A Week of Reading #5 [January 29th – February 4th] // Weekly 2020 Book Reviews

As mentioned in A Week of Reading #1, this series is a weekly wrap-up series of the books I’m reading and finishing each week. Each post will pick up where the last one left off, in terms of the number book I’m on for the year.

Book Fourteen: Shuri, Vol. 1 by Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Leonardo Romero & Jordie Bellaire (4.5/5 stars)

One of my favorite movies of all time is Black Panther, so it’s no surprise that a comic featuring one of the best characters from that world would intrigue me. In this, we follow Princess Shuri, sister to the Black Panther and the King of Wakanda. As most know, Shuri is a tech genius and one of the smartest, if not the smartest, mind in the Marvel universe. In this collection of comics, King T’Challa goes on a space mission into a wormhole. After two weeks, he has not returned, and the wise people of Wakanda want Shuri to lead them as the Black Panther until her brother returns. Shuri rejects this responsibility; when she was the Black Panther before, it was not a pleasant experience. Throughout the comic, Shuri is rejecting against this responsibility, all while trying to keep ancestral spirits at bay and find her brother. We also have some cameos from Groot and Rocket (from Guardians of the Galaxy) and Iron Man! I enjoyed this collection of comics and definitely will be continuing on with the series. Shuri is a complex character, and the comic does a great job exploring her complicated relationship with her brother, even when he’s only present for the first two pages. Shuri has always been second fiddle to her brother, who was first a future king and then a king; her entire existence has been shadowed by and in service of her brother. Even in his absence, she is expected to pick up the mantle he held and be the leader he was; this doesn’t vibe with Shuri, who would rather serve her people technologically and from the sidelines. Plus, she has her own trauma with the role of Black Panther that no one seems to either know about or take into consideration. There’s interesting themes of duty before self and technology/science vs. spirituality.

Book Fifteen: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #2) by Jenny Han (4/5 stars)

In To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean’s super personal love letters are somehow mailed to all the boys she’s ever had an intense crush on. One of these boys, Peter, she still goes to school with; and, together, they hatch a plan to fake date in order to get out of some sticky social situations. In P.S. I Still Love You, we pick up where we left off in the first books. This was definitely super cute. I was rooting for Peter until I wasn’t, and I’m honestly not completely satisfied with the ending. Lara Jean definitely deserves better than what she is settling for; and I’m interested to see how her story continues in the final book. I will say, she definitely has a lot of growth and matures quite a bit from the first book, and there’s a lot less slut-shaming in this book. I will definitely be continuing on and reading the final book soon.

Book Sixteen: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (4/5 stars)

To continue on with my dive into works by Nnedi Okorafor and because Shuri, Vol. 1 was so good, I moved on to Binti. This is actually a re-read for me. Binti wants nothing more than to attend Oozma University, a school on a planet distant from her own home planet Earth. Binti, however, is from a people (the Himba) who never leave home or venture beyond their planet. So, when Binti, her family’s new master harmonizer and a newly admitted student at Oozma University, sneaks away and makes the trip to start the beginning of her future, she is sure scandal will ensue. What does happen on her journey off-planet, however, is worse than she can imagine. Binti comes into contact with an alien race, the Meduse, who are feared by those of her home planet, and it might just be up to her to help mediate peace. When I read it for the first time back in March, I had initially given it 3.5 stars, but reading it again has given me a deeper appreciation for the storytelling and world-building. For a story that’s only 101 pages, this felt completely full. Okorafor does masterful world-building in not a lot of words, and the story feels complete. I will definitely be continuing on with the series.

Book Seventeen: BINTI: Home (Binti, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor (4.5/5 stars)

With this next installment in the Binti series, we’re given so much more information and world-building. Binti is a character that experiences so much growth in such a short amount of pages. In Home, Binti must deal with the repercussions of her actions in the first book, what it means to be a young woman in her society who has her abilities and has made her decisions, and what that means for herself. There’s also an interesting discussion about self-hate among black people that Binti navigates at some point throughout the book.

Book Eighteen: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling (5/5 stars)

I hope the Harry Potter books follow this trend of only getting better as I continue on! In the second book of the Harry Potter series, Harry is back at Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione. Strange things are happening and students are put in danger, and we learn a little bit more about Harry’s special connect with the Dark Lord Voldemort. I really enjoyed the heavy mystery aspect of this book. This was present in the first book, The Sorcerer’s Stone, but I really felt it in this installment. What I also loved about this book is we definitely see Harry and Ron step up to the plate, and Harry is actually so damn sassy, I love it! I’m looking forward to continuing my re-read of the series throughout the year!

That’s it for this Week of Reading! Look out for my next one, which will be posted sometime next week! Let me know in the comments what books you read in the fifth week of 2020!

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