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4.1 out of 5 stars47
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 13 March 2012
This brilliant debut novel brings together issues of class differences with a compelling love story set in the boisterous backdrop of modern day Lagos (Nigeria). It ends with a telling statement about how far love and divided loyalties will go when truly tested.

"The Spider King's Daughter" features Abike Johnson, a shrewd, wealthy and somewhat naive young woman (when you read her different encounters on a Lagos highway, you'll understand why!). When she's not trying to beat her rather large family at a continuous game of wits and influence, she is making sure her status as "Queen Bee" is unchallenged by anyone among her peers. One day, she encounters a young hawker with an interesting past in the boisterous streets of Lagos and both begin an interesting relationship.

This might sound like your typical Romeo and Juliet story- but trust me, it isn't. As the author skilfully weaves a tale around the blossoming love between these two young hearts, she leaves us with a very profound message about the human capacity for change and our expectations about love. Not only was I alternating between laughing out loud, smiling wryly and gasping at the action-packed parts of the book, I felt very much a part of the scenes that Chibundu described. I've never been to Lagos but I could feel the hawker's exasperation as he ran from car to car in the sweltering heat and humidity of the city. I felt I was at Tejuosho market with the hawker and Aunty Precious as they attempted to choose from a large number of "bend-down-select" clothing stores. I was reminded once more of the immense wealth of Nigeria's "1%" as Abike was chauffeured into her sprawling compound everyday.

The book offers a compelling portrait of contemporary Lagos, its unique beauty and deprivation represented in equal measure. How exciting it is to see such work from a new writer with a genuine voice!
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on 5 July 2012
Having recently read several African novels, I was intrigued to read this book which had good reviews and an interesting plot-line. Unfortunately, by the time I had finished the novel I was left feeling rather disappointed - not by the plot itself, but by the ultimate execution of it. The writing style and technique was intelligent and engaging, but overall the author did not fully develop the characters and intricacies of the plot and the book therefore felt too short and rushed to be satisfying. Amongst other questions, I was left wanting to know much more about Abike's relationship with her father and ultimately about herself - who was right about whether she was just misunderstood, or as manipulative as many characters claimed? None the less, this novel gave a great account of modern Nigerian life and immersed the reader in the culture - I just wish the author had given us more!!
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on 13 March 2012
Recently, book critics seem to equate a plotless book with originality. Here is proof that a book with a plot can be original.

'The Spider King's Daughter' is a wonderful reminder of why I love reading fiction. It is first and foremost a story, one that grabs you with its strong voices and a very definitive sense of place. While the plot-a relationship that begins across class lines- seems familiar, there is enough here in the characters and in the textured descriptions of some lives in contemporary Lagos to make Ms. Onuzo's effort distinctive. I was right there in the Lagos traffic, with the familiar smells, the raised voices and of course, the heat. If anything, I would have liked the book to go on longer and to delve even deeper into the exploration of the main characters and their places in society. All in all, an enjoyable read that was over too quickly.

Maybe I'm biased because I'm from Lagos, but you'll never know if you don't read this book. : )

A promising debut. Looking forward to more from this author.
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on 27 March 2012
Amazing writing, well woven with many great lessons.
I learned a lot about people from reading this book. Chibundu has painted in an entertaining way, what truly does happen in many families and nations. These things occur although with a twist in detail, which makes the book more admirable for staying original. I hope more people read this book because it is best to stay educated and informed.

Chibundu is creative. I acknowledge all those she thanks for helping her put this book together, for the encouragement, for the imagination and for allowing this young writer maintain a sense of ingenuity throughout the pages of this debut. Well done. Looking forward to reading many more. Waiting patiently as I'm still thinking of what to do next with the lessons learned...
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The title of the book "The Spider King's Daughter" by Chibundu Onuzo intrigued me hence the reason it was chosen in April for The Rhoda Wilson Book Club.

What an enjoyable read and to imagine it was written by someone so young added brilliance to the book. Loved the parallel storytelling of the main characters; Abike and the hawker.

Abike was being trained by her father, Mr Johnson, so that one day she would take over his business empire. Despite being a treacherous businessman, he dedicated time each week for Abike's training. Sadly his training was cut abruptly following his death.

It is an irony that Abike's father had so many male children from past illicit encounters that when he was ready and settled, he ended up with a daughter. Hence he concentrated his efforts on the only legitimate child that he has.

As for the hawker, it is a big shame that he was blinded by revenge because had he not taken the action he took, who knows what Abike would have done for him future. I doubted she would have married him but she would have atleast made sure his family (his sister and mother) had a comfortable life.

The story could easily have been a non-fiction as such life changing circumstances are so prevalent in Nigeria society and it left me wondering whether it was a true story. For a first book, Chibundu Onuzo's "The Spider King's Daughter" was captivating and the unexpected twist at the end left me gasping for more. One thing I do know though is that Abike indeed is "The Spider King's Daughter."
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on 13 July 2013
Too many coincidences for my liking, weakened story. Great writing though. Specially enjoyed family like relationships formed in the streets. would read this author 's other books
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on 5 February 2013
The novel has a very interesting plot and I had high hopes at the start. However it seems perhaps the deadline to hand in the manuscripts was looming because it all just seemed rushed, leaving plenty of unanswered questions. I think the author should have spent more time on the novel. The editor should take some stick as well. Came away disappointed .
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on 30 December 2013
...but better. Lots of little revelations about the Nigerian system, culture and tradition revealed, all hidden in an apparent love story. Finished it in a day, interrupted my plans just for this. To be honest, very slightly confusing but definitely worth reading. Definitely.
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on 8 November 2013
Interesting story. I wish it were longer as I would have loved the characters to develop fully. The writer definitely has much more to come in future!
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on 15 June 2012
The Spider Kings Daughter was a fantastic book, at first it appeared to be a simple romance novel but a huge twist threatened the stability of all new relationships and lifestyles formed. From the first page, I was completely hooked by the re-encounter of what happened to Abike's dog, I wanted to know more about her relationship with her father and what their games was all about.
I couldn't bring myself to put it down and finished it all too quickly as a result. A brilliant read!
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