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The Rosewater Insurrection PDF, ePub eBook The Rosewater Insurrection continues the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive The Rosewater Insurrection continues the award-winning, cutting edge Wormwood trilogy, set in Nigeria, by one of science fiction's most engaging new voices. All is quiet in the city of Rosewater as it expands on the back of the gargantuan alien Wormwood. Those who know the truth of the invasion keep the secret. The government agent Aminat, the lover of the retired sensitive Kaaro, is at the forefront of the cold, silent conflict. She must capture a woman who is the key to the survival of the human race. But Aminat is stymied by the machinations of the Mayor of Rosewater and the emergence of an old enemy of Wormwood... 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 Insurrection

30 review for The Rosewater Insurrection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    "Mangled corpses, body parts everywhere, blood mixing with the mud to form pink froth, structures flattened for fifty yards in every direction, debris mixed with organic matter. The ring is obliterated, the fighters gone. No crater, no fires. Compression bombs don't leave any. They are essentially portal keys that open a bridge to a vacuum that sucks matter in, then closes rapidly, reversing the flow, spraying matter outwards. The victims' bones are their own shrapnel." Rosewater, the first book "Mangled corpses, body parts everywhere, blood mixing with the mud to form pink froth, structures flattened for fifty yards in every direction, debris mixed with organic matter. The ring is obliterated, the fighters gone. No crater, no fires. Compression bombs don't leave any. They are essentially portal keys that open a bridge to a vacuum that sucks matter in, then closes rapidly, reversing the flow, spraying matter outwards. The victims' bones are their own shrapnel." Rosewater, the first book in the Wormwood trilogy, was a top favorite for me last year. I loved it so fucking much! This delicious blend of aliens, science fiction, cyberpunk, Afropunk, aliens, future noir, diversity.. did I mention there were ALIENS?! In my review, I talked about how much I adore Aminat and that I wanted a book with her backstory. Well, this sequel focuses mostly on Aminat, but it takes place after the events in the first installment. DON'T MIND IF I DO!! If you haven't yet read Rosewater, you must! GO!! I cannot promise that there won't be slight spoilers with regards to the premise. If you are okay with that, then by all means.. continue on! Rosewater is a donut-shaped city in a future Nigeria that surrounds a 200-foot alien dome. Every year, the dome opens up and heals those that are in the vicinity of their health issues. Some people are even brought back from the dead. This event is called The Opening, which attracts visitors from all over. The way the aliens invaded Rosewater was by xenoforms, which slowly replace human cells with alien ones. The narrative of Rosewater skipped through various decades, which was sometimes a bit hard to keep track of. Insurrection is easier to follow in that sense, because it doesn't jump around quite as much. It's still non-linear with multiple POV's, though. Rosewater narrowed in on Kaaro as the protagonist. He is a sensitive, which is someone that is able to read thoughts and feelings of others while plugged into the xenosphere. We deviate from him in this, redirecting the main POV to his lover, Aminat. I was already a fan of Aminat in the first book, but damn. I completely fell for her in Insurrection! She is such a fully fleshed out character, one that easily handled the shifting of focus from more of a supporting character to stepping into the spotlight as the central role.  Aminat is a scientist and agent with the special services, tasked with locating a woman named Alyssa Sutcliffe, who is vital in saving the human race. Alyssa, a housewife that is going through amnesia memory gaps, is thought to be the first person to be more alien than human.   "In the darkened room with him there are sixteen reanimates, whom he brought along to be shields, to protect his body when he goes into the xenosphere. The room smells of desperate, unwashed humanity, and it is at times difficult to breathe, but there is a price to pay for everything." There are plenty of new characters introduced in Insurrection that help round out the story. One of the major players is Jack Jacques, the mayor of Rosewater who among other things, enjoys a scheduled morning blow job (as one does). He has declared independence and is met with resistance. There is a shit ton of conflict that erupts from this, including tension between Jacques and the president of Nigeria. Two other characters that come in and out of the story are Femi, Aminat's supervisor. He is the former head of the special services and has a hand in Jacques decision to split from the government. Then there's an author who likes smoking weed and is supposed to be working on a book. But alas, that book only exists in his head for the time being. Tade Thompson has done a brilliant job with the worldbuilding and has made Rosewater itself a wonderfully weird character. Sex bots, assassins, psychics, reanimates, aliens, warfare.. all form this highly claustrophobic, bonkers atmosphere! This is only the second of Thompson's novels that I've read, but I am completely mesmerized by his storytelling in both instances. He has this ability to draw you in with familiarity, yet keeps you captivated with something insanely exhilarating. Something that feels like it belongs in it's own box. It's fucking glorious! Needless to say, I'm beyond excited to see how the finale of the Wormwood trilogy comes together! (Big thanks to Orbit Books for sending me a copy!)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick T. Borrelli

