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The Rosewater Redemption

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The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city's alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends... Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity's last line of defense. Tade Thompson's innovative, genre-bending, Afrofuturist series, the Wormwood Trilogy, is perfect for fans of Jeff Vandermeer, N. K. Jemisin, William Gibson, and Ann Leckie. The Wormwood TrilogyRosewaterThe Rosewater InsurrectionThe Rosewater Redemption


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The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn't everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn't willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city's alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends... Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity's last line of defense. Tade Thompson's innovative, genre-bending, Afrofuturist series, the Wormwood Trilogy, is perfect for fans of Jeff Vandermeer, N. K. Jemisin, William Gibson, and Ann Leckie. The Wormwood TrilogyRosewaterThe Rosewater InsurrectionThe Rosewater Redemption

30 review for The Rosewater Redemption

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    This, the final book in The Wormwood Trilogy, was as enjoyably imaginative, trippy, and compelling as the first two books. Tade Thompson’s work is a delightfully original mashup of tropes including alien invasions, comic book-style superpowers, afrofuturism, and badass female cops. He’s definitely a writer to watch, with a great ear for dialogue, a welcome skill at crafting surprising plots, and an invigorating blend of dark humor and authentic heart.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    All three of these Wormwood books are perfect for Weird fans. Not that you have to be weird as a fan to enjoy them, merely that you must enjoy Weird fiction, be tolerant of cthulhu-like alien entities who provide rather miraculous services in return for a foothold in humanity. Wait. Isn't this just an alien invasion story? Sure, like Fight Club is just a story about self-help groups. We get a solid return for main characters in the previous two, get thrown into time-travel, end-of-the-world, last- All three of these Wormwood books are perfect for Weird fans. Not that you have to be weird as a fan to enjoy them, merely that you must enjoy Weird fiction, be tolerant of cthulhu-like alien entities who provide rather miraculous services in return for a foothold in humanity. Wait. Isn't this just an alien invasion story? Sure, like Fight Club is just a story about self-help groups. We get a solid return for main characters in the previous two, get thrown into time-travel, end-of-the-world, last-stand alien repulsion, and, surprisingly, a rather large part of the novel deals with gay rights. The subtext is solid, but it never gets in the way of the over-arching tale. Which is big. It spans across a lot of countries and across a theoretically huge amount of time, and although there IS time travel in this, it doesn't take up a lot of page-time. I loved the big story. I enjoyed seeing old characters come back. I wasn't as impressed with the amount of character-building in this one as compared to the first or especially the second books, but it felt like a pretty good send-up to me. The most impressive part of these books is the all-out genre-bending courage it takes to make them. I'm a big fan of Tade when it comes to this. His two novellas gave me a huge wonderful taste and three out of five novels pretty much solidified it. Imagination is key. They're full of it. :)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gabi

    A worthy, fast paced ending to this outstanding SF series. Colour me a Tade Thompson fan girl. The final solution fell a bit flat for me, therefore 'only' 4 stars. Yet the buildup had all the wonderful blunt prose spiked with humor and self-deprecation that I adore. We learn more about Oyin Da as all the embosomed characters once more enter the stage trying to save (with varying success) humankind - while Layi only wants to join the first Rosewater Pride march, just in case he turns out gay. I hig A worthy, fast paced ending to this outstanding SF series. Colour me a Tade Thompson fan girl. The final solution fell a bit flat for me, therefore 'only' 4 stars. Yet the buildup had all the wonderful blunt prose spiked with humor and self-deprecation that I adore. We learn more about Oyin Da as all the embosomed characters once more enter the stage trying to save (with varying success) humankind - while Layi only wants to join the first Rosewater Pride march, just in case he turns out gay. I highly recommend the trilogy to anybody who likes alien aliens, inventive worldbuilding, genuine, layered characters and mindboggling SF ideas. For me one of the big highlights of the last years and a sure candidate for several enjoyable re-reads. Thank you, Mr. Thompson!

  4. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    Spectacular ending to the epic trilogy about a slow-burn alien invasion centred in a breakaway ex-Nigerian city-republic. The whole thing is brilliant, imagined on a gigantic scale, with a huge cast (extremely well managed, I had no trouble picking up the story threads from where we left off last time) and marvellous description. Gloriously imaginative, well written, manages a lot of sometimes pretty bleak plot themes and elements while hanging on to the humanity of all involved, so it's emotion Spectacular ending to the epic trilogy about a slow-burn alien invasion centred in a breakaway ex-Nigerian city-republic. The whole thing is brilliant, imagined on a gigantic scale, with a huge cast (extremely well managed, I had no trouble picking up the story threads from where we left off last time) and marvellous description. Gloriously imaginative, well written, manages a lot of sometimes pretty bleak plot themes and elements while hanging on to the humanity of all involved, so it's emotionally engaging throughout. Really terrific. I can't wait to see what this author does next.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dawn C

    Thompson has really created a unique, genre blending trilogy, so full of twists and turns that it’s impossible to guess where it’s going. The language is fresh, the city vibrantly alive with real people fighting for their existence between the alien entity of Wormwood and politicians with an agenda of their own. I’ll admit I lost track of what was going on quite a few times, but I kept being mesmerized by this fast paced, almost thriller-like scifi slash adult urban fantasy slash horror slash Ni Thompson has really created a unique, genre blending trilogy, so full of twists and turns that it’s impossible to guess where it’s going. The language is fresh, the city vibrantly alive with real people fighting for their existence between the alien entity of Wormwood and politicians with an agenda of their own. I’ll admit I lost track of what was going on quite a few times, but I kept being mesmerized by this fast paced, almost thriller-like scifi slash adult urban fantasy slash horror slash Nigerian history lesson. I’m very much a fan of Tade Thompson’s writing style and will continue to follow his work.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alex Bright

    A satisfying and thought-provoking ending to a brilliant science fiction trilogy. Maybe I'll have a more specific review in the future, but that will do for now.

