The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo is a work of fiction that tells the story of two young people from different social classes.
Abike is a rich, seemingly spoilt brat and runner G, a boy who fell in hard times and into the slum parts of the industrial city of Lagos. Both find each other and develop a romance.
It can be identified as a coming of age story – a bildungsroman, that takes the reader into the lives of these two, their hopes, their dreams and what led to their current point as these lovers navigate each other’s life.
One thing I love about this book is its storyline. It’s simply pleasant. I love the author’s style of describing the different settings, one can picture the scenes well. As for scenes, one of my favourite scenes was one at the earlier part of the novel where Abike made her driver intentionally cause the car to breakdown, just to meet with runner G. It made me curious on why a girl from such background has a sudden interest with an ice cream hawker.
Another interesting scene was when the two went out into the city of Lagos and Abike kept making excuses to have to not eat in a food shack located at one of the suburban parts.
“Uhm, I need to wash my hands”, girl really?
ThemeThe novel exposes the ongoing class struggle in west African cities. And class division as this is distinct in the lives of these two major characters and also significantly portrayed in the novel’s settings.
Sometimes I’d wondered what would happen if the rich girl climbed from her car to speak to me instead of sticking her head out of the window.
— Runner G
Secondly, the novel highlights corruption as a deterring element in countries like Nigeria and its citizens. Eventually, we see corruption linked in the relationship of Abike’s father and runner G’s, Aunty Precious and Mr T.
As the love between Abike and runner G grows, runner G finds out shocking truths about the person of Abike.
The girl is not who she seems
However, I felt there could be more. Apart from some unnecessary dialogues and taking the reader on the different point of views of some characters which do not differ significantly, and seems like plain repetition;
I felt there could have been more to Abike. It felt static, her views didn’t change and why? Did nothing change in her through the course of everything, still a brat? I wished the book had shown more light on the workings of her mind.
There was some effort to really make the reader understand runner G but it was like Abike was forgotten even when she is one of the main characters.
It was pleasant and quite good for an author’s first novel. Her second novel ‘Welcome to Lagos’, was really good and was the first book I read from the author.
I’ll rate this book 6/10
Hey, y’all have you read the book before, how did you see it?