    The story picks up not too long after the events of the first book. This time however, instead of Kaaro being the main POV character, it is his girlfriend and government agent Aminat. The makeshift town of Rosewater continues to grow in population as pilgrims from every corner of the world come to be healed of their ailments. The problem is the biodome at Rosewater's center seems to be dying ever so slowly, leaving their hopes of a reversal of their maladies very much in doubt. Added to the diso The story picks up not too long after the events of the first book. This time however, instead of Kaaro being the main POV character, it is his girlfriend and government agent Aminat. The makeshift town of Rosewater continues to grow in population as pilgrims from every corner of the world come to be healed of their ailments. The problem is the biodome at Rosewater's center seems to be dying ever so slowly, leaving their hopes of a reversal of their maladies very much in doubt. Added to the disorder of the growing masses and the decaying biodome is the specter of Rosewater's charismatic mayor Jack Jacques and his movement to declare independence for Rosewater. This understandably doesn't sit very well with the President of Nigeria, and a violent conflict is almost certain to arise between the two political forces. Meanwhile, a local woman named Alyssa awakens to find that she has no recollection of her husband and daughter. As a matter of fact she can't really remember much of anything at all. Why she can't remember her past is a mystery that she spends the majority of the story attempting to discover, eventually finding herself on the radar of the government's secret agency S45 and Aminat in particular. Could she somehow be connected with the strange alien Wormwood and the extra-terrestrial forces that reside within Rosewater's biodome? As that scenario plays out we are introduced to Eric, an unwilling minor employee of S45 who is basically ordered to assassinate the mayor of Rosewater Jack Jacques to put an end to his ambitious plans to break free from Nigerian government control. Eric really has no choice as his only other option is death at the hands of his employers. All of these various storylines alternate between chapters. Unlike Rosewater where the story was told almost exclusively through the eyes of Kaaro, THE ROSEWATER INSURRECTION tells the tale through numerous POV switching. As the story progresses, we definitely get a bigger background behind the alien entity at the heart of Rosewater and Wormwood has more of a center-stage role than in the previous book. The mystery of Wormwood's origin is hinted at, definitely tantalizing us for a potential huge reveal in the final book. As for Aminat and Kaaro, they are still very much in love, very much a powerful couple, and very much determined to get answers to what the aliens' plans are for Nigeria and the entirety of Earth. I've been living in Tade Thompson's Rosewater for the better part of a month and I have to say that I'm a little depressed that I don't have book three to pick up immediately. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait for that one a little while longer, but meanwhile, let me opine on the many virtues of THE ROSEWATER INSURRECTION. This book was almost night and day in style compared to the first one. I think I was a bit thrown off at first by the multiple POVs just because I was so used to Kaaro being the main character. After I became acclimated with it though, I just settled in and let the story take hold of me. There was so much going on in this story and it really served to clear up some nagging questions from the first book that were lingering in my mind. Jack Jacques and his independence movement is much more of a player in this one, as intimated by the INSURRECTION part of the title. I enjoyed reading the flashbacks in the story that showed how he essentially charmed his way from a small-time figure to a major political leader by connecting with the people of Rosewater on a very personal level. With regard to the characters, Aminat is one of the strongest female characters in any SF story that I have read. I was happy to see her get the majority of the spotlight in THE ROSEWATER INSURRECTION because I think that she is a very compelling and interesting character. It was gratifying to get to see some more of what she is all about. My only minor beef with this book was that the switching of POVs was a little distracting in the beginning and it took me a while to adjust from the first book. I think part of that had to do with the fact that I began this book the day after I finished the first one and I was used to that story structure. But other than that I believe that this was more than a solid follow up to Rosewater and it set up the last book in the series quite nicely. I really recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a unique, thought-provoking SF read that has deep, complex characters and an alien mystery that makes you keep turning the pages feverishly. A great second installment in the Wormwood Trilogy that makes me eager to get my hands on the final book. Read it now, you won't regret it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/03/12/... I was happy to find that The Rosewater Insurrection was as weird and wonderful as its predecessor. In many ways, I even got along better with it because the story was slightly simpler and easier to follow, and it also features one of my favorite characters from the first book as the protagonist. This time, we get to ride along with Aminat while her lover Kaaro, the main character from the first book, takes on a more support 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/03/12/... I was happy to find that The Rosewater Insurrection was as weird and wonderful as its predecessor. In many ways, I even got along better with it because the story was slightly simpler and easier to follow, and it also features one of my favorite characters from the first book as the protagonist. This time, we get to ride along with Aminat while her lover Kaaro, the main character from the first book, takes on a more supporting role. This sequel brings us back to Rosewater, the Nigerian city which has sprung up around the dome-like alien lifeform known as Wormwood. The country’s political climate is thrown into chaos as Jack Jacques, Rosewater’s mayor, makes a brash attempt at declaring independence, antagonizing the president of Nigeria who is not about to stand for such noncompliance. Meanwhile, in a quiet neighborhood one morning, a woman named Alyssa Sutcliffe wakes up in her home with no memory of who or where she is. The man sleeping beside her, presumably her husband if the photos around the house are any indication, is a stranger and she has no recollection of them ever getting married. There is also a daughter, whom Alyssa does not recognize at all, and she can’t even remember ever giving birth. A trip to the doctor finds nothing wrong with her physically, but alerts others who might have an idea of why she is experiencing such strange memory loss. Working as a government agent, Aminat is charged with finding Alyssa for her possible part in a greater fight to save the human race even as shadowy factions conspire to keep a rising alien threat secret. In The Rosewater Insurrection, Tade Thompson continues to expand the world of his series, peeling back even more layers to explore the inner workings of this strange and fascinating setting. Even after two books, the novelty has not faded for me; I still feel as amazed as ever by the incredible world-building as well as the author’s unique take on the concept of alien first contact and invasion. As you’d recall, it’s a particularly insidious kind of takeover, involving the slow and gradual replacement of human cells with xenoform biology, which infuses this series with a subtle eeriness that is very effective. Due to some of the events in this book, the sense of danger feels much less abstract this time around, becoming more imminent—and more personal, in a way—ramping up the intensity of the suspense and action. Following in the tradition of Rosewater, this sequel is also told via multiple POVs with a narrative that jumps around in time. While I’m still not the biggest fan of the non-linear storytelling, my experience with the first book had primed me for what to expect in this follow-up, and admittedly, the plot is intriguing enough that I would be willing to give these novels a pass on anything. Plus, I loved our new characters. As much as I enjoyed following Kaaro’s point-of-view in the previous installment, I was excited when I discovered that Aminat was going to be the protagonist in this one. We got to see a deeper side of her here, and together with Alyssa the two of them made an efficient team even when their interests didn’t always align. The mercurial Jack Jacques was also a perspective character, his inconstant motivations presenting yet another puzzle piece in this ever-widening mosaic of events. It’s difficult to say much more about this book, not only because of obvious reasons involving spoilers but because there’s also the complexity of the plot to consider. There’s a strange kind of beauty about these novels that’s hard to put into words, an uncanny perfection in how all these different parts come together. Needless to say, Tade Thompson somehow connects all these various elements and and makes them work in balance and synergy. All in all, The Rosewater Insurrection is a masterfully well-crafted sequel that ties together plot threads while further expanding the world to prepare for even greater revelations in the coming finale.

  4. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    This was absolutely terrific. Better than the first book: the writing is more assured and the plotting clearer. Thompson handles a large cast with aplomb, the imagination is glorious and vivid and there's a lot of wry humour. Great ideas, haunting imagery, neither of them swamping the exciting progress of a well worked out plot. A really fantastic SF, exactly what I read the genre for. (And confirms the theory I read recently and can't forget, that all SF is now about climate change.) Thompson is This was absolutely terrific. Better than the first book: the writing is more assured and the plotting clearer. Thompson handles a large cast with aplomb, the imagination is glorious and vivid and there's a lot of wry humour. Great ideas, haunting imagery, neither of them swamping the exciting progress of a well worked out plot. A really fantastic SF, exactly what I read the genre for. (And confirms the theory I read recently and can't forget, that all SF is now about climate change.) Thompson is shaping up to be one of the best SFF writers we have. Very highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    Thank you to Orbit for sending me a review copy of The Rosewater Insurrection. It cheered me up on what has been an otherwise awful day and I'll probably read it next.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hank