  7. 5 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Rating: ★★★★☆+ Synopsis The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices. Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn’t everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn’t willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city’s alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own s Rating: ★★★★☆+ Synopsis The Rosewater Redemption concludes the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction’s most engaging new voices. Life in the newly independent city-state of Rosewater isn’t everything its citizens were expecting. The Mayor finds that debts incurred during the insurrection are coming back to haunt him. Nigeria isn’t willing to let Rosewater go without a fight. And the city’s alien inhabitants are threatening mass murder for their own sinister ends… Operating across spacetime, the xenosphere, and international borders, it is up to a small group of hackers and criminals to prevent the extra-terrestrial advance. The fugitive known as Bicycle Girl, Kaaro, and his former handler Femi may be humanity’s last line of defense. Tade Thompson’s innovative, genre-bending, Afrofuturist series, the Wormwood Trilogy, is perfect for fans of Jeff Vandermeer, N. K. Jemisin, William Gibson, and Ann Leckie. Review Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Rosewater Redemption (The Wormwood Trilogy #3) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel. The Rosewater Redemption is a picturesque finale to the Wormwood Trilogy and cements Thompson as one of the major players in the science fiction genre for many years to come. His mix of highly imaginative world-building, exquisite prose, characterizations, and fresh take on the alien takeover trope leads to one of the best trilogies I have ever read. How does one accurately describe their experience with a book that has so much going on with it and going for it, knowing that this is the end of the line? We have seen the rise and fall of Rosewater, the takeover by Wormwood and its advancement across the country, the growth of many multi-layered characters and their every-changing environments. Now we get time-travel and the crossing of international boarders and my head is left spinning. To believe that Tade had shown us all of the cards he had to play in Books 1 and 2 is to believe that the Earth is indeed flat. Thinking back on my read-through of this novel, I can’t help but picture Rosewater and its vibrant culture in my mind. The city, its people, the language, the goings on within and without the city center. The xenosphere taking the story beyond reality and giving us yet another layer of sci-fi gloriousness. At the same time, how that same city has fallen under the control of the extra-terrestrial existence with no-one to turn and only a few who are willing to fight back. I am in just utter awe some Tade’s writing at this point in time. The Wormwood Trilogy continues to dazzle my thoughts while his Molly Southbourne novellas haunt my dreams. I cannot wait to see what else he has in store and I’ll be the first in line for it. If you enjoy weird science fiction with Lovecraftian nods, immersive world-building, and an array of layered yet enjoyable characters, The Wormwood Trilogy should fit nicely on your shelf.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    This was a really good finish to what has been a wildly imaginative and inventive series with a big cast of characters. There are all sorts of elements at play in this last story about an alien invasion and all the people involved with living with it or stopping it. I was a little worried I'd have some trouble getting back into this book, but Tade Thompson handles the many perspectives and time periods well, and I found myself comfortably back in the thick of the complicated plot. There's plenty This was a really good finish to what has been a wildly imaginative and inventive series with a big cast of characters. There are all sorts of elements at play in this last story about an alien invasion and all the people involved with living with it or stopping it. I was a little worried I'd have some trouble getting back into this book, but Tade Thompson handles the many perspectives and time periods well, and I found myself comfortably back in the thick of the complicated plot. There's plenty of action, and weird, lots of weird, and black humour. (I found myself frequently grinning at Femi's or Jack Jacques' interactions.) I was impressed by this series, and look forward to whatever Tade writes next.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    A wonderful conclusion to a really unique series. Can't wait to see what Thompson comes up with next.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Although this feels like a very obvious thing to say, it merits heavy emphasis: the Rosewater trilogy is enormously fun to read. I've read 118 novels so far this year and both 'The Rosewater Redemption' and The Rosewater Insurrection are among the three I enjoyed most. Tade Thompson is quite simply a brilliant writer. His characters are appealing, his plots wonderfully twisty, his world-building ingenious, his pacing impeccable, and his themes cleverly developed. Each book in the Rosewater trilo Although this feels like a very obvious thing to say, it merits heavy emphasis: the Rosewater trilogy is enormously fun to read. I've read 118 novels so far this year and both 'The Rosewater Redemption' and The Rosewater Insurrection are among the three I enjoyed most. Tade Thompson is quite simply a brilliant writer. His characters are appealing, his plots wonderfully twisty, his world-building ingenious, his pacing impeccable, and his themes cleverly developed. Each book in the Rosewater trilogy stands as an excellent novel in its own right, but together they add up to a totally absorbing reading experience. Each is distinctive in its approach and choice of protagonists, upending your previous sympathies and shifting your prior assumptions. 'Redemption' still follows Kaaro and Aminat, while giving much more time to the mysterious Bicycle Girl and Femi Alaagomeji. While I previously enjoyed them both as enigmas, it was a delight to learn more about their lives and agendas. Each successive book widens the reader's perspective on events and introduces a new layer of complexity. In 'The Rosewater Redemption' Thompson completely upended my expectations several times, which I absolutely loved. (view spoiler)[Kaaro is a great character, but when he was suddenly killed by a sniper my main response was excitement. Killing your main male character is unheard of! I absolutely was not expecting it and his subsequent destructive psychic legacy was brilliantly done. I really enjoyed the fact that characters allied with each other then sometimes changed their minds, without falling into a simplistic binary of good vs bad. Moreover, characters who were sympathetic sometimes became much less so, and vice versa. Likewise, the role of the aliens evolved gradually and carefully into a really interesting commentary on colonialism. The third part of the trilogy centres on the fact that Rosewater's independence from Nigeria came at the cost of aliens slowly taking over humanity. The previous novel showed why this might initially seem worth the price, while this one demonstrates why it really isn't. The mayor, previously quasi-heroic, slides into a more antagonistic role. It becomes clear that his hubris in pursuit of independence for Rosewater comes at a horrific cost to its human inhabitants. They are gradually becoming host bodies for the digital consciousness of aliens. Yet Thompson also shows what Rosewater's independence has achieved. There's a delightful sub-plot in which the mayor formally welcomes LGBT people to the city and holds a brief pride parade, much to the annoyance of Nigeria's president. Prompted by this, Aminat's pyrokinetic brother comes out in a very amusing little moment. I also loved the court scenes in which the mayor's wife argued for the personhood of 'reanimates', the formerly dead humans brought back in zombie-like form by alien intervention. The sharp exchanges between lawyers were magnificent. The large cast are juggled deftly, propelling the plot forward while developing Femi and Oyin Da. The latter's time-travelling adventures with her wife and daughter in the xenophere were a joy. At the very end, Oyin Da and Femi are still standing and chatting about art, which I found very satisfactory. Kaaro has sacrificed what remains of himself to save humanity and the surviving cast are comfortable. However, the city of Rosewater is no more. Ultimately the coexistence of aliens and humans could not be sustained, as the aliens were determined to use humans as resources to exploit. (hide spoiler)] A major element of my enjoyment throughout the trilogy has been the glorious weirdness and picaresque detail. There's a guy with a tentacle, an android, artificial brains, zombies that get better, alien zombie suicide bombers, crime twins, a hacker in a weird mech suit, a pyrokinetic, and autonomous vehicles that actually work. Thompson includes the best explanation for time travel that I've come across for many years, as well as some fascinating arguments about consciousness and personhood. The action scenes are thrilling and vivid, while the dialogue is witty and intelligent. No-one knows or cares what's happening in America, which has walled itself off from the rest of the world. At one point it seems America could become important to the plot, then it turns out Nigeria can take care of itself. What more can I say? The Rosewater trilogy is fantastic and if you have any interest in fiction set in Africa, sci-fi, or thrillers you should definitely give it a try.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luke Burrage

