REVIEW: “Clanfall: Death of Kings” by Odida Nyabundi

Review of Odida Nyabundi, “Clanfall: Death of Kings”, in Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, ed., Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora, (Aurelia Leo, 2020) — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology).

This was a glorious, brilliant, wild ride of a story, of warring clans (the Fisi, the Simba, the Chui, the Kobe), of futuristic tech, and of a warrior heroine to shout and cheer on. There’s a lot thrust upon the reader right at the beginning — different names, different people, different types of equipment — and the lines between robot, battlegear, alien, and human are often blurred. But the story is long enough that the onslaught of unknown at the beginning eventually tapers off and the pieces start becoming clearer and fitting together.

I would have liked to see more of Shibuor, heroine and princess of the Simba Clan — she was the one who caught my attention and aroused my sympathy. In the end, it felt like she was primarily a foil for the male characters in the story, robbed of a full chance to exercise her agency, which was disappointing considering how strong and active she started out.

This is only a moderate complaint, though: I still enjoyed this one quite a bit.