    Wonderfully weird with a ton of ideas packed into the book. 4.5 stars rounded up, Tade is stuffing so many pieces into the story it can be hard to keep up sometimes. Girl power! Aminat, Femi, Lora all rock! Femi's character arc is fascinating to me, I find myself alternately cheering for her and loathing her and am completely uncertain where my final emotion will land at the end of the trilogy. Very unusual, I tend to make quick judgments and stick to them. I will definitely read the third book Wonderfully weird with a ton of ideas packed into the book. 4.5 stars rounded up, Tade is stuffing so many pieces into the story it can be hard to keep up sometimes. Girl power! Aminat, Femi, Lora all rock! Femi's character arc is fascinating to me, I find myself alternately cheering for her and loathing her and am completely uncertain where my final emotion will land at the end of the trilogy. Very unusual, I tend to make quick judgments and stick to them. I will definitely read the third book when it comes out.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gabi

    Yeah! I loved it! It's 4.5 stars in comparison with the first novel, cause I was missing the complicated structure I appreciated in the first book, but that made this sequel at least easier to follow. What a wonderful mix of truly alien aliens, coldblooded and uncaring politicians and secret organisations in a state of everybody against everybody. Thompson's prose is blunt, his characters are absolutely real and not bloodless larger-than-life heroes. His concept of the aliens is weird and mind-bog Yeah! I loved it! It's 4.5 stars in comparison with the first novel, cause I was missing the complicated structure I appreciated in the first book, but that made this sequel at least easier to follow. What a wonderful mix of truly alien aliens, coldblooded and uncaring politicians and secret organisations in a state of everybody against everybody. Thompson's prose is blunt, his characters are absolutely real and not bloodless larger-than-life heroes. His concept of the aliens is weird and mind-boggling. Reading this novel is a feast for the senses, I felt alive and intrigued and highly entertained. This is how I love a book! Kudos to Tade Thompson. Can't wait for the solution to this trilogy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    I had a hard time reorienting myself in this story initially. There are multiple PoVs, and I could not remember who a few of them were. I did, however, feel very happy that Aminat from book one had a much more prominent role in this story. The story: In which the alien invasion kicks up several notches, S45/Femi is up to her elbows in managing the situation and Rosewater Mayor Jack Jacques, who wants to make Rosewater independent from the rest of Nigeria, while Kaaro's holed up at home, enjoying I had a hard time reorienting myself in this story initially. There are multiple PoVs, and I could not remember who a few of them were. I did, however, feel very happy that Aminat from book one had a much more prominent role in this story. The story: In which the alien invasion kicks up several notches, S45/Femi is up to her elbows in managing the situation and Rosewater Mayor Jack Jacques, who wants to make Rosewater independent from the rest of Nigeria, while Kaaro's holed up at home, enjoying his retirement from S45, and Aminat is dealing with the alien situation directly. Oh, and the story moves back and forth through time and from PoV to PoV. The brilliant worldbuilding, and sheer weirdness of Rosewater continues unabated here. The characters and their motivations are diverse and complicated, and set up the book's violent confrontation. There is much at stake for everyone, and Tade Thompson doesn't disappoint with this second installment.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dawn C

    I was extremely fond of the first Rosewater book, and the sequel didn’t disappoint. Again we follow a few different characters, some familiar faces from the first book and some new people. Kaaro makes appearances but not as the main character and this suits the story very well. The thing I fell for in the first book is how truly alien the aliens of Rosewater is. Instead of any clear communication with them, they exist through the influence they have on their surroundings, the flora and fauna and I was extremely fond of the first Rosewater book, and the sequel didn’t disappoint. Again we follow a few different characters, some familiar faces from the first book and some new people. Kaaro makes appearances but not as the main character and this suits the story very well. The thing I fell for in the first book is how truly alien the aliens of Rosewater is. Instead of any clear communication with them, they exist through the influence they have on their surroundings, the flora and fauna and the human life in the area where the biodome has rooted itself. It’s almost like an afterthought that they have a voice - the focus is on the effect they have on the population of Rosewater and how people in the government and in private utilize it or describe it to us. The biodome and the alien life is a character that we can never really communicate with, but we can see the effect it has on us, on purpose or not. I’m reminded a little of Jeff VanderMeer’s writing in this regard. Less confusing than the first one, this had a more clear narrative. I’m almost sad I finished it so quickly, now I’ll have way too long to wait for the final installation of the series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit books for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    This is the second volume of Rosewater trilogy. The review contains spoilers of the first book. The slow invasion continues. We start with the action sequence, some new guy, Eric (S45 Agent) tries to kill an agitator in Rosewater. It gives us, readers, a pace for the book and continues not so much jumping in time, as the narrative of the first volume, but among multiple characters. Kaaro, the protagonist of the first book is more a background (albeit important) presence, while major protagonists This is the second volume of Rosewater trilogy. The review contains spoilers of the first book. The slow invasion continues. We start with the action sequence, some new guy, Eric (S45 Agent) tries to kill an agitator in Rosewater. It gives us, readers, a pace for the book and continues not so much jumping in time, as the narrative of the first volume, but among multiple characters. Kaaro, the protagonist of the first book is more a background (albeit important) presence, while major protagonists are his girlfriend Aminat, invaders’ avatar Anthony (both from the first book) and new characters – Alyssa, a woman with suspiciously high share of alien sells and no memory and Jacques, a populist mayor of Rosewater. There are new threats, more information of aliens and their goals. Some of the fights for me reminded comic books, like Superman fighting Swamp Thing. It is a bit too much pathos but overall a nice read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Rating:★★★★+ Starting this review off with thanks to Orbit and the author for an advanced reading copy of The Rosewater Insurrection (The Wormwood Trilogy #2) in exchange for an open and honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel. So, unfortunately, I did not get around to reviewing Book 1 of this trilogy as I read it during the holidays where life seemed to always get in the way of being in front of a computer. Nothing wrong with that, but I did not g Rating:★★★★+ Starting this review off with thanks to Orbit and the author for an advanced reading copy of The Rosewater Insurrection (The Wormwood Trilogy #2) in exchange for an open and honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel. So, unfortunately, I did not get around to reviewing Book 1 of this trilogy as I read it during the holidays where life seemed to always get in the way of being in front of a computer. Nothing wrong with that, but I did not get to share my praise for Thompson’s SF debut. Rosewater was such an astounding and visceral read, and absolutely unlike anything I have ever read. Book 2 takes it to another level. With Kaaro taking a backseat this time around, we get to follow along in the boots of his lover, Aminat. She is tasked with finding and apprehending a woman who may be the key to the survival of not only the people of Rosewater, but the human race as a whole. The woman she is in charge of finding is Alyssa Sutcliffe, who has just woken up with .50 cal sized gaps in her memory, even doubting who she really is. Meanwhile, Rosewater is in complete turmoil as its mayor, Jack Jacques, has decided to piss of the Nigerian President by declaring independence, culminating in a massive amount of external resistance. Then, of course, you have the hidden conflict between the entity known as Wormwood and an evil that has stopped it dead in its tracks. While Thompson’s narrative style stays the same, non-linear with multiple POVs, the story is a little easier to follow this time around as there aren’t as many jumps back or forward in time. I know that was a small issue for me in Book 1, which lead to some rewinds and mental preparedness whenever I sat down to read. Much like in Book 1, the author has a knack for creating characters (whether or not you want to, or are supposed to, root for them is up for debate), but he really shines in his world-building. While The Wormwood Trilogy is built on the somewhat “small-scale”, this book feels epic in its execution. The addition of the xenosphere just adds an extra layer of originality and broadens the sandbox Thompson has to play in. The writing is exquisite; the prose tantalizing. You’ll be hooked from page one and by the time you are finished, you’ll be foaming at the mouth for Book 3. This is the future. It is what science fiction needs to be.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tomislav