    A really great set of novels! I very much enjoyed them all. It's a good trilogy that doesn't try to continue the protagonist's story past the first novel, and instead finds new people and stories to follow in the next two instalments. Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #415: http://www.sfbrp.com/archives/1639 A really great set of novels! I very much enjoyed them all. It's a good trilogy that doesn't try to continue the protagonist's story past the first novel, and instead finds new people and stories to follow in the next two instalments. Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #415: http://www.sfbrp.com/archives/1639

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Pretty good wrap up to this trilogy, though not completely satisfying. The story has so many threads to follow at this point, this installment felt a little disjointed. On the other hand, having Oyin Da mostly narrate and having fewer (no?) time jumps made the narrative easier to follow in some ways. Thompson writes great characters, and I’ll be looking for other work from him. Overall, this is a good trilogy and gives the reader a lot to think about, especially in terms of an alien invasion tha Pretty good wrap up to this trilogy, though not completely satisfying. The story has so many threads to follow at this point, this installment felt a little disjointed. On the other hand, having Oyin Da mostly narrate and having fewer (no?) time jumps made the narrative easier to follow in some ways. Thompson writes great characters, and I’ll be looking for other work from him. Overall, this is a good trilogy and gives the reader a lot to think about, especially in terms of an alien invasion that isn’t bogey men with blasters arriving in spaceships but more an insidious, slow takeover...a “we’re pretending to be here to help make you better but we really want to take everything and destroy your culture” analogy to colonization in Africa.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This was a fun trilogy, for the most part, although it occasionally collapsed under its own byzantine weight. In case it wasn't clear (it's clear), there's a passage near the end that announces quite literally that the whole thing is an allegory for [bullhorn] CLIMATE CHANGE and [more bullhorn] COLONIZATION. Although to be fair the colonization bit isn't really an allegory. I don't know whether this is a problem or not, but sometimes I wasn't sure what genre I was in. The back cover says the book This was a fun trilogy, for the most part, although it occasionally collapsed under its own byzantine weight. In case it wasn't clear (it's clear), there's a passage near the end that announces quite literally that the whole thing is an allegory for [bullhorn] CLIMATE CHANGE and [more bullhorn] COLONIZATION. Although to be fair the colonization bit isn't really an allegory. I don't know whether this is a problem or not, but sometimes I wasn't sure what genre I was in. The back cover says the book has "echoes or Neuromancer and Arrival" and ... no. That ain't it, chief. Just because a book has aliens in it does not mean it's like another story with aliens in it, ffs. It's more like The Bourne Supremacy meets District 9 meets Ender's Game, but with a lot more Bourne Supremacy. Especially this last book, which is very much about people running around and stuff blowing up. For that reason, it's pretty fun (I enjoyed all the Bourne movies—and I'm comparing to movies because this book feels very ready-for-big-screen), but it's not as deep as maybe the author originally hoped it would be. The allegories embedded in the story don't feel as urgent because the fast-moving plot overcomes character development. And you have to care about characters to feel a story. That's a literary critique, but I enjoyed the book in spite of it missing maybe the profundity mark. (Which I think it was aiming for, otherwise I wouldn't critique it.) What kept me from actually flipping the pages as frantically as I might, considering the thriller quality, was just how unbelievably complicated the plot was. There were so many characters that I could not keep them straight, and I wished very much that there was a list to help me. I actually googled it (who is Taiwo? Was Tolu as important in the end as we were told he would be? How do I keep straight Dahun from Motherfucking Dunladi? How did Eric even get himself involved in all this? Was the Kyle ghost guy important in ANY way?) but found nothing. Someone with more time on their hands should make a list. The plot, too, is so elaborate that I can't believe Thompson himself was keeping track of it—and to what end? It just didn't seem necessary. If he'd stayed more focused on the core characters, developing them more and blowing stuff up less, the end would have had the big emotional salience I imagine he was going for. I think I had a lot of these same criticisms of the last two books, but still enjoyed the books enough to persevere through all three of them ... and I hope they are turned into a Netflix series, because the story really seems destined to be played out on a screen. (Starring Daniel Kaluuya as Kaaro, please. And although she doesn't act, as far as I know, I totally pictured Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as Femi.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Howley

