Thursday, March 7, 2019

Review: The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson

*The Rosewater Insurrection will be available Tuesday, March 12th from Orbit!*

The Rosewater Insurrection
The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson
Orbit, 2019
Publication Date: March 12th, 2019
Paperback. 416 pages.

About The Rosewater Insurrection:

"The Rosewater Insurrection continues the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. 

All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. 

The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood...'"

I read and reviewed Rosewater back in November and absolutely loved it for its inventiveness and fresh take on the sci-fi genre. I was excited to read this sequel because I knew it would follow more of Aminat's character, and on that count this book absolutely delivered. The Rosewater Insurrection picks up pretty quickly after the events of the first book, which made it easy to jump right back into it. 

I can't go into any specifics in this review because I don't want to give anything away, but the premise mainly focuses on Aminat as she is set to track down a woman who has proven to be vitally important to the survival of the human race itself. In addition to Aminat's storyline, we also largely follow Jack Jacques (a tongue-twister of a name for me), mayor of Rosewater, who is fighting to make Rosewater independent from Nigeria and thus angering the Nigerian president in the process.

The simple, matter-of-fact writing style that was present in Rosewater was just as strong here in the sequel and it also continued to keep be a style that kept me engaged. There's something about the clear cut style that helps me follow along an otherwise potentially complex plotline with many components to explore. Thompson does a wonderful job of examining the human vs. alien dynamic and how this sort of 'invasion' onto Earth could occur and what the ramifications of that could be. There are a lot of thoughtful themes to explore on this matter and that is also what makes these books so incredible. I also think the way that Thompson created his alien species was really inventive and had so many possibilities attached to it that kept me wanting to know more about them.

As mentioned, The Rosewater Insurrection follows both Aminat and Jack as its main protagonists, but it also occasionally jumps to a man named Eric's POV. Eric is the only POV that jumps between various time periods, so if the back and forth POVs of the first book were frustrating for you then you'll appreciate this book's much more linear storytelling. There are one or two other characters that pop up throughout the book, but these are also minimal and add some interesting extra elements. Aminat continues to be an awesome character who I really enjoy following. She's tough and not someone I'd want to mess with, but she's certainly not heartless or without care for others, both of which are traits that make her a well-rounded and engaging character.

The only less than positive thing I have to say about this book is that I felt slightly disassociated with the actions of the story at times. I've been trying to determine whether this was a personal issue since I read this during a couple of anxiety/stress-heavy days or whether there was something about the narrative that held me at a bit of an arm's length. There was just something about this book that didn't pull me in or make me feel quite as invested as I was with the first book. Things seemed to happen too quickly and I think part of it might simply be that I never had a chance to really ingratiate myself into the world since everyone was constantly on the move. A slight slowing of the pacing might have benefited this book.

Overall, I've given The Rosewater Insurrection four stars! If you enjoyed Rosewater, then I highly recommend you pick up the sequel if you weren't already planning to do so. If you didn't like Rosewater due to the POV and time shifts, then I still recommend you pick this one up and give it another chance! The alien/human aspect of this book is fascinating and totally worth the read.

Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

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