A review by moonlitemuseum
Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi

challenging dark emotional informative reflective sad medium-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? It's complicated


As soon as I finished Freshwater I knew that I would be chewing the fat of it in my brain for months, and resigned myself to the fact that I would be rereading it within months -- it was hard, honestly, not to begin re-reading it right away. 

Emezi's prose sizzles and burns, writhes into your brain and sets off sparks; the fracturing of the protagonist's identity from birth is told with religious reverence, the traumas Ada faces are perfect horror, and the tenacity and vivaciousness of Asughara feels raw, clear and justified.

Ada's personalities are communicated with clarity and intimacy, and the collective's struggle to be seen, to wrestle with Ada's alleged destiny and her desire to be human is heartrending.

This novel is unforgettable but it is brutal and it is precise. I had to read it in several sittings due to the intensity of what is depicted within it, but the time spent with it was incredible, and I think it is well worth the time to sink into Ada's identity and learn the leylines of her inner mythology.

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