Tade Thompson's Rosewater is the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices.
*Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, winner
*Nommo Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel, winner
Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless - people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumored healing powers.
Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn't care to again but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realization about a horrifying future.
The Wormwood Trilogy
The Rosewater Insurrection
About the Author
Tade Thompson is the author of Rosewater, a John W. Campbell Award finalist and winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2017 Nommo Award for African speculative fiction. Born in London to Yoruba parents, he lives and works on the south coast of England as an emergency room psychiatrist.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rosewater follows Kaaro as he investigates why sensitives, people with paranormal abilities, are dying now with intermissions from his past. He knows far more than most people, but he doesn’t spill his secrets quickly. We must move along and figure it out with him as he discovers he understood and grapples with the naked truth. Kaaro is an odd duck. We meet him working in a bank protecting it with his abilities against attacks. He’s chilling with his co-worker Bola, who insists on setting him up on a date. Which leads to the first quote I love, about match making. It’s immediately engaging with all the world building and tidbits Kaaro drops carefully placed to keep you moving and guessing. He’s the guide through Rosewater, a lost local while we’re the intruders upon the future. This isn’t a book where you become the protagonist and feel them like a second skin. Here, it’s immersive because the familiar and the different are balanced perfectly with a plot that alternates between “WTF?” and “OMFG”in the best way. Kaaro’s voice is hard to describe. The descriptions are sparse and Spartan, the emotions come through his dialogue but he shuts down feeling them quickly. At least, at his current age. There’s a robotic quality to it, but there’s still a personality, like he’s detached for a reason. And a reason for everything. This is the kind of book you’ll want to re-read as you can’t catch it all the first time. And even then, there’s plenty left to tell in another story. Rosewater reminds me of Catspaw, Dreamsnake, and Who Fears Death, all fantastic and progressively feminist reads. Kaaro has his flaws, including some relating to women, but he grew from his teenage years and continues the journey in this tale. The cast surrounding him and the most influential players are all women. They’re varied, real, and dynamic. They aren’t held back for being women and sexism seems absent from Nigeria at this time yet it’s homophobic legacy is still in effect. I like how it’s addressed and not swept under the rug at least but hate that it continues and wish it didn’t. Kaaro has the typical cultural masculinity -- the type of person that has gay friends but still feels uncomfortable. He accepts the way it is and doesn’t challenge the status quo. While the two most notable men besides Kaaro are gay, it’s hardly QUILTBAG friendly. After finishing Rosewater, I’m extremely appreciative of how there’s no inconsistencies and the skill involved to pull this all off. Tade Thompson is an author to follow and watch. At the very least, every science fiction fan should read Rosewater, especially if you’re a fan of the old school. Everyone else looking for something wholly different and captivating that will not be forgotten should read it as well. I’d love to gush, but talking about damn near everything in Rosewater beyond basics but that would alter the journey and it’s one hell of a journey. Kaaro’s story comes to a close, but other characters have narratives to tell that’d I love to see if possible. The ending is left open like a barn door. The horses are free and all you can do is still there contemplate what it all means. Rosewater has all the classic elements of science fiction and I would class it as cyberpunk given its…everything. Except Kaaro is not a revolutionary punk nor a hero. But it deconstructs the typical white science fiction and is bitingly subversive. It’s not like marching in the streets as a metal head, but more
Ahoy there me mateys! In 2018 I read Thompson’s novella, the murders of molly southbourne, and adored it. So in 2019 I finally made time to read rosewater. One of me crew described the book thusly: "Nigeria, 2066. Kaaro lives in the city of Rosewater, a settlement that grew up around an alien biodome. He spends his days providing psychic protection for a bank, but secretly, he’s the most powerful psychic of Section 35, a secret agency within the Nigerian government. As other psychics begin dying one by one, Kaaro will defy the agency to find an answer. Thompson brings his futuristic vision of Nigeria to stunning life, complete with psychics and strange alien organisms." Secret psychic agent in 2066 and aliens. Aye, ye scalawags! The aliens in this novel are housed in a dome just outside the city of Rosewater. Once a year the dome opens and whoever is nearby can be cured of any ailments they have. Cancer, broken arm, whatever – gone – but there are some unsavoury consequences that can occur too. There is no guarantee for the sick but hope makes for a huge tourist industry during the Opening. Kaaro has been in the dome and is rather jaded about the whole ceremony. And life. After reading Thompson’s novella, I knew that this was going to be different in terms of style and it was. There are three separate timelines which did take some getting used to. One timeline involves Kaaro as a young man and how he used his newfound abilities as a thief. There is another timeline with Kaaro’s life as a secret agent. And then there is the present. The setting of this book is dark, gritty, and can be nasty. Torture and murder are rampant and present on the page. I absolutely loved the world-building in this one and the projections Thompson chose to make about the political climate moving forward from our era. There are a lot of moving parts but with a small bit of effort on me part, the tale turned out to be so worth it. So if ye like a blend of film noir, first contact with aliens, psychics, murder mystery, dreamscapes, characters with complicated pasts, excellent world-building, puzzles, a plausible future world, and a little bit of romance etc. then ye should pick this one up. It seems intimidating but I know that any crew members of mine are up to the challenge. The destination is worth it. Arrrrr!