    I rarely read the third part of a trilogy and want to immediately restart the series. This book is a perfect amalgam of what I loved about the first two parts. Tade Thompson does a good job of reminding you what happened before, though there were some times I couldn't quite place a character or two. Like the best sci-fi, this series asks a lot of interesting questions about the nature of humanity and our place in the world. What makes it even better it's written by someone with a view and a voice I rarely read the third part of a trilogy and want to immediately restart the series. This book is a perfect amalgam of what I loved about the first two parts. Tade Thompson does a good job of reminding you what happened before, though there were some times I couldn't quite place a character or two. Like the best sci-fi, this series asks a lot of interesting questions about the nature of humanity and our place in the world. What makes it even better it's written by someone with a view and a voice often excluded from the mainstream. Some threads felt a little messy to me, and a few things never felt completely resolved. But I'm so glad these books exist. I can't wait for more.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A phenomenal ending to a truly great sf trilogy. Unlike the slow burn of the first two installments, REDEMPTION by comparison hits the ground running, covering an astonishing amount of fresh ground while expertly weaving together new and existing narrative and thematic strands with truly baffling ease. I devoured this deliciously weird, unsettling, and reliably slippery inversion of Lovecraftian sff with breathless abandon, my one regret being that like all great trilogies, the ROSEWATER cycle s A phenomenal ending to a truly great sf trilogy. Unlike the slow burn of the first two installments, REDEMPTION by comparison hits the ground running, covering an astonishing amount of fresh ground while expertly weaving together new and existing narrative and thematic strands with truly baffling ease. I devoured this deliciously weird, unsettling, and reliably slippery inversion of Lovecraftian sff with breathless abandon, my one regret being that like all great trilogies, the ROSEWATER cycle simply ends much too soon.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tia

    I thought that in 2020, I might write a short or not-so-short review for every book read. A challenging resolution, but we'll see. Anyway, to the point. Short review: bleh, ok. Longer review: All the things that I liked from the previous books, the things that first got me hooked, are still there, but there is not real development. Instead it seems like the writing has regressed. The writing has always seemed to me like a script for an action movie, but now it feels like scenes are lifted directly I thought that in 2020, I might write a short or not-so-short review for every book read. A challenging resolution, but we'll see. Anyway, to the point. Short review: bleh, ok. Longer review: All the things that I liked from the previous books, the things that first got me hooked, are still there, but there is not real development. Instead it seems like the writing has regressed. The writing has always seemed to me like a script for an action movie, but now it feels like scenes are lifted directly from other media, dumped in the middle of a beautifully constructed world, and the book just reads like Every Single American Action Movie You Have Ever Seen. Like a person is standing around, chaos around them, a helicopter hovering above them. A ladder is lowered, and the character climbs up. You can almost see it, can't you? Yeah, because you have seen it a hundred times before. A CIA agent goes through training: an obstacle course! I'd like to know if they actually exist, or if it's just a popular image reproduced whenever possible. Courtroom scenes are straight-up American courtroom drama. I don't know what the criminal process looks like in Nigeria (in 2060-ish), but I am not entertained by this. It's not that it's a bad book, and it's probably not as bad as I make it seem, it's just that this is the third of the trilogy and I expected so much more. I expected development - of the story, the characters, the writing. But no. I was bored and I was annoyed and I was glad when it was over. The two previous book, especially the first one, got me holding my breath waiting for the next part to finally come out. Now I'm just done. Maybe that's ok. It is the third part of a trilogy, so maybe I should feel like that. In any case, I do recommend the series. It just, I don't know. It has flaws.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peter Hollo

