The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Orkorafor
The Night Masquerade is the third book in the Biniti trilogy. I don't want to think about it being the last book in this series, I'm hoping that there will be more. I also understand that trilogies only have three books.
I'm in book denial.
Also, spoilers ahead.
Binti is a young woman from earth and the first of her tribe to leave the planet and attend the Intergalactic school called Oomza Uni. The first two books in the series describe her incredible and harrowing journey to the university and her first year at school. Book three puts Binti back on earth and on a mission to end the violence between the Khoush and the Meduse.
The Night Masquerade opens with Binti trying to reach her family after experiencing their deaths in a terrifying nightmare. She makes this journey with Mwinyi, a young man from her father's tribe who is helping her after she has her zinariya abilities unlocked. I am not going to pretend to understand everything that she experienced. Needless to say, it was intense and life changing. Along their journey, Binti is faced with her new abilities, visions of the Night Masquerade, a war between two enemies, and the loss of her family.
Did I mention she's only 17?
Orkorafor's writing is magical. You can feel the sand beneath your feet as Binti is traveling through the desert. You can smell her otjize as she applies it to her skin. I really want to travel in one of those space shrimps. It sounds amazing-traveling through space in a living creature who has plants growing inside of her.
One thing that I love about this series is Binti always knows who she is. She truly believes in her abilities and doesn't back down or let others shake her confidence. She is proud of her math abilities and the skill of her family members. Her family is well respected because of their skill in creating the best astrolabes-small devices that individuals wear. They are not seen as lower class because they work with their hands.
Towards the end of the book, an event occurs with Biniti that took all my willpower to not read the last few pages to see how it all ended. And I mean all my willpower.