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Review // Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi-a redemption or another dystopian

Onyebuchi in Riot Baby depicts a fatherless family with a society-battered woman, a faulty super heiress, and a trouble magnet son. After the mother dies due to cancer, and the son is incarcerated for what the system makes him do, he asks:  What happens? Redemption or another Black Life Riot.

When you have within you the power to wreck cities & see the future. You tend to overlook the fragility of family and immerse yourself in the chaos of a wider world. In a now-more-than-ever-relevant dystopian. Tochi warns us that Black American crises like racial profiling, police brutality, and broken families will always exist. Brewing below, the calm of innocence and curiosity.

In a viewpoint that combines the dynamism of an omniscient perspective with the intimacy of the first person, balance, not even peace, and hope, not even compromise, makes its presence felt more clearly. As I immerse myself into Ella, seeing what she sees, using a superpower with no manual, nearly being killed and trying to kill another. Fear waters down into freedom, family builds up into an incarcerated companionship. All symbolism tells a tale of when would we say never again.

riot baby cover picture

Kev, born while Los Angeles was on fire, continues to burn into the precipice of jail. It is as if a part of him magnets into the ironic calm the prison can bring. Despite warning by friends, half enemies and Ella, robbery gives him up to jail. And in jail, He seems as if it isn’t him who is in jail, almost like a part of who he is, separated from him. He is then forced to see as this part of him gets beaten and lacking a chance to be human.

Riot Baby Quotes

When you have a purpose that doesn’t involve hurting someone else, it changes the way you walk.

Baby, that’s just the Devil at work. But you know there’s more out there than just the Devil.

Riot Baby Awards and nominations

Nebula Award for Best Novella Nominated

Goodreads Choice for Science Fiction Nominated

2021 Alex Award Won

Locus Award for Best Novella Nominated

World Fantasy Award for Best Novella Won

Hugo Award for Best Novella Nominated

Nommo Award for Best Novella Shortlisted

Ignyte Award for Best Novella Won

About the author of Riot Baby

Originally from Nigeria, Tochi Onyebuchi is a science fiction writer from the United States and a former civil rights attorney. His first adult novel, Riot Baby, was nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award and Nommo Award in 2020.

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