    It's rare to find something truly original these days. This trilogy really fits the bill. Brilliantly written, deeply strange, very thoughtful and thought-provoking. Thompson has created an important meditation on colonialism but it's crazy, profane, violent and beautiful in equal measure. Now they're all out, you've got no excuse not to read all three in a row!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Runalong

    Now this was brilliant end to a fantastic science fiction series and each story gets a pay off so well - read this!!! Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/ha... Now this was brilliant end to a fantastic science fiction series and each story gets a pay off so well - read this!!! Full review - https://www.runalongtheshelves.net/ha...

  19. 4 out of 5

    JonBob

    Originally reviewed at Parsecs & Parchment ***Spoilers ahead for the first two Wormwood books*** A spectacular conclusion to the genre-blending Wormwood trilogy from one of the most imaginative writers in SFF today. The story of Rosewater is one of insidious alien invasion, self-serving humanity, powerful interest groups, and running through it all the subtle optimism that imperfect, even cynical people can do good things while making mistakes along the way. There are multiple story threads run Originally reviewed at Parsecs & Parchment ***Spoilers ahead for the first two Wormwood books*** A spectacular conclusion to the genre-blending Wormwood trilogy from one of the most imaginative writers in SFF today. The story of Rosewater is one of insidious alien invasion, self-serving humanity, powerful interest groups, and running through it all the subtle optimism that imperfect, even cynical people can do good things while making mistakes along the way. There are multiple story threads running through REDEMPTION. The violence and upheaval that accompanied Rosewater’s secession from Nigeria and the conflict with the cherubim has died down, but the aftereffects are causing a headache for Jack Jacques. A militant group of Homians have begun murdering humans to accelerate the takeover of their reanimated bodies. Aminat has been appointed Rosewater’s head of security and struggles with her own conscience about which side to take in the escalating conflict with the Homians. We get to follow Oyin Da as she manipulates the xenosphere to travel through time and uncover the mysteries of Wormwood’s past. Kaaro takes centre stage again. And amidst all this Femi still has her own agenda… There’s actually even more going on than I have space to mention. Society-altering court cases, gang warfare, mongoose fights! REDEMPTION is packed full of so much plot, setting and character I can’t even fathom how Tade kept it all straight in his head. And yes there’s a lot going on, but I never felt overwhelmed, just in awe of how alive everything about this book felt. Tade Thompson really has created something special. The people in this book are real. Rosewater is a vibrant, dynamic city. The society it has haphazardly thrown up is alive, evolving and no matter how weird things get (and things get weird) it all somehow remains all too plausible. In my review of the first Rosewater book, I wrote that it presented us with a pessimistic view of humanity and, while I still think that’s partly true, I’ve realised these books are far more than that. They present a complex view of humanity. Good people make mistakes. Bad, self-serving people have layers of compassion. And these contradictions are never static. Every character is changed by their experiences, resulting in a mess of conflicting emotions, relationships and motivations that make them all so human. This nuance is explored so fully across the span of these novels that I challenge anyone not to identify with at least some aspect of every character that Tade Thompson has so masterfully brought to life. It’s particularly clever how Tade structures the narrative throughout the series, variously pitching Wormwood and the Homians as potential allies or villains depending on whose perspective the story is being told from and the pragmatic necessities of the shifting power relations between the various people, factions and interest groups. I admit to reading the first half of the book and thinking it wasn’t quite reaching the heights of the previous books, mainly because, despite an explosive beginning, the plot didn’t seem to be driving forward as much as I had become accustomed to in this series. Taken as a whole however, I fully appreciate that section of the story, even if it did seem to meander more than was necessary at the time. Despite this, the second half of the book takes the series to new heights and I’m feeling so many emotions right now just re-living how this book soars to its phenomenal conclusion. Overall this was a rewarding, immensely satisfying and at times gut-wrenching ending to what has quickly become one of my favourite science fictions series of all time. I never expected Kaaro to be the kind of character with the emotional capacity to make me tear up, but here we are. If you haven’t already, please please please read these books!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I loved the first two book in this trilogy, but half way through the final installment, I had to force myself to keep picking Redemption up and thought that (at that point, if it kept up like it was) I wouldn't be able to give it more than 3/5 stars. I struggled to articulate to myself what I disliked so much about this volume, and finally identified this (again, about the first half of the book): there are almost no interpersonal connections between characters. Oh, sure, all our favorite charac I loved the first two book in this trilogy, but half way through the final installment, I had to force myself to keep picking Redemption up and thought that (at that point, if it kept up like it was) I wouldn't be able to give it more than 3/5 stars. I struggled to articulate to myself what I disliked so much about this volume, and finally identified this (again, about the first half of the book): there are almost no interpersonal connections between characters. Oh, sure, all our favorite characters are back, and yes, they certainly land in the same places as each other and are tangentially interacting. Despite proximity, however, we read about no *connections* between players. A few people use each other, but no one has any emotional resonance with anyone else. This stands in stark contrast to the first two books. I also had a hard time (throughout the entire book) with the jumps between chapters that were third person omniscient but each focused on different characters and occasional first person POV chapters (always Oyin Da). The first book was nearly all Kaaro's story, with only a few other POV chapters (and those well identified). In the second book, each chapter had a heading telling you who you were reading about. In this book, the jumping perspectives in a many-charactered, complex story with (essentially) multiple universes and time travel without labeling the chapters was work for me as a reader that distracted from immersion in the story. Having said that, the second half of the story finally dove in on a few relationships (Aminat/Kaaro and Oyin Da/{not telling}) that gave the story connection that I needed. A few of the plot points were obvious (you don't put a gun on the mantle in the first scene unless you plan to fire it in the third), but others were not so obvious. All the obvious story lines and loose ends came together over the course of the book, which was great, because it really was a creative idea, developed well, in an interesting setting, with wonderful execution over the trilogy. Overall, absolutely a trilogy worth reading. Highly recommended, and no wonder the first book won awards and the trilogy gets high ratings.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carnelian Moss King

