as ever, enthralling. “
-RT Books Reviews

“Even more amazing than the other two Nnedi Okorafor books I’ve read. A 6-star novel, if there is such a thing. Here is yet another sympathetic, multi-layered heroine at the helm of a hypnotic story. While “The Book of Phoenix” is certainly a pulse-pounding sci-fi novel, it also tackles colonialism and non-consensual medical experimentation and is laced with acute moments of both human innocence and human cruelty. Okorafor continues to be a fearless, original, captivating, and heartfelt writer.”
-a bookseller at Old Firehouse Books in Ft. Collins, CO

Reading this was like seeing Jurassic Park for the first time in the theatre, the way something surreal and uncanny can seem to fit so fluidly into a vision of our world. I cannot wait to read Okorafor’s other books now.

-William Owen, Digital Production Manager at Penguin Books