Review: Rosewater by Tade Thompson (Wormwood #1)


Rosewater by Tade Thompson // VBC ReviewRosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy #1)
Tade Thompson
Published: Sept. 18, 2018 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Rosewater is a city in a near-future Nigeria that formed around a mysterious alien biodome that appeared eleven years ago. Every year, the dome opens and releases healing to those gathered around the dome. This is known as The Opening, and it attracts people from all over, especially those with medical issues.

Kaaro is a sensitive whose ability has brought him into the notice of a government agency, S45. He has lived in Rosewater from the beginning and has even been inside the biodome, an occurrence he has no intention of repeating. But when other sensitives like Kaaro begin dying, he’ll have to go against his superiors in order to figure out what’s really happening.

Tade Thompson’s Rosewater presents such a strange and fascinating future. But it’s the fact that it’s not so different from our present that makes certain aspects truly eerie.

Rosewater follows a “then” and “now” narrative showing the beginnings of Rosewater and then the current state of sensitives dying respectively. The story drives almost towards an intersection of these timelines as we get closer to learning about the possible motivations for the lifeform landing on Earth.

Kaaro is an interesting choice as our main character. He doesn’t fill what one would think of as the classic hero role. He even on occasion says essentially that same sentiment. His working for the government has been a role more forced upon him than a mutually agreed upon job. He’ll buck authority, yet also fulfill the tasks given to him, he just likes to do it in his own way, in his own time.

The world in Rosewater was particularly intriguing. It’s a rather contained story with everything taking place within Nigeria. But every time another place in the world was mentioned in passing it would always draw my attention. Like the fact that America has apparently cut off all communication with anyone outside the continent. I’m so interested to find out what is going on in the rest of the world, and how it’s all connected to the alien lifeform currently in Rosewater and the event of its “landing.” Tade Thompson doesn’t give readers much in the way of answers to these musings, and with the title of the second book being The Rosewater Insurrection I can’t imagine that we’ll move out of our current location.

There are a lot of interesting secondary characters that Kaaro encounters. The ending of Rosewater left me feeling that it equally tied up Kaaro’s conflicts yet left the overarching conflicts open. I’d love to see another character take up the mantle and see the world from their perspective. If anything is for certain, Rosewater is full of the unexpected.

Sexual content: sex

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