    Redemption was the last of the Rosewater triology, and it was equally as fun to read and easy to devour as the last two. This series has been classified alongside China Mieville's work as the "New Weird" and I found that description very apt. The biggests topics I latched onto in these were the explorations of: a sense of other versus a sense of self, what it means to be human and the effects of colonization. Here in the final book we follow Animat as she has become Rosewater's head of security. T Redemption was the last of the Rosewater triology, and it was equally as fun to read and easy to devour as the last two. This series has been classified alongside China Mieville's work as the "New Weird" and I found that description very apt. The biggests topics I latched onto in these were the explorations of: a sense of other versus a sense of self, what it means to be human and the effects of colonization. Here in the final book we follow Animat as she has become Rosewater's head of security. This is an insane task because the mayor owes debts so crime lords and cannot arrest their men. The narrative also traces the path of the new avatar of Wormwood as she collects fallen humans and recycles their bodies to upload alien consciousnesses into them. Jack Jacques, the mayor, spends the narrative coming to terms with the fact thse who are "reanimated" still have human consciousness inside them but he has allowed the aliens to use their bodies. The scenes where his wife, a lawyer, argues for reanimates rights are some of the most interesting in the book. Simultaneously, we follow Bicycle Girl through the xenosphere as she exist as a ghost but one with a place where her consciousness is manifest and zhe can be with her wife and child. This book also features a character who is an AI without it making a big fuss about her inorganic nature. The author treats her just as he would another character and it's interesting to see her become more autonomous throughout the narrative. It's incredible the way all these stories are woven together without a sense of whiplash from jumping between narrators. The pace of this novel is fastest of the three and it was easy to get lost in the plot. I personally found the ending just acceptable and not superb but it was still an enjoyable experience.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Soo

    Mini-Review: 4.5 Stars Round Up to 5 Stars for GR Rating 4 Stars for Narration by Bayo Gbadamosi (It would have been 5 but there are still errors that need to be taken out. (view spoiler)[I really liked it when he sang the robot hero song. Ha! (hide spoiler)] ) Everything that lead up to the ending was great! This one held all of the alien weirdness, interesting perspectives and reveals that made the whole trilogy come together. I wish each of the books were like this one but realize that the atmosp Mini-Review: 4.5 Stars Round Up to 5 Stars for GR Rating 4 Stars for Narration by Bayo Gbadamosi (It would have been 5 but there are still errors that need to be taken out. (view spoiler)[I really liked it when he sang the robot hero song. Ha! (hide spoiler)] ) Everything that lead up to the ending was great! This one held all of the alien weirdness, interesting perspectives and reveals that made the whole trilogy come together. I wish each of the books were like this one but realize that the atmosphere, pivotal event sequences, dialogues and more would not have been possible without the groundwork set down in the first two books. I actually want to go back and re-read the first two books now because I really liked how details came together. It's not a matter of being surprised by events as much as enjoying the journey. A good adventure with potential for more. Bayo's only flaw is that he doesn't have a wide range of female voices. Other than that, he really seemed to hit his stride with the story and the characters came alive in a way that made me feel like I'm in the story vs casually watching from the side. The audiobook was a lot of fun to listen to and I'll probably re-listen to the trilogy next year. I must have gotten used to Thompson's writing style because I did not get confused by the POV/scene/time changes in the last two books of the trilogy. Recently, I've re-listened to a few series because I wanted to re-enter the world and realized they were just as fun or more so on the second round due to knowing the world & characters involved. I feel that I will probably enjoy a return to the trilogy more than my first encounter because I already have the setting in place.

