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A myth-like novel that's 'original in its approach to magic'

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'Who Fears Death' by Nnedi Okorafor
'Who Fears Death' by Nnedi Okorafor
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Joe Chevalier from Yellow Dog Bookshop in Columbia, Mo.

Need your next can't-put-it-down read?

Bookseller Joe Chevalier recommends "Who Fears Death" by Nnedi Okorafor.

It's so engrossing, Chevalier almost missed his flight at the airport because he didn't realize how much time had passed while he was tearing through it.

Okorafor is a prolific, critically acclaimed author who mixes fantasy and sci-fi elements to thrilling effect in her fiction.

"Who Fears Death" is a "fantasy, vaguely science fiction book set in a future Africa," Chevalier said.

"The protagonist is a biracial child, a child of rape, who grows up with this knowledge and ends up developing magical powers. [She] becomes a reluctant messiah figure and sets out on a quest to both destroy her father and attempt to heal the rifts between the two races in her region," Chevalier said.

"I love the arc of the story. I don't think anyone is writing like this right now, dealing with these sorts of issues, these kinds of characters. It's very original in its approach to magic."

Chevalier said the book is like "reading the beginning of a myth, even though it's set in the future. It's a powerful, gripping story, and a story you immediately fall into."

"Who Fears Death" may also soon be on TV: It was optioned by HBO, with George R.R. Martin — of "Game of Thrones" fame — attached as a producer.

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