    Tade Thompson is a British-born and raised writer of Nigerian descent. I read his first novel of the Wormwood Trilogy, Rosewater, last year and liked it quite a bit. That was nominated for several awards last year, but did not win. This second novel was recently released and I read it in trade paperback right away. The conclusion to the trilogy, The Rosewater Redemption, is scheduled for publication in October of this year. This novel continues the story of Wormwood, a living alien artifact that Tade Thompson is a British-born and raised writer of Nigerian descent. I read his first novel of the Wormwood Trilogy, Rosewater, last year and liked it quite a bit. That was nominated for several awards last year, but did not win. This second novel was recently released and I read it in trade paperback right away. The conclusion to the trilogy, The Rosewater Redemption, is scheduled for publication in October of this year. This novel continues the story of Wormwood, a living alien artifact that arose out of the ground in Nigeria in 2055, in the city of Rosewater which has arisen around the site by 2067. Many of the ambiguities regarding the nature and motivation of the aliens are explained in this volume. Another major shift is that the perspective character is now Aminat, who had a peripheral role as Kaaro’s romantic interest in Rosewater. Aminat is a more conventional, less complex figure – a highly skilled agent of S45, a government agency ostensibly investigating the aliens. So, this novel feels like a strong-female-lead action thriller, albeit in a weird fiction future, and less like an existential puzzle reminiscent of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy (that starts with Annihilation). With a backdrop of a divisive and violent African national political system, the plot takes Aminat through interactions with alien forces and the ambitious agendas of human figures that test what are her true loyalties. The best part of this work is the original worldbuilding, although the action is also well balanced. I intend to complete the trilogy, but am less enthusiastic than I was with Rosewater.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Pleasingly, the sequel to Rosewater shifts focus from Kaaro to Aminat, his girlfriend. Although I found Kaaro an excellent protagonist, so is Aminat and it’s always nice when female characters get to be centre stage. The plot is perhaps slightly looser than in the prequel, revolving around the mayor of Rosewater declaring independence and the aliens being threatened by a plant-like entity. The world-building is once again excellent, vivid, and distinctive. Making the mayor a point of view charac Pleasingly, the sequel to Rosewater shifts focus from Kaaro to Aminat, his girlfriend. Although I found Kaaro an excellent protagonist, so is Aminat and it’s always nice when female characters get to be centre stage. The plot is perhaps slightly looser than in the prequel, revolving around the mayor of Rosewater declaring independence and the aliens being threatened by a plant-like entity. The world-building is once again excellent, vivid, and distinctive. Making the mayor a point of view character allows the the politics of an alien-centric Nigerian city to play out in a very interesting fashion. Human conflicts run parallel to alien conflicts, while the human-alien conflict remains implicit in the background. Thompson juggles narrators very deftly to give a wide view of events. Various plot developments also defy expectations in amusing and powerful ways. (view spoiler)[I particularly liked the mayor’s willingness to surrender when all seemed lost. This level of realism is unusual in fictional male leaders. The reader knows that something is likely to come along and save the situation, but there’s no reason for him to think so! I also liked that his wife considered the reanimated so important, and her compassion later paid off. (hide spoiler)] Aminat and Alyssa’s adventures are really exciting, with some spectacular action sequences. There are also some excellent incidences of body horror or just bodily weirdness, providing literal manifestations of how alien exposure is changing humanity. Even a few moments of hilarity. Walter is another great narrator, strategically deployed, while Femi remains a frustrating enigma to all around her. Not making her a narrator was likewise a sensible choice. I’m really enjoying this series so far. I have a particular fondness for fiction in which a city has sufficient presence to be the main character, which is definitely the case here. The human and alien characters are involving and varied (view spoiler)[in this case including a delightful embodied AI called Lora (hide spoiler)] . The cultural and social world-building weaves history, technology, and alien influence together beautifully. The plot is complex and thoughtful, while periodically making space for dramatic and exciting violence. In the Rosewater novels, Thompson explores questions of how how humans can co-exist with one another, let alone with aliens. They feature strange mindscapes, alien pests, new religions, dangerous weapons, and a range of well-developed interpersonal relationships. Both the details and the broad themes are equally effective. The ensemble casts are balanced so well that the city itself has a clear and fascinating identity. When reading about Rosewater, you start to understand why residents would fight for its independence.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    I thoroughly enjoyed this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Brown

    Excellent sequel to Rosewater! Looking forward to the rest of Rosewater Trilogy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)

    TW: sexual assault (in a flashback) How do I even describe this book? Let’s start with the basics. The Rosewater Insurrection is the sequel to Tade Thompson’s astounding “aliens invade Nigeria” novel, Rosewater. If you haven’t read Rosewater, you need to get on that ASAP! And I would highly recommend reading Rosewater before you read The Rosewater Insurrection. No guarantees that this review won’t contain spoilers for the first book. The Rosewater Insurrection shifts the narrative away from Kaaro TW: sexual assault (in a flashback) How do I even describe this book? Let’s start with the basics. The Rosewater Insurrection is the sequel to Tade Thompson’s astounding “aliens invade Nigeria” novel, Rosewater. If you haven’t read Rosewater, you need to get on that ASAP! And I would highly recommend reading Rosewater before you read The Rosewater Insurrection. No guarantees that this review won’t contain spoilers for the first book. The Rosewater Insurrection shifts the narrative away from Kaaro and to other characters, including Aminat, Kaaro’s lover and a government agent working to stem the tide of the alien invasion. In a wealthy suburb of Rosewater, a white woman named Alyssa Sutcliffe wakes up with no memory of who she is and a determined belief that Alyssa Sutcliffe’s life is not her life. Aminat is given a task: apprehend Alyssa, for Alyssa is the first human to have become majority alien (as a reminder, the alien invasion of Rosewater consists of slowly replacing our cells with alien biology). But difficulties arise as Aminat gets caught in the conflict between the mayor of Rosewater, Jack Jacques, and the president of Nigeria. Out of all the new protagonists, Aminat was my favorite. This series has some great female characters, which is something I always look for. Aminat is capable and dedicated to her job, but she’s not quite as heartless as her superiors. Meanwhile, Alyssa presents an intriguing situation on which I don’t want to say too much… Jack Jacques is another central character, and it becomes easy to wonder whether he’s acting out of self-interest or truly for the benefit of Rosewater. Then again, a lot of the time he doesn’t seem to have much choice. A fourth character is an author who has excerpts of his books appear before he begins chronicling the events of The Rosewater Insurrection as they occur. I’d wondered why his books were being excerpted, so my curiosity was eventually satisfied! The world building of this series is just so amazing. It doesn’t act like the future is a thinly veiled version of today. Instead, it has all sorts of marvelous complexity. There’s a sentient robot, a barter and IOU economic system in Rosewater, weird alien biology, and a secret society of African politicians. And they all mesh together beautifully. I don’t know how to review The Rosewater Insurrection. It’s a wonderfully inventive novel that brings disparate plot threads together in a stunning conclusion that still leaves room for the third and final book of the trilogy. I received an ARC with the expectation of a free and honest review. Review from The Illustrated Page.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lee Gingras