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Waymont

    A satisfying conclusion to the series, with some well-crafted little twists and a few things I'm left pondering on: (view spoiler)[Were the "Homians" actually advanced humans, specifically Americans, from the future? (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Was the mayoral candidate, Ranti, actually created by the professor? There's a throwaway line about being able to put the brain anywhere in the reanimate Kaaro uses at the end... (hide spoiler)] . It would certainly be interesting to re-assess what is a A satisfying conclusion to the series, with some well-crafted little twists and a few things I'm left pondering on: (view spoiler)[Were the "Homians" actually advanced humans, specifically Americans, from the future? (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Was the mayoral candidate, Ranti, actually created by the professor? There's a throwaway line about being able to put the brain anywhere in the reanimate Kaaro uses at the end... (hide spoiler)] . It would certainly be interesting to re-assess what is a comprehensive ending following a few of these threads differently. My reviews of the previous two instalments had some open questions, and a few still remain, but the dialog between Wormwood and Koriko and Oyin Da's travelling brought the wider world into context more fully. Much of Oyin Da's newly explained characteristics, and her discussion of imperfect memory, gives a lot more explanation for Kaaro's perfect recall in earlier books, particularly in the first. I kind of wanted to see more of the factions rather than the individuals - The Machinery were somewhat absent. The period of Homian and Human living together could expand to fill a whole side-project - we saw all of the Homian archetypes, but little on the social dynamics or potential cross-types - it did seem like very neatly contained stereotypes, which might reflect the narrator's attempt to make you understand. I am left hoping for a fourth, but that would probably be overt exposition and would only really serve to satisfy curiosity. I remain curious, and that will probably leave the book sticking with me for a time to come.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Charles Payet

    Absolutely RIVETING! To give context to how much I enjoyed this, I can only compare it to how much I love Tolkien's LOTR, which I've read over 30 times in the last 35 years. It will certainly take several more read-throughs to fully absorb and appreciate what Tade Thompson has created in his Wormwood Trilogy. I just finished the concluding book of the trilogy this morning, so I don't want to say too much, as I might give something away. There's no way I'd want to take anything away from the pure Absolutely RIVETING! To give context to how much I enjoyed this, I can only compare it to how much I love Tolkien's LOTR, which I've read over 30 times in the last 35 years. It will certainly take several more read-throughs to fully absorb and appreciate what Tade Thompson has created in his Wormwood Trilogy. I just finished the concluding book of the trilogy this morning, so I don't want to say too much, as I might give something away. There's no way I'd want to take anything away from the pure satisfaction of the ending. One of the reasons I compare it to LOTR though, is that, to my mind, Thompson does a similarly amazing job of making his world come to life in your head in remarkable detail, but without actually writing endless paragraphs of description. So many other recent, and very popular, series go on for book after book after book, because it takes the author that many words to create the world. Not Thompson. His writing is clear, his imagery highly evocative, such that the characters and places come vividly to life. That is truly the sign of a great writer. At least in my opinion. :-) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. And if at all possible.....buy all 3 books together, block off the whole weekend, make sure you won't be disturbed, and don't stop until you're done. You won't be able to anyway.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    A 3.5 but I rounded up for the sheer creative genius of this world, which only gets more complex and mind-blowing in this final installment. I thought the ending, while satisfying, came about a little too quickly and easily, but I like the world and the characters so much I didn't mind all the buildup and wanderings that make up most of this book. More rtc. This final installment is nominally Oyin Da's (Bicycle Girl), although a fair amount of the narrative also follows Femi - back in Nigeria, af A 3.5 but I rounded up for the sheer creative genius of this world, which only gets more complex and mind-blowing in this final installment. I thought the ending, while satisfying, came about a little too quickly and easily, but I like the world and the characters so much I didn't mind all the buildup and wanderings that make up most of this book. More rtc. This final installment is nominally Oyin Da's (Bicycle Girl), although a fair amount of the narrative also follows Femi - back in Nigeria, after a prisoner exchange - and Jack Jacques's continuing efforts to keep Rosewater running in the new world where aliens repossess reanimated bodies. Oyin Da's ...how shall I say?... special circumstances allow her to guide the reader through time and the xenosphere as our good guys search for a way to bring a stop to the slow alien invasion (view spoiler)[and we finally get to visit London 2012! And America, after a fashion. I had been waiting (hide spoiler)] . If Oyin Da is the "research" side, then back in Rosewater we get to watch the humans' discomfort with their new alien neighbors escalate, spurred on by a court case brought by Jacques' wife Hannah - she's aiming to get her husband to switch sides. And finally, on the direct opposition to the aliens, which has always been led by Femi, in this book we see her vindication, as even the Rosewater political machinations take the backseat to "the final conflict." Kaaro returns and has a crucial role to play, but not in the way you'd expect. Damn, it's a lot! And yet, there were at least two shocking surprises to be had. I did kind of lose the thread trying to follow the revelations and the science at times, but emotionally, I think the book and trilogy ends where it needs to. And like good SFF stories, there are some tantalizing threads left dangling to wonder about after the book is done. I am so impressed by what Tade Thompson accomplished with this series. Definite recommend; it's fascinating and solid all the way through.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Grieve

    A fitting conclusion to an epic yet also introspective series, this satisfyingly ties up all lose ends and tells an entertaining story to boot. There is a melancholy tone to this tale, yet there are fun moments as well and it doesn't fall to being maudlin or present cheap sentimentality; It is still powerful and interesting. I think the best part of the book is the character arch of the first books point of view protagonist (he is less prominent a character and not point of view in this book ), s A fitting conclusion to an epic yet also introspective series, this satisfyingly ties up all lose ends and tells an entertaining story to boot. There is a melancholy tone to this tale, yet there are fun moments as well and it doesn't fall to being maudlin or present cheap sentimentality; It is still powerful and interesting. I think the best part of the book is the character arch of the first books point of view protagonist (he is less prominent a character and not point of view in this book ), surprising yet also satisfying, while keeping authentically constant with the character and his less admirable traits. In fact this is the book filled with complex and well written characters, as the series has been also, character development and creation being one of it's biggest asset. The science is sound and does not go too complex or dense to detract from the speed and digestion of the plot. The prose, more specifically the parts in third person, I found more conversational then the style in the previous books, more playful and humorous. I would say this book is less thrilling then the second and may get a bit to held down by politics, but it has a fast pace and is at an agreeable length. And while mentioning the length, I will end the review with that length now.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Stirling

