Book Review: Sister Mine, by Nalo Hopkinson

Hachette Book Group
305 pp.

Makeda and Abby are formerly conjoined twins who have family problems complicated by half of their family being gods and the other half of their family being the servitors of those gods. The children of a fertility god and a mortal woman, Abby was born with magical abilities related to music, but Makeda was apparently born without. This eventually causes a great deal of stress on the twin’s relationship, which prompts Makeda to make an attempt to live on her own.

Makeda is only partially successful. She manages to find a cheap apartment but finds herself drawn into family troubles when her father–currently stuck in mortal form and confined to an elder care facility–disappears. This results in a number of adventures complicated by her godly relatives, occasional attacks by a homicidal “haint,” her ongoing conflict with her sister and the possibility that she might have magic after all.

As far as writing style is concerned, I was strongly reminded of Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s novels. This book has the same kind of complex (and occasionally slightly dysfunctional) family relationships that Hoffman tends to write. The various members of Abby and Makeda’s family are written sympathetically but without any assumption that they are in the right. Truth is complicated and it seems that Makeda and Abby’s family have a tendency to hide various truths in an effort to protect the protagonist.

This was a very entertaining book, though I occasionally found the pacing somewhat frustrating. As more events occur Makeda is drawn from one scene to another without a lot of resolution or returning to a previous scene. (Our Protagonist has a very busy few days, in other words.) The story does go forward, but it seemed to take a lot of side trips in order to get there. Aside from the pacing, I really enjoyed the complicated interactions between the characters, especially between Abby and Makeda. The world building is interesting, weaving African Diaspora religion and folklore into a truly engaging story about family.

Sister Mine on Amazon

Sister Mine on Powell’s Books

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Filed under fantasy, Nalo Hopkinson, Review: Book

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