    I feel bad giving this only two stars. I LOVED the first book, which was one of the best books I read in 2019, but unfortunately, it feels like this sequel drags under its own weight. The first book set forward all the pieces, which delivered feat after feat of imagination. This book focuses more on putting the pieces into battle, which I just can’t find as compelling. The plotting seems sloppier too; the parallel storylines just barely held together in the first one, and in the second they just I feel bad giving this only two stars. I LOVED the first book, which was one of the best books I read in 2019, but unfortunately, it feels like this sequel drags under its own weight. The first book set forward all the pieces, which delivered feat after feat of imagination. This book focuses more on putting the pieces into battle, which I just can’t find as compelling. The plotting seems sloppier too; the parallel storylines just barely held together in the first one, and in the second they just tangle together. This is probably something that could have been majorly helped with a better editor. All that said...of COURSE I’ll read the third book when it comes out. I have to know what happens next.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

    Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature! I read and reviewed Rosewater back in November and absolutely loved it for its inventiveness and fresh take on the sci-fi genre. I was excited to read this sequel because I knew it would follow more of Aminat's character, and on that count this book absolutely delivered. The Rosewater Insurrection picks up pretty quickly after the events of the first book, which made it easy to jump right back into it. I can't go into any specifics in this review be Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature! I read and reviewed Rosewater back in November and absolutely loved it for its inventiveness and fresh take on the sci-fi genre. I was excited to read this sequel because I knew it would follow more of Aminat's character, and on that count this book absolutely delivered. The Rosewater Insurrection picks up pretty quickly after the events of the first book, which made it easy to jump right back into it. I can't go into any specifics in this review because I don't want to give anything away, but the premise mainly focuses on Aminat as she is set to track down a woman who has proven to be vitally important to the survival of the human race itself. In addition to Aminat's storyline, we also largely follow Jack Jacques (a tongue-twister of a name for me), mayor of Rosewater, who is fighting to make Rosewater independent from Nigeria and thus angering the Nigerian president in the process. The simple, matter-of-fact writing style that was present in Rosewater was just as strong here in the sequel and it also continued to keep be a style that kept me engaged. There's something about the clear cut style that helps me follow along an otherwise potentially complex plotline with many components to explore. Thompson does a wonderful job of examining the human vs. alien dynamic and how this sort of 'invasion' onto Earth could occur and what the ramifications of that could be. There are a lot of thoughtful themes to explore on this matter and that is also what makes these books so incredible. I also think the way that Thompson created his alien species was really inventive and had so many possibilities attached to it that kept me wanting to know more about them. As mentioned, The Rosewater Insurrection follows both Aminat and Jack as its main protagonists, but it also occasionally jumps to a man named Eric's POV. Eric is the only POV that jumps between various time periods, so if the back and forth POVs of the first book were frustrating for you then you'll appreciate this book's much more linear storytelling. There are one or two other characters that pop up throughout the book, but these are also minimal and add some interesting extra elements. Aminat continues to be an awesome character who I really enjoy following. She's tough and not someone I'd want to mess with, but she's certainly not heartless or without care for others, both of which are traits that make her a well-rounded and engaging character. The only less than positive thing I have to say about this book is that I felt slightly disassociated with the actions of the story at times. I've been trying to determine whether this was a personal issue since I read this during a couple of anxiety/stress-heavy days or whether there was something about the narrative that held me at a bit of an arm's length. There was just something about this book that didn't pull me in or make me feel quite as invested as I was with the first book. Things seemed to happen too quickly and I think part of it might simply be that I never had a chance to really ingratiate myself into the world since everyone was constantly on the move. A slight slowing of the pacing might have benefited this book. Overall, I've given The Rosewater Insurrection four stars! If you enjoyed Rosewater, then I highly recommend you pick up the sequel if you weren't already planning to do so. If you didn't like Rosewater due to the POV and time shifts, then I still recommend you pick this one up and give it another chance! The alien/human aspect of this book is fascinating and totally worth the read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    The exciting second volume of the trilogy more than lives up to expectations, starting again with a slow burn and a lot of complexly moving parts, then building to a dazzlingly weird symphony of plant intelligence, mind-controlled zombies, psychedelic dream warriors, alien invasion, and African geopolitics.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Annikky

