[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/WhofearsDeath_8279.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:One day she would be able to shout her name.]]
''Who Fears Death'' is a 2010 fantasy novel by NnediOkorafor which takes place in an alternate or AfterTheEnd [[spoiler: Sudan]]. Its heroine is Onyesonwu Ubaid-Ogundimu, a young woman who is an ''Ewu'', the product of a rape of a woman of the Okeke tribe by a man of the Nuru tribe. Because of this she is shunned by the villagers in the town she grows up in, and haunted by the spirit of her biological father, a powerful sorcerer who wants her dead. However, Onyesonwu discovers that she has a talent for magic, especially shapeshifting, and under the tutelage of Mwita, a slightly older ''Ewu'' boy, and his master, the somewhat JerkAss TricksterMentor Aro, she begins to cultivate her magical ability. However, Onyesonwu's father is still out there, and she has a special destiny ahead of her...
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!!This novel provides examples of:
* AfterTheEnd: The setting is implied to be this. There is technology, but it's mostly decayed and in disrepair. According to the Great Book, the Okeke created a great technological society, but were crushed when Ani woke up to discover what her creations had done and created the Nuru to punish them.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: ''Ewu'' are treated this way, as because they are the product of violence, they are expected to become violent in their future.
* AllOfTheOtherReindeer: Onyesonwu and Mwita, for being ''Ewu''. Naturally, this is part of why they bond as strongly as they do.
* TheApprentice: Mwita to Aro. Onyesonwu becomes an apprentice later as well, after considerable struggle.
* ArchnemesisDad: As it turns out, the man who is trying to destroy Onyesonwu is her father, Daib.
* BiggerOnTheInside: The House of the Osugbo.
* BirthDeathJuxtaposition: More conception and death, but right after [[spoiler:Mwita]] dies in Onyesonwu's arms, she deliberately makes herself conceive a child.
** [[spoiler: Onye's last act of magic before being arrested is to kill all the fertile men and impregnate all the fertile women.]]
* BittersweetEnding
* BrotherSisterIncest: Implied. Onyesonwu and Mwita have ties because [[spoiler: her father was Mwita's master for a time]], but they are not actually brother and sister.
* ChildSoldiers: part of Mwita's background is that he was forced to be one.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Mwita and Onyesonwu bond through their shared experience as Ewu, and later also genuinely fall in love.
* TheChosenOne: Onyesonwu believes herself to be the ''Ewu'' sorceress who will end the war between Nuru and Okeke.
* ContinuityNod: Onyesonwu finds a book about the Forbidden Greeny Jungle on Ginen, the setting of ''Literature/ZahrahTheWindseeker'' and part of ''Literature/TheShadowSpeaker''.
* CursedWithAwesome: ''Ewu'' are spit on by Okeke and Nuru, but they get awesome magic.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: The Eleventh Year Rite (aka female circumcision) is this both in and out of canon: Onyesonwu's mother is horrified when she discovers what her daughter has done (the practice having been banned in her home village), for instance, whereas it's common practice in Jwahir. Indeed, Onyesonwu subjected herself to it in order to fit in, and by doing so she gains a set of TrueCompanions in Binta, Diti and Luyu.
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: a lighter-skinned tribe repressing a darker-skinned one through rape, murder, and enslavement? Even before it's revealed[[spoiler: this takes place in Sudan]], the parallels are fairly easy to see.
* FantasticRacism: Both the Okeke and the Nuru have this toward each other. We mostly see Nuru oppression of the Okeke (according to their mutual holy book, Okeke are supposed to be slaves to the Nuru, and Okeke rebellions have a tendency to result in decades-long slaughters by the Nuru), but at least part of the oppression Onyesonwu feels from the citizens of Jwahir is that she is technically a Nuru because her father was one. Mwita's backstory involves him barely escaping an Okeke massacre of his Nuru relatives.
* FramingDevice: The story opens with Onyesonwu sitting in prison, waiting to be executed. During this wait, she tells the story of her life to a woman who is recording it for posterity.
* ForegoneConclusion: An InUniverse example. The difference between someone who knows juju and a real sorcerer who works the four Mystic Points is passing an initiation where you face your own death. Most are not strong enough to do this.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: Our TrueCompanions.
** Luyu is sanguine. The party girl of the group. A lot of fun, but impulsive and self-indulgent.
** Onyesonwu is choleric. The leader of the group, but tends to be blinded by her passions. Hair. Trigger. Temper.
** Binta is melancholic. Kind and reliable, she is also prone to withdrawing from people because of her family life.
** Diti is phlegmatic. She is lazy, reactionary, and expects others to do things for her.
* FriendToAllLivingThings: Onyesonwu. Not necessarily to people, though.
* TheGodsMustBeLazy: According to the Great Book, the goddess Ani is this, having half-created the world (but not the sun), and then gone to sleep for centuries before finishing the job.
* GoodBadGirl: Luyu loves her sex, with as many men as possible. But she's also the most fiercely loyal to Onyesonwu.
