Binti – worth all the hype?


I began reading this book with this in mind:

This is a story of a young woman who gets an opportunity to study at a prestigious university, galaxies away from her home planet. No one in her family has ever received such an opportunity nor has anybody ever wanted to take it up. Until her. And then the reader will witness her journey through space as she leaves behind everything familiar in her deep found yearning for knowledge. How she would cope with homesickness, with being so fundamentally different from everybody else all the while feeding her need for learning.

I would have loved to read that book.

Sadly, this is not what Binti was about.

I liked the beginning of the book. I liked Binti’s worry and guilt for leaving home and family behind. I liked her cautiousness as she made new friends and timidness as she wondered at the newness of potential romantic feelings. I  really liked all the reference to her tribe life, her otjize. I liked the book just fine until the Meduse showed up.

If you’ve read the book, you know they show up pretty early on.

Here’s a list of the things I didn’t like:

The Meduse 

Why oh why must we have yet another space story where an alien species is in the habit of killing people on sight. I need to go find some books with intelligent alien life who want to build something or collaborate with humans or are seeking the help of humans. And not, you know, trying to kill us all the time.

Killing in the name of honor and purpose:

Really? So it’s okay to kill an entire space-ship full of people (minus two. This is important. Wait for it.)? Since when is mass murder okay?

Being okay with killing in the name of honor and purpose 

This one gets a different point because I am talking about Binti here. She is now helping the people who killed an entire space-ship full of people (minus two.), including her friends and a potential love interest.

Letting the pilot stay alive: he can ‘talk’ to the guys at the University and let them know everything is all right. My question is: why is there only one pilot and not a whole bunch of them? Or even a co-pilot? Is that one poor man going to fly for more than 72 hours straight by himself, with no breaks for food or bodily functions? Am I supposed to believe that he shall not seek to contact anybody on the spaceship EVER and thus discover that everybody is dead? Really? Really!?

Room security: 
Binti is worried that she has been placed in a room that has lesser security than other rooms simply because she is from a native tribe. That doesn’t even make sense! We’ve read for the last so many pages that nobody from the tribes ever travel by these space ships so why would these space ships keep rooms with less security just so they can be used in the rare event someone like her comes along??
After this review, I feel like I should be working at CinemaSins.