    4- I liked this a bit less than the first book: it has too many POVs for my taste, which makes it very fragmented. Still good, though.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    At the end of the first book in this series I felt the plot was wound up so well that I could not see where else it would go. I was dying to find out, so had this, the second book, on pre-order. The story of Kaaro, Aminat and Wormwood continues with threats to both the human and alien characters. The threats originate both on Earth and beyond. They are imaginative, unusual and wonderful (in the old fashioned sense of full of dramatic wonder) as is the entire premise of the series. I love the fre At the end of the first book in this series I felt the plot was wound up so well that I could not see where else it would go. I was dying to find out, so had this, the second book, on pre-order. The story of Kaaro, Aminat and Wormwood continues with threats to both the human and alien characters. The threats originate both on Earth and beyond. They are imaginative, unusual and wonderful (in the old fashioned sense of full of dramatic wonder) as is the entire premise of the series. I love the freshness of this series. I have been listening to the audiobook on Audible. The narrator is also excellent and compliments the book perfectly. Most fun I’ve had with a science fiction series in years. Can't wait for the last one to be released in October.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Strange and addictive, Thompson’s gritty, futuristic story expands on the world he introduced in Rosewater and gives us even more mysteries surrounding the alien life form known as Wormwood. If you’re looking for a unique take on the first contact/alien invasion story, then look no further than Tade Thompson’s Wormwood Trilo I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The nitty-gritty: Strange and addictive, Thompson’s gritty, futuristic story expands on the world he introduced in Rosewater and gives us even more mysteries surrounding the alien life form known as Wormwood. If you’re looking for a unique take on the first contact/alien invasion story, then look no further than Tade Thompson’s Wormwood Trilogy. The Rosewater Insurrection is the second book in the series and I loved it just as much as Rosewater. This is a series you must read in order, however, so do start with Rosewater before you jump into this book. The Rosewater Insurrection alternates among several main characters, who at first seem to have little or no connection to each other, but as the story progresses, it turns out they are all connected in very important ways. Alyssa Sutcliff wakes up one morning with no memories of who she is. It appears that she’s married to a man named Mark Sutcliff, and they have a daughter named Pat. But no matter how many family photos she looks at, or how earnestly Mark tells her that they love each other, Alyssa cannot bring any of those memories to the surface. Aminat and her boss Femi are trying to figure out a chemical way to separate xenoforms from humans—xenoforms being the alien genetic material that has started to bond with human tissue, ever since the alien Wormwood planted itself in Nigeria twelve years earlier. When Femi tells her that a human who is 79% xenoform is walking around Rosewater, she insists that Aminat find her and bring her into the lab for testing. Jack Jacques is the mayor of Rosewood, but he’s being threatened by another candidate in the upcoming election. His only chance at keeping his title is to make a bold and dangerous political move that could end up killing him. Anthony is the alien avatar of Wormwood, using a human body to go outside the biodome. When the dome is breached by an outside threat, it’s up to him to find that enemy and stop it. And Eric works for the secret government organization S45, and has been told by his superiors that in order to redeem himself for past failures, he must find and assassinate the mayor of Rosewater. At the center of all these characters is the biodome, an alien construct that opens once a year and heals whoever is nearby. But something is attacking the biodome, and the citizens of Rosewater are about to get caught in the crossfire. Just like Rosewater, this book jumps around a lot, so it takes some time for the story threads to start coming together into a cohesive tale. And there are a lot of characters to sift through and get to know. But hang in there, because eventually all the threads begin to make sense, and about halfway through, the story took off at a fairly fast pace and I had a hard time putting it down. I had all sorts of questions in the beginning. Who is Alyssa? How is she connected to the alien? Why is Eric trying to kill Jack? And what the hell is the creepy, Seymour-like alien plant that’s killing people left and right? There are plenty of mysteries, and it was lots of fun discovering how everything is connected. In addition to some of my favorite characters who return from the last book—Kaaro and Aminat, for example—we get to meet some new characters. I especially enjoyed Jack’s story, and even more so I loved his loyal assistant, a woman named Lora who surprised me in the best possible way. Thompson adds so many details to his characters’ lives, like the fact that Jack’s wife Hannah works tirelessly to secure rights for the reanimates, the dead who come back to life when the dome opens. This hobby of hers doesn’t sit well with Jack, who thinks it reflects poorly on his political career. And then there’s my favorite couple, Kaaro and Aminat. Kaaro is almost a background character this time around, as the focus is more on Aminat. But there are plenty of scenes where they interact, and these were some of my favorites in the book. Kaaro is a “sensitive” and can access the xenosphere by leaving his body, where he can communicate with the alien. He is able to “bring” Aminat there as well, where they sometimes go for sexual trysts or to talk secretly. They truly love each other, and even near the end when just about every character is in terrible danger, the strength of their relationship is nearly blinding. I found all of Thompson’s ideas fascinating and thought-provoking. The idea that an alien life form can take over a planet by simply integrating its DNA with that of humans is actually pretty terrifying! Everyone in Rosewater has at least some of the xenoforms inside them, and some people, like Kaaro, have been irrevocably changed because of this. In this book we get to see that Rosewater isn’t the only place affected by the alien invasion. We also get a wider view of where the alien comes from and ultimately what it wants, but I still had so many unanswered questions at the end of the book. Hopefully Thompson will give us more answers in the final book of the series, The Rosewater Redemption . Tade Thompson’s series can be a bit challenging to read, but those who take the time to untangle all the delightful threads of this story will be rewarded. For serious SF fans, these books are a must read. Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.This review originally appeared on Books, Bones & Buffy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The city of Rosewater has become a focal point, not just for Nigeria, but for the entire planet. A vast city-sized entity, known as Wormwood, is slowly changing the world we inhabit. Those that live in the shadow of the being are evolving in strange and sometimes frightening ways. Diseases as being cured but bodies are becoming something far more than human in the process. As far as the masses are concerned the intentions of this alien visitor remain shrouded in mystery. Some view Wormwood’s exi The city of Rosewater has become a focal point, not just for Nigeria, but for the entire planet. A vast city-sized entity, known as Wormwood, is slowly changing the world we inhabit. Those that live in the shadow of the being are evolving in strange and sometimes frightening ways. Diseases as being cured but bodies are becoming something far more than human in the process. As far as the masses are concerned the intentions of this alien visitor remain shrouded in mystery. Some view Wormwood’s existence as the proof of some benign deity. Some see the changes as evidence that humanity can evolve and become something more. While others react with a defensive response; anything otherworldly should be feared and destroyed. Who is right? How will events in Rosewater reshape our world? There are only a select few who are beginning to understand just how far reaching the ramifications of this ever-changing relationship between mankind and alien will be. Jack Jacques, Rosewater’s mayor, is a canny sort. He is a man who excels when it comes to the art of deal making. Rosewater is a potential powder keg at the best of times and any leader has to be able to keep multiple political plates spinning or risk any number horrific outcomes. Jacques views himself as the man for that job. Through natural skill, sheer bloody-mindedness, and on some occasions, pure dumb luck, he has risen to the ultimate position of power in the world’s most important city. When the President of Nigeria becomes distrustful of Jacques political vision the battle for Rosewater begins in earnest. On the ground it is up to agents like Aminat to try and keep control of an extremely delicate situation. Being on the frontline events means her actions, and reactions, are directly contributing to the nature of the growing conflict. As things get worse and worse doubts are starting to creep into Aminat’s mind. Is she working for the right side? Operatives are expected to follow orders without question but Aminat knows that there is no simple resolution. Can she continue to follow commands, or is there some other way? The head of the clandestine agency S45, Femi, makes a return. She remains a force of nature, Amanda Waller* on steroids. Containing an alien presence requires nerves of steel and a grim determination to get the job done. Femi is ever the opportunist and as much of a player as the mayor. The only real distinction between the two is that Jacques is upfront and in your face when it comes to his ambitions. Femi, what with being an agent and all, is far less overt. She manipulates events, cajoles other people and always tries to remain five steps ahead of everyone else. The moments between these two are some of the best in the novel. Kaaro, the main protagonist from book one, also makes an appearance and it is fascinating to see how the psychological fallout he suffered previously continues to leave its mark. His relationship with Aminat is the real driving force behind his motivations and you get a real sense he is prepared to do anything to ensure her safety. Happy being relegated to the side lines, Kaaro reacts in a spectacular fashion when he is forced back into the epicentre of events. I genuinely can’t fault anything about the characterisation in this novel. Tade Thompson’s writing deftly explores each different character’s perspective of events. There is a particularly brilliant section of the book where a character called Walter is briefly thrust into the midst of the unfolding crisis. Injecting this fresh viewpoint into the narrative just at that point in the plot is a stroke of genius. Events have reached fever pitch and suddenly there is an entirely new view of what is going on. It gives the reader the opportunity to re-evaluate all the characters from a slightly different angle. Exploring everything from politics to religion, artificial intelligence to evolution, there is so much to savour in this story. The best genre fiction doesn’t just entertain a reader, it informs them. Thompson’s work is immediately captivating, solidly evocative and genuinely thought provoking. I always consider it a rare treat when I get to read such well executed fiction.