    I found this one more challenging than the previous two. Multiple narrative lines with different people, one in first person, the rest in third, all in the present tense. There are so many actors I was glad I read it on my kindle and could look up previous snippets of characters easily! It's also quite long, so be prepared! He's a really good writer, the world and the people feel real and act like the smart humans they are. It became much easier after about the 60% mark, when the various story l I found this one more challenging than the previous two. Multiple narrative lines with different people, one in first person, the rest in third, all in the present tense. There are so many actors I was glad I read it on my kindle and could look up previous snippets of characters easily! It's also quite long, so be prepared! He's a really good writer, the world and the people feel real and act like the smart humans they are. It became much easier after about the 60% mark, when the various story lines started converging. But as with many epics (3 longish books here), the ending is a little anti-climactic as things are wrapped up in just a few pages, with a rather unnecessary epilogue at the end - like the crawl you get at the end of documentaries, saying what happened to the people involved. Still, it's a great, and very imaginative, story, and being a sciency nerd I really liked how all the tech and fantastic (literally!) ideas held together. Perhaps the best thing about this entire trilogy is the way Thompson blends hard SF with fantasy - it's sort of a "hard fantasy", which I've never come across before, and he makes it work really well. That combined with his great characters development makes the trilogy a great read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tricia

    I need a new word that goes beyond 'outstanding', 'excellent', 'stellar' and other such adjectives. The final part of the Rosewater trilogy is glorious. Most of the surviving characters from the earlier books come into a sharper, brighter focus - often in ways that surprise, developing a whole new dimension to their story that is enthralling and bewildering in equal measure. The quality of the writing and the use of words makes my heart sing. Tade Thompson is blunt and poetic in equal measure, th I need a new word that goes beyond 'outstanding', 'excellent', 'stellar' and other such adjectives. The final part of the Rosewater trilogy is glorious. Most of the surviving characters from the earlier books come into a sharper, brighter focus - often in ways that surprise, developing a whole new dimension to their story that is enthralling and bewildering in equal measure. The quality of the writing and the use of words makes my heart sing. Tade Thompson is blunt and poetic in equal measure, the words wrap themselves around you, carrying you to new levels of of thinking. You speculate and consider, rolling the ideas around in your mind until they poke holes in your previously held concepts and beliefs opening up new pathways of thought that push your perceptions to new places. I really don't want to say too much about the story for fear of spoilers but it is an immensely satisfying ending though it comes packaged with mixed emotions. It left me feeling bereft and complete in equal measure. I could go on at length but it would all boil down to one one thing - go, get you to the book shop, buy these books - all three, read them. You will think a little differently.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Batjutsu

    A Fabulous & Epic Series Rosewater is a fabulous and fascinating series with a great mix of characters, themes and ideas. This series is now part of my all-time favourites, one I will be recommending for years to come. Lots of other great reviews to read, and I wanted to avoid spoilers, suffice to say if you like interesting sci-fi, questions about environment, culture, politics and relationships, then this is a series for you. One criticism is that initially I found the story time jumps a bit ir A Fabulous & Epic Series Rosewater is a fabulous and fascinating series with a great mix of characters, themes and ideas. This series is now part of my all-time favourites, one I will be recommending for years to come. Lots of other great reviews to read, and I wanted to avoid spoilers, suffice to say if you like interesting sci-fi, questions about environment, culture, politics and relationships, then this is a series for you. One criticism is that initially I found the story time jumps a bit irritating, but there is a reason for them. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series. Wonderful narration. Initially I was apprehensive about the slow and measured narration approach, but that was quickly proven to be not an issue. Lots of different characters are easy to recognise due to the diverse range of voices used to help differentiate and personalise them. The different characters come across brilliantly, distinct from each other, fabulous voice acting.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Georgina Bawden

    A really satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I loved how it dug into the parallels with colonialism in Nigeria, I loved the mechanics of the xenosphere, I loved the weird and wonderful alien creatures. I loved how we set up the delicate balance that is the city of Rosewater in book one and then by book three have proceeded to completely smash that balance and show us the inevitable results. There are characters and relationships here that I bought into more than others. I like Aminat but in thi A really satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I loved how it dug into the parallels with colonialism in Nigeria, I loved the mechanics of the xenosphere, I loved the weird and wonderful alien creatures. I loved how we set up the delicate balance that is the city of Rosewater in book one and then by book three have proceeded to completely smash that balance and show us the inevitable results. There are characters and relationships here that I bought into more than others. I like Aminat but in this book she often failed to come alive for me the way she did in book two. I've always found Kaaro hard to warm to (or rather I find his misogyny hard to get past), but this book stripped layers and gave us an alternative point of view on him. Oyin Da is really intriguing and it was great to get more of her here. My favourite characters and relationships are Jack Jacques and Lora, and Femi. This series has been a lot of fun - the plotting is great and it is truly inventive.

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