Tade Thompson’s Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices.
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless—people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn’t care to again—but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I was less keen on this book. I think others may find it more relatable and insightful than me. Certainly an interesting book for general conversation and books clubs.
I read this one for Life’s Library Book Club.
I quite enjoyed some of the concepts, but overall I felt like I read a lot but not reading anything at all. About a quarter to half of the way is when I started to skim read because I didn’t follow it well, a bit word salad and concept, it also weaved in and out of subjects I had mixed interest in.
Certain topics I thought I would really embrace, but felt the execution of them fell a bit flat. I think I was kind of hoping for more astronomical concepts, in a more speculative fashion of the Fermi paradox, wormholes, dark matter and energy, time.
I’m also not so much of a fan of anatomical word substitutions in most instances, especially ones that are noun, verb, noun. On that note, I felt like I was reading the most inner thoughts of a hormonal teenage boy which is not something I was interested in reading about to the extent and number of times that it did.
I thought there was foundation for a great idea to take off and land nicely, but the world building lacked substance in depth, though there were many interesting concepts at play but too many concepts for me to keep track of. Bunny trails into other concepts when I wanted to know more about the single topic at hand, rather than veering off into multiple scenarios I was less interested in.
I got lost and then there was this flipping of timeline which compounded my less than satisfying reading experience.
Technically most bits were ok except it felt dry. Not dry in that it lacked detail and descriptions, but overall structure was a yo-yo of single words mixed with more elaborate sentences no matter who was talking. The narration and dialogue amongst characters therefore was not distinguishable and lacked depth of character and insight into who they really were so from that standpoint it was difficult for me to keep track of them in my mind.
I felt it to be somewhat outside looking in.
The ideas were there but it somehow turned into a secondhand reading experience and I’m not sure why. It’s not that I doubt the experiences of the author and how they were integrated into the book, but sometimes when you pick up a book that has more elements of sourcing material rather than firsthand experiences speaking, it lacks this luster and insight into the world they want to convey. That’s how this book felt to me, less emotionally connected, less real, less authentic or deep, unassisted look into this creative world that was presented much more superficially than this visceral, thought-and-feeling-provoking story that I wanted to read.
I saw elements of genuine intent but expanded to a structurally heavy story and it was just too much clutter for my taste.
I’d be curious to read more from this author as some of the concepts were really interesting.
My Favorite Lines
“Think of something you love, something you hate, something you fear, something disgusting or beautiful. Something you find impressive.”
View all my reviews