  25. 5 out of 5

    brian

    Reviewer's Note: This is a review of the second novel in the Wormwood trilogy, so spoilers for the first novel should be expected. If you haven't read Rosewater, you should do that first because it's excellent, but The Rosewater Insurrection does an admirable job of bringing a new reader up to speed. While I never recommend jumping into the middle of a trilogy, it could work in this case. Either way, the spoiler-free review of The Rosewater Insurrection is that it's action-packed and slightly we Reviewer's Note: This is a review of the second novel in the Wormwood trilogy, so spoilers for the first novel should be expected. If you haven't read Rosewater, you should do that first because it's excellent, but The Rosewater Insurrection does an admirable job of bringing a new reader up to speed. While I never recommend jumping into the middle of a trilogy, it could work in this case. Either way, the spoiler-free review of The Rosewater Insurrection is that it's action-packed and slightly weird, but doesn't quite live up to the previous novel. 7/10. Last warning, spoilers for Rosewater will follow. Following the events of Rosewater, The Rosewater Insurrection follows a handful of different perspectives as the city of Rosewater continues to act as host to an invading but seemingly benevolent alien. What the residents of Rosewater don't know is that the alien is just a "footholder" for a subtle but complete invasion as aliens essentially download themselves into human bodies. While this starts to take shape, the government of Rosewater declares its independence from their host county of Nigeria, which turns all eyes inward at a time when the alien is going through some changes. Where Rosewater largely followed Kaaro, The Rosewater Insurrection makes Kaaro a secondary character to several others, such as Aminat, the alien avatar Anthony, and other characters more central to the plot. The multiple perspective changes serve to give a more complete picture of what's going on within the city of Rosewater than the singular perspective from Kaaro, but the non-linearity of perspective and the expanded cast is a lot to keep track of sometimes. The point, however, is that Rosewater is the focus of the story moreso than any one character. While this hopping around might make a novel feel jittery or uneven, The Rosewater Insurrection progressively and competently builds to a crescendo that mostly pays off. Like the previous novel, this one suitably combines the near-future with weirdness and it's still fun the second time around. It does pull some stuff out of its pocket that feels like rewriting continuity a bit, but I'm excited to see where the next novel goes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Reviews & Robots

    The Rosewater Insurrection takes us further into the mysteries of Thompson’s infinitely inventive world, supported by a bevy of narratives all providing unique perspectives on the unfolding events. Tensions are high amidst this strange city built on the outskirts of the epic alien dome, and the world begins to unravel as the alien’s plans become clear. This second book in the series feels unique from the first, shifting to a focus on the alien’s intentions with Earth and the events required to f The Rosewater Insurrection takes us further into the mysteries of Thompson’s infinitely inventive world, supported by a bevy of narratives all providing unique perspectives on the unfolding events. Tensions are high amidst this strange city built on the outskirts of the epic alien dome, and the world begins to unravel as the alien’s plans become clear. This second book in the series feels unique from the first, shifting to a focus on the alien’s intentions with Earth and the events required to further their plan. The groups of characters include some we know and some we’ve only seen at the periphery of Kaaro narrative. This expansion deepens the story, giving us fascinating insights into a future where alien lifeforms threaten to change humanity to its very core. I was most impressed by the range of characters the narrative inhabits. We follow Aminat, Kaaro’s mysterious girlfriend from the first novel, and the groundbreaking work she’s a part of. Section 45 is as present as ever, continuing their work to uncover the alien intentions with Earth and to combat the ill effects of these microbes that have infected every part of the planet. We follow Anthony, the alien being within Wormwood, as it continuously creates human facsimiles and attempts to complete the first phase of a sinister plan. It’s a fascinating creature that’s more robot than human. We also get a look inside the mayor’s point of view as he attempts to secure his hold on the city from the federal government. Overall, The Rosewater Insurrection is an exciting addition to The Wormwood Trilogy, filled with excellent writing and character narratives. The world building is top notch, as always, promising an explosive ending to come for this innovative trilogy. NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Howley

    I'm setting this at 4 stars largely because of how much I loved the first book, but how I feel about it long term will depend a lot on the conclusion to the trilogy. That's not a super great feeling, and I will try to articulate why without giving too much away. Unlike "Rosewater", which largely followed a single POV character through a couple intersecting timelines, "Insurrection" follows a fistful of POVs through a largely linear sequence. This was a nice change of pace, as Kaaro did not need t I'm setting this at 4 stars largely because of how much I loved the first book, but how I feel about it long term will depend a lot on the conclusion to the trilogy. That's not a super great feeling, and I will try to articulate why without giving too much away. Unlike "Rosewater", which largely followed a single POV character through a couple intersecting timelines, "Insurrection" follows a fistful of POVs through a largely linear sequence. This was a nice change of pace, as Kaaro did not need to be central to this story, but I had a hard time getting invested in a few of the new voices. Two of them seemed completely unnecessary to anything in the plot or character dynamics, so I'm really hoping they play more important roles in the third book. This book also sets up some interesting dynamics within the alien systems, choosing to open more to the reader instead of keeping things mysterious. Similar to the way Molara was a built-in control against "sensitives" in the first book, this one features physical xenoforms sent by the aliens within Wormwood to keep the biodome in check. I loved this concept and was fascinated by the plot as it largely developed away form the page, but felt really let down by its resolution. From the star tI thought it was going to be a much bigger part of the book but in the end it almost seemed like afterthought. Middle bits of trilogies are always tricky, and this one is no different. I'm still very excited to read the rest of this story and will happily recommend it and anything else by Tade Thompson to anyone looking to expand their horizons.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Villain E

