Usually when I review a book that’s already been covered on CBR multiple times, I try not to read anybody else’s reviews until mine is written. This time, however, I read everything the search function could find for me. I remembered from headlines that some people loved this Hugo/Nebula-winning book, and some people did not. I listened to the audio version on my way to Thanksgiving, and enjoyed it, so was curious what others thought.
I think the audio version may have helped, having Binti talk to me while I was on the road. I liked her very much, and even though I’ve gotten kind of sick of “super-smart/gifted/talented teenage hero in peril” stories, I was interested to see how she got out of her predicament. I liked the vagueness of the world-building, weirdly; it reminded me of Mad Max: Fury Road, where you’re just thrown into the story and expected to keep up.
Binti is a young math prodigy who runs away from her “we don’t travel – ever!” culture on Earth to accept a place in a space university. On the ship there, hostile aliens kill everyone but her. She learns to communicate with them (with the help of a convenient magic mystery space rock) and her status as an outsider brings two cultures together. It’s all pretty quick and pat, so I understand the criticisms about that. A lot gets solved and forgiven very fast. But I enjoyed her character and her adventure enough to overlook it, I guess.
I did not realize when I started the road trip that this was only a novella, and it was over half an hour into my return trip – oops. Thank goodness for My Favorite Murder!