BOOK REVIEW; Chibundu Onuzo’s “The Spider King’s Daughter”

BOOK REVIEW; Chibundu Onuzo’s “The Spider King’s Daughter”

Hey guys! 

I had such high hopes for this book because I love LOVE African books! Well, it was a bit confusing in the beginning as the author told the story from various points of view of multiple characters. It was not so fluid, in my opinion. The transitions were not so fluid.

Disclaimer: You will not agree with everything you’re about to read, and that is perfectly okay.

Book; The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo

Storyline – This book tells the tale of Abike, the daughter of a wealthy and influential politician, Olumide Johnson who has stepped on the toes of many to get to where he is. 

Abike takes a peculiar interest in a hawker who sells ice cream on the road but behaves like someone who is from the upper class.

The book takes us through the lives of the hawker “Runner G” who catches the eye of Abike who on her part cannot believe that such a well mannered and well spoken person could be a hawker. 

As it progresses, heading towards the reason why Runner G became a hawker in the first place, we are taken through the lives of a variety of characters, my favourite of which is Mr T. 

  • Mr T – is a fellow beggar who had his right hand cut off and also had to bury his daughter because of a certain “prophet”. He tells very shady stories that border on insane and simply delusional. Nonetheless, he is a very interesting character though we never got to hear of his end.

There were many questions that could kick holes in this new fabrication of his: how did you keep your hand fresh but not your daughter? Why did you carry your fresh hand to your daughter’s funeral? 

Runner G
  • Aunty Precious – is a store owner who helps Runner G to get goods to sell in his early days of hawking when no one else would help him. 
  • Wale – One of Abike’s numerous half brothers who are thoroughly neglected by Olumide Johnson and even threatened to be cut out of his will. 
  • Abike – her father’s (the spider king) daughter, who is way meaner than she looks. She’s spoilt and eventually takes over from her father.

The book has a very catchy beginning though, just read this!

Let me tell you a story about a game called Frustration. A dog used to follow me around when I was ten. One day, my father had his driver run this dog over in plain view of the house. I watched from my window. The black car purring on the grit, the driver’s hands shaking as he prepared himself for a second hit and my father, sitting in the back seat, watching. The car reversed. Again his tyres rolled over my dog and then he sent for me.
I was calm until I reached him, his head bowed in the black funeral suit that he wore throughout my childhood, his arms folded.
‘I’m so sorry. I know how much that dog meant to you. I don’t know how this idiot didn’t see it.’
I knew he was lying. He knew I knew and in that moment, I felt an anger fill me, so strong it would surely have killed one of us if I let it loose. Somehow, it was clear to me that this would be the wrong thing to do. I strolled over to the dog and prodded it with my foot. Blood had streaked its fur and it was whining in pain. My father studied my face, searching for the smallest hairline of a crack. I just stood there, looking at the animal.

Finally I said, ‘Daddy, please can we run over my dog again?’
Both he and the driver were visibly shocked. My father nodded. The driver shook his head, his knuckle bones popping out of his dark skin.
‘Do as she says.’
‘Aim for the head,’ I said, leaning against the car and taking a perverse pleasure in the driver’s shrinking away. I turned and walked towards the house in that stroll that children have on the first day of their summer holidays. I called over my shoulder almost as an afterthought, ‘Daddy, please make sure he hits the head this time.’
Abikẹ: 1
Mr Johnson: 0 

At the end, you get to know that Abike’s father killed Runner G’s father and that was why his family was plunged into poverty and he had to become a hawker. Olumide Johnson was also responsible for human trafficking (which aunty Precious had been involved in) and also had something to do with Mr T’s condition.

Runner G tries to kill Olumide Johnson but he does not succeed, Wale gets to it before him. Whew! I don’t even know how to feel about this book but it was okay sha. 

As usual, my favourite lines from the book:

Well, Daddy, don’t you think that someone smart enough to reinvent themselves deserves some curiosity? Like you.’
He smiled as we sat.
Mr Johnson: 1
Abikẹ: 1 

Abike

Because that’s how a guy shows that he really likes a girl. The more expensive the restaurant the more serious the love. Don’t you know?

Joke

Tribe doesn’t matter anymore. Everyone still knows that the Igbos don’t have style.

Abike

As you grow older, you will learn that regret follows everything, even the best decisions.

In all, this book is not one I would read again too.

It’s good quite alright but I would not recommened because it has a kind of regular ending and it’s just too tasking to read!

The genre for this week is “Horror” because variety is the spice of life. The Curse of the Creeping Coffin by R.L Stine is our pick so join us if you can. I’ll be reviewing next week as well.

Have a great week ahead! Wanna join my book club? Send me a message using the contact form. 

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Written by
Maranatha
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July 2020
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