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LIKE THUNDER by Nnedi Okorafor


by Nnedi Okorafor

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 2023
ISBN: 9780756418793
Publisher: DAW

A supernaturally gifted teenager haunted by lost memories shares what he remembers of his story in this Africanfuturist tale.

Decades ago, a nuclear catastrophe known as the Great Change destroyed society as we know it and split apart the boundaries between worlds. The disaster gave birth to the Changed Ones: people who can control the elements, wield light as a weapon, or see into another creature's very spirit. As a storm-wielding rainmaker, Dikéogu Obidimkpa is a Changed teenager who takes refuge in Timia—where fierce anti-Change sentiments thrive—following his escape from a cocoa plantation. There, he meets Tumaki, a prominent imam's electrician daughter, and the two soon find themselves in the throes of a heady—and largely off-page—romance. All is not well in Timia, however, and genocidal sentiments against the Changed Ones ramp up, culminating in a monstrous attack on Dikéogu and Tumaki's hiding place. Dikéogu wakes up half-delirious in the desert a year later, with little memory of what transpired in the interim. Left with a strange puzzle to solve, he seeks out his old allies—including his first love, Ejii, whose story was told in The Shadow Speaker (2007)—and begins to piece together not only what happened to his girlfriend, but also the mystery of a reticent Ejii's shocking experiences. Okorafor pulls no punches here, openly drawing connections between the public's mistreatment and distrust of the Changed Ones to genocidal campaigns around the world. Many bigoted characters use the term "cockroach" to refer to Changed people, a direct reference to the Rwandan genocide. Eagle-eyed readers will also spot quiet criticisms of contemporary internet celebrities in general, and family influencers in particular.

An emotional near-future novel that will keep readers turning pages even as their mountain of questions grows larger.