    I have a new pet peeve: when a writer tells a story from multiple character perspectives and they all sound the same. The point of different perspectives is different voices and ideas. In this book there are some first-person chapters, some third-person chapters, even excerpts from a novel, and they all sound exactly the same. If this were all first-person from one character, like the first book, it wouldn't bother me. If this were third-person-omniscient, it wouldn't bother me. For that matter, I have a new pet peeve: when a writer tells a story from multiple character perspectives and they all sound the same. The point of different perspectives is different voices and ideas. In this book there are some first-person chapters, some third-person chapters, even excerpts from a novel, and they all sound exactly the same. If this were all first-person from one character, like the first book, it wouldn't bother me. If this were third-person-omniscient, it wouldn't bother me. For that matter, if Tade Thompson had a more subtle writing style, I wouldn't notice it. But the style is so strong, and it's the same no matter whose head we're in, and it shows a limitation of the writer's ability. All that said, I still like the style. It's dry and detailed. In the previous book, I thought the character sounded like he was on the autism spectrum. This book still reads that way. That I recall, this is the first time a strong writing voice has resonated with me. After the unique and roundabout introduction to the aliens in the first book, we get much less subtle explanation of who the aliens are, what the dome and the xenosphere and everything else are for, and it's right in the beginning of the book. I wondered why the big reveal was at the beginning, but it sets up the multiple-front story we follow here. I kept wondering where the story was taking me. Then I reread the title and went, "Oh. Duh." If the first book was dipping the reader's toe in the water, this book pushed you in. I didn't love it the whole way through because of the aforementioned pet peeve, but as soon as I finished this, I looked up the release date of the next one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Harris

    I'm grateful to the publisher for a free advance copy of The Rosewater Insurrection. After the successful and groundbreaking Rosewater, published in 2018, Thompson returns with that "difficult middle book" in his trilogy, The Rosewater Insurrection. It is 2067, and the Mayor of Rosewater, Jack Jacques, is centre stage, manoeuvring for the city's independence from Nigeria. But the alien presence that is the foundation of Rosewater's prosperity (indeed the foundation of Rosewater full stop) seems t I'm grateful to the publisher for a free advance copy of The Rosewater Insurrection. After the successful and groundbreaking Rosewater, published in 2018, Thompson returns with that "difficult middle book" in his trilogy, The Rosewater Insurrection. It is 2067, and the Mayor of Rosewater, Jack Jacques, is centre stage, manoeuvring for the city's independence from Nigeria. But the alien presence that is the foundation of Rosewater's prosperity (indeed the foundation of Rosewater full stop) seems to be ailing - at just the wrong time for Jacques' plans. The result is a book that seems rather more conventional than Rosewater, taking forward the two themes of the independence struggle and the alien presence with a lot more detail given about the alien's origin and purpose. I won't go into specifics about that as it would be spoilery, but I will say that this is a much easier book to understand than Rosewater and the alien is less, well, inscrutable. And while, as in Rosewater, there are some flashbacks in this book, they are more clearly signalled as the backstory of particular characters (Jacques himself, Eric who is, with Kaaro, one of only two survivors of those who could enter the xenosphere, the web of fungus-mediated alien consciousness, Anthony who is - well, spoilers). The Rosewater Insurrection also seems faster-paced, Thompson trading some of the mystery and alien weirdness of the previous book for a slicker, thriller-y story as Jacques mobilises his forces for battle, struggling against internal dissension, possible treachery and the unexpected failing of the alien. The last is something of immediate concern to Kaaro and the remaining elements of Section 45, the secret Government agency set up to study and exploit the alien - a group whose position in Rosewater is now ambiguous. Once this situation begins to develop, the story becomes fluid, compelling and full of jeopardy, Thompson moving his protagonists around the chaotic city in a situation which has echoes with recent examples of urban collapse in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. At times it becomes distinctly grim - the stakes are high, and some of the players set loose, on both sides, are far from noble. Indeed there's not exactly any noble cause here: Jacques seems mainly to want power, the Nigerian Government is ready to unleash mayhem to stop him, and the alien wants - well, the alien wants what aliens want. Meantime, Thompson asks "what slouches towards Rosewater?" The characters we most synthesise with - Kaaro, Aminat, Lora - are a little outside this setup, seeking survival or the protection of loved ones. And then there's a Alyssa, a mysterious woman whose survival seems key to the whole situation and who rapidly becomes a sought-after pawn... It's a satisfying knotty, morally murky situation with plenty of peril, characters at crossed purposes and real sense that everything might go wrong. To answer my implied question above, I think Thompson handles the "middle book" challenge here with aplomb. The Rosewater Insurrection isn't just "more Rosewater" (though it does deliver a wider and a deeper perspective on that remarkable city), rather it does slightly different things with the situation established in the first book, engaging the reader again with that world (while moving things on, without too much of a fuss, for whatever denouement awaits in Book 3). And, while you'd be daft not to read the first book too, this second one is self-contained enough that you could start here if you wanted. Thompson also has a way with his characters, building identity convincingly. Anthony, an avatar of the alien "footholder", is endlessly recreated by the alien each time the previous instance dies or is damaged. Based on the original Anthony, a white Briton scooped up in London, he continually tinkers with his skin colour, attempting to match those around him but never succeeding. Jacques himself has had an unexpectedly traumatic past. Kaaro's freedom of action is limited by his refusal, as everything falls apart, to abandon his dog. Taken together we're presented with an ensemble of believable characters and some moments of real sadness and loss. This is a strong sequel to Rosewater which, without losing anything of what made that book special, is perhaps more accessible as well as broadening the scope of Thompson's imagined future. I'd strongly recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rob Wolf

    (Disclosure: I interviewed Tade Thompson on New Books in Science Fiction and received a free review copy. Listen here: https://robwolf.net/2019/03/21/alien-...) Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection takes us deep into the heart of an alien invasion. The book is the second in Thompson’s Wormwood trilogy. The first, Rosewater, earned the inaugural Nommo Award for Best Novel, Africa’s first-ever prize for speculative fiction. Both books are great reads, which bodes will for the final book, slate (Disclosure: I interviewed Tade Thompson on New Books in Science Fiction and received a free review copy. Listen here: https://robwolf.net/2019/03/21/alien-...) Tade Thompson’s The Rosewater Insurrection takes us deep into the heart of an alien invasion. The book is the second in Thompson’s Wormwood trilogy. The first, Rosewater, earned the inaugural Nommo Award for Best Novel, Africa’s first-ever prize for speculative fiction. Both books are great reads, which bodes will for the final book, slated for release in September. In most tales of alien invasion, mankind and the invaders battle to the death. In Thompson’s tale, however, humans are more likely to fight with each other than with aliens, with the insurrection in the title referring to the city of Rosewater’s rebellion against greater Nigeria. Meanwhile, the invaders from outer space have their own internecine conflicts, as Wormwood—a powerful consciousness that reads minds and invades human bodies—battles for its survival against a fast-growing plant from its home planet. The book reflects a subtle grasp of war and politics with characters capable of eliciting a reader’s empathy even as they sometimes behave in less than admirable ways.

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