Tag Archives: Africa

Pandemic (The Extinction Files Book #1) by A.G. Riddle (review by Saloni S. ’21)

Pandemic (The Extinction Files #1)Pandemic by A.G. Riddle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bioterrorism. We’ve read about it in the news, heard from the TV anchors, but have we truly understood the plausibility of a global pandemic from a bioterrorist attack?

In the seven hundred page science fiction novel Pandemic, the first book in the Extinction series, author A.G. Riddle explores our vulnerability to a pandemic in an interconnected, global world; Conner McClain, head of a group of scientists known as “the Citium”, releases a deadly viral strain deep into the heart of the developing countries of Africa. While these events are taking place, protagonists Desmond Hughes, who is struggling to regain his memories, and Peyton Shaw, an epidemiologist at the CDC, scramble to find the cause and cure of this outbreak before it takes even more lives. This well-researched novel takes us deep into the world of the epidemiologists and public health workers who place themselves in danger in order to save the lives of others.

As the disease spreads across continents infecting and killing millions, Shaw and Hughes unveil treacherous secrets hidden deep inside the core of the Citium and tirelessly work to save the human race and to apprehend the criminals behind this deadly attack. Throughout this engaging novel, Riddle combines science and historic facts with the thrill of an action-packed story, further enthralling the reader. By alternating among different characters’ points of view, the author intimately communicates the heart-wrenching emotions from each stunning revelation, drawing the reader deeper into the storyline. You won’t be able to put this book down.

I read Pandemic on a plane and definitely enjoyed it more than watching movies; the book also makes one appreciate the importance of research and resources invested in the early identification of pathogens and response mechanisms. Overall, Pandemic is a great story and I would definitely recommend this book to a reader who wishes to read an enthralling, informative science fiction novel. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Genome, which will be released in October this year! – Saloni S. ’21

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Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (review by Andrew R. ’17)

AmericanahAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Americanah bears all the hallmarks of the traditional epic story: between the protagonist Ifemelu’s emigration from Nigeria to the other side of the Atlantic, sparking a long process of depression, race-inspired musing, and eventual financial success, and her childhood friend Obinze’s thwarted attempt to make a life for himself in London, the novel encompasses all the heartbreak, alienation, and self-realization that characterizes the best epic novels. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has crafted a novel that handles a difficult topic—race relations, especially in the cultural interactions between African-Americans and non-American blacks—incisively and powerfully while refusing to pander to the reader’s opinions or reservations. Every character (and, given the prodigious heft of this novel, there are many) is treated with a rare mixture of sympathy and harsh honesty, resulting in a cast that strikes the reader as impressively human. Maybe the conclusion, when Ifemelu comes to terms with the personal changes her decade and a half of Americanization has wrought, trails off less powerfully than a novel of this magnitude deserves, but overall Americanah easily proved one of the best books I encountered all year: utterly convincing and unapologetic, the kind of book that it would be a shame to miss.

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The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor (review by Monica K. ’14)

The Shadow SpeakerThe Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Born after the Great Change, fourteen year old Ejii has had to deal with complex family issues, her erratic shadow speaker powers, and the mistrust of other West African villagers all her life. Now, in order to control her emerging powers she must travel into the desert, where she will encounter strange and mystical creatures in her journey of self-discovery. In The Shadow Speaker, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu creates a wonderfully rich world while balancing Ejii’s personal growth and overarching social commentary. This book features a strong, likable female lead as well as interesting cultural elements Highly recommended to anyone in the mood for a refreshing yet layered read. – Monica K. ‘14

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