Ahoy there me mateys! This be the fifth book in me Ports for Plunder – 19 Books in 2019 list. I wanted to read this ever since seeing Sarah @ theillustratedpage’s post called “10 Science Fiction Books By Authors of Color” back on 11/20/17. In 2018 I read Thompson’s novella, the murders of molly southbourne, and adored it. So in 2019 I finally made time to read rosewater. Sarah’s post described the book thusly:
Nigeria, 2066. Kaaro lives in the city of Rosewater, a settlement that grew up around an alien biodome. He spends his days providing psychic protection for a bank, but secretly, he’s the most powerful psychic of Section 35, a secret agency within the Nigerian government. As other psychics begin dying one by one, Kaaro will defy the agency to find an answer.
Thompson brings his futuristic vision of Nigeria to stunning life, complete with psychics and strange alien organisms.
.Secret psychic agent in 2066 and aliens. Aye, ye scalawags! The aliens in this novel are housed in a dome just outside the city of Rosewater. Once a year the dome opens and whoever is nearby can be cured of any ailments they have. Cancer, broken arm, whatever – gone – but there are some unsavoury consequences that can occur too. There is no guarantee for the sick but hope makes for a huge tourist industry during the Opening. Kaaro has been in the dome and is rather jaded about the whole ceremony. And life.
After reading Thompson’s novella, I knew that this was going to be different in terms of style and it was. There are three separate timelines which did take some getting used to. One timeline involves Kaaro as a young man and how he used his newfound abilities as a thief. There is another timeline with Kaaro’s life as a secret agent. And then there is the present. The setting of this book is dark, gritty, and can be nasty. Torture and murder are rampant and present on the page. I absolutely loved the world-building in this one and the projections Thompson chose to make about the political climate moving forward from our era. There are a lot of moving parts but with a small bit of effort on me part, the tale turned out to be so worth it.
So if ye like a blend of film noir, first contact with aliens, psychics, murder mystery, dreamscapes, characters with complicated pasts, excellent world-building, puzzles, a plausible future world, and a little bit of romance etc. then ye should pick this one up. It seems intimidating but I know that any crew members of mine are up to the challenge. The destination is worth it. Arrrrr!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
Tade Thompson’s Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices.
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
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