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Rosewater by Tade Thompson #BookReview

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.

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. 

Book cover for Rosewater

Title: Rosewater | Series: The Wormwood Trilogy #1 | Author: Tade Thompson | Publisher: Orbit | Pub. Date: 2018-Sept-18 | Pages: 432 | ISBN13: 9780316449052 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Child Loss (only briefly mentioned) | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased

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Rosewater Review

First of all: Congratulations again to Tade Thompson! Rosewater was just announced as the winner of the 33rd Arthur C. Clarke Award. It is the UK’s most prestigious award for science fiction novels!

Now, on with the review!

I’d been intrigued by Rosewater for some time, but the last piece of sci-fi I’d read set in Nigeria had put me off and so I hesitated. It’s a stupid reason to hesitate, but humans are stupid creatures.

Anyways, I picked it up finally, and what I found was a story that quietly gorgeous. This is no action-packed thrill ride, so don’t go into it expecting that. Instead it’s a book that hooks you so gently you don’t know you’ve been hooked until you take a break for some reason and realize just how damn much you’ve been enjoying the story.

The aliens here are perfect. They’re somewhat reminiscent of Lovecraft’s Color out of Space. The way they’re talked about changes your perception of them over time, but you never see them as anything more or less than what they are – entirely alien.

Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like too much was how it skipped back and forth between past and present. On one hand, it let Thompson parcel out his reveals. On the other hand, I got bloody confused a few times until I double-checked my dates.

I savored this book. It wasn’t one I felt like I wanted or needed to rush through. It was a great reading experience and I had no clue where it was going most of the time. Parts of it mildly shocked me, lots of it made me curious, but mostly I was just in awe at how the author managed to give me this whole backdrop to aliens in our world without doing it in a way that meant pages of info-dumping. He gave me just enough information…and it was perfect.

Even after I’ve finished the book, I’m still intensely curious about it. I want to step back inside it and experience it again. Spend more time imagining the dome, learn a little bit more about the aliens in England, maybe leap into the future a bit and see how things are unfolding.

Tade Thompson did a fantastic job with Rosewater. I will be reading more from him.


You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inScience Fiction Book Reviews


  1. Oooh, I had never heard of this book or this author before! The book sounds so interesting! After I read your review, I went out and bought the book. Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the great review.

  2. I also got confused with the switching timelines. I admit, I was also put off by the bizarre sexual encounters in the ether. I’ve got the sequel on my tbr, it looks like it might be even better!

    • Yeah, the sexual encounters in the ether were a bit weird, but so much was strange in the book that I barely blinked an eye. Though that scene of the sucker attached the one person’s back.. *shudder*

  3. I must read this. I love a book that can quietly hook me and linger in my thoughts afterwards. That is a true gem in my “book.”

    • Yeah, it definitely needs to go up your TBR!

  4. Incredible Review 👏🏻 I’d never heard about this book, but it sounds SO good!! 😍, so I’m going to check it out 😊

    • I think you’ll love it. Incredibly well-written!

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