Reviews

Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

zbarty's review against another edition

Go to review page

  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No

3.5

tvislife's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

This was an uncomfortable read, both in the sense that the subject matter was dark and the writing style was hard to follow. It came off as poetic and mystical, but you had to read each line carefully and devote your whole attention to it (tbh maybe that’s how you’re supposed to read books, but that’s not what I typically do; i like my books to be easy enough that I can be distracted by life while reading and not get lost). 

I disliked the main character (or at least, one of her), and got mad at myself for disliking her; it seemed to go against the purpose of the book. As much as I appreciate the insight into a “fractured” mind like this (and it was for sure fascinating and satisfied my curiosity for learning about people that experience life differently), I just didn’t enjoy myself as much as I hoped to. 

Would I read this again? No. But I do admire what it does, and I am glad I read it. 

kuub's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

clancy's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? N/A
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


Expand filter menu Content Warnings

nicolek's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.25

talahui's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

I wanted to like this book so much, and there were several pieces that were quite strong, but it never came together for me.

books_and_coffee's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

I hate to sound cliche, but "stunning" is an apropos word for this story, since reading it is shock to the system, both because of its beautiful, supernatural prose and its raw and heavy imagery. The way Emezi's visionary mind grasps and distills intangible concepts kind of makes mine hurt.

I am not entirely opposed to madness, not when it comes with this kind of clarity. The world in my head has been far more real than the one outside--maybe that's the exact definition of madness, come to think of it.


If it seems like this review is just a bunch of misty adjectives, it's probably because...well, it is. This story is too expansive to be easily summarized or pinpointed, so I am left to paint the ethereal immensity with under-serving words as best I can. Told from the perspective of multiple personalities, this is a rich and layered exploration of all the elements of self, of awareness and perspective, of sanity and mental health, of the lived experience, of identity.

By the time she (our body) struggled out into the world, slick and louder than a village of storms, the gates were left open.


We've always wanted to think that it was a careless thing the gods did, rather than a deliberate neglect. But what we think barely matters, even being who we are to them: their child. [...]They are about as gentle with their own children as they are with yours. Perhaps, even less so, because your children are just weak bags of flesh with a timed soul. We, on the other hand--their children, the hatchlings, goslings, ogbanje--can endure so much more horror.


The way topics of rape, body detachment, transgender, multiple selves, relationships, multiple selves were discussed was eye-opening.

When you break something, you must study the pattern of the shattering before you can piece it back together.


Freshwater is one of the most impactful books I've read. It was enlightening and foreign, yet eerily relatable. Although it is anything but a light read, Emezi's words are remarkably easy, absorbing, and propelling.

But I loved him and that made him more than human to me. Love is transformative in that way.


Thanks for the ARC. I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed.

engoldment's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

mcipswitch's review against another edition

Go to review page

challenging dark emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

This is pure brilliance.

sarahoninternet's review against another edition

Go to review page

5.0

What a strange and beautiful book!