* GoodParents: Onyesonwu's mother was actually an excellent mother, in spite of the pressures from the world to treat her ''Ewu'' child badly. Her stepfather also applies, especially for not only loving an ''Ewu'' child, but one that wasn't even his.
* HeroicBastard: Onyesonwu.
* InLoveWithLove: Diti and Fanasi's marriage was rocky from the start as neither of them really had an understanding of what being married actually meant.
* InTheBlood: Onyesonwu's spirited nature comes from all the women in her family. Her maternal grandmother was known as a free spirit, her paternal grandmother was born dada (with locked hair) despite being Nuru and was a radical free thinker, and her mother [[spoiler: had quite a bit of magical potential of her own.]]
* JerkAss: Most of the residents of Jwahir qualify for this, with their hatred of ''Ewu'' children and their passivity toward their fellow Okeke getting slaughtered by the Nuru. Aro starts out as possibly the most Jerk Ass resident of Jwahir, but after [[spoiler:he accepts Onyesonwu as a student]] he shifts to being closer to being a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
* KillEmAll: The Nuru's belief about the Okeke.
* LivingLegend: Onyesonwu gains quite the reputation as a sorceress before she travels very far from home.
* MasterApprenticeChain: Sola taught Daib who in turn taught Mwita.
* MeaningfulName: Onyesonwu means "who fears death?" Her mother named her thus in the hope that her daughter would not.
** ''Ewu'', appropriately for how they are viewed by both Okeke and Nuru, means "goat."
** Albinos (at least among the Okeke) are called Noahs. [[http://www.albinism.org/ National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation]], anyone?
* MindRape: Onyesonwu finally gets fed up with the passivity of the citizens of Jwahir and literally does this to a crowd of them in the market square by [[spoiler:forcing them to relive her mother's rape]].
* MixedAncestry: The ''Ewu'', being born from the union of Okeke and Nuru people. Looking surprisingly like neither tribe, the ''Ewu'' are sand-colored, skin and hair, with light eyes, like albino Africans.
* MysteriousPast: We don't know what happened to Daib to make him so evil. We never will.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Onyesonwu delivers one to Aro when he refuses to train her for the third time.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent; They're called Kponyungo, and are desert-dwelling creatures who occasionally befriend travelers in the desert.
* OurSpiritsAreDifferent: Masquerades, which are not to be confused with {{Masquerade}} or MasqueradeBall. They are spirit creatures, and they will hurt you.
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: They're called Eshu and can shift into the shape of any animal they have touched. Onyesonwu, for instance, likes to transform into a vulture from which she took a feather. [[spoiler:The bird turned out to have been Aro in vulture form.]] They can also regrow any body part; e.g., when [[spoiler:Onyesonwu regrows her clitoris]].
* ParentalIncest: [[spoiler: Binta was raped by her father, who claimed she was too beautiful not to.]]
* {{Patricide}}: [[spoiler: Onyesonwu's purpose in life is to kill her father.]]
** [[spoiler: Before leaving the village with her friends, Binta poisons her father. She was happy to do it.]]
* PregnantBadass: Onyesonwu's mother Najeeba survived being pregnant and giving birth all by herself in the middle of the desert. A snake bit her and she just kept going.
** [[spoiler: Onyesonwu conceives a child and in the frame story she has been pregnant for three days.]]
* ProphecyTwist: it is revealed that a Nuru Seer has prophesied that a tall Nuru male sorcerer will come and change the Great Book to make life better for both Nuru and Okeke. It is revealed, however, that he changed the prophecy because he refused to believe what it actually said: that the prophesied messiah would be [[spoiler:an ''Ewu'' sorceress]].
** Also Onyesonwu's fate: part of her initiation as a sorcerer is to confront her own death. [[spoiler: but that doesn't mean she has to ''stay'' dead]]
* TheQuest: Onyesonwu and Mwita set out to find and defeat Daib. Her friends all come along. Subverted in that it quickly becomes clear they have no idea what they're doing.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: The party questing west to defeat Daib. [[spoiler: Subverted in that traveling together drives them apart rather than pull them together.]]
* RapeAsBackstory: Onyesonwu's mother. [[spoiler: Binta also reveals that her father raped her.]]
* RapePillageAndBurn: What happened to Onyesonwu's mother village.
* ReallyGetsAround: Luyu had already had sex with several boys by her Eleventh Year Rite. [[spoiler: This continues after the curse of the knife is lifted. One of the men she beds is Diti's husband Fanasi.]]
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler: Binta dies on the journey west after having been a loyal friend to Onyesonwu the whole way.]]
* ShoutOut: ''Literature/ThePalmWineDrinkard'' has been raised to the level of religious teaching.
* TrueCompanions: Onyesonwu, Luyu, Diti, and Binta become this thanks to all undergoing the Eleventh Year Rite together. Later on, they, along with Mwita and Diti's husband Fanasi decide to accompany Onyesonwu on her quest West. [[spoiler: somewhat subverted in that after a few weeks of walking in the desert they start getting on each other's nerves, especially Diti and Onyesonwu]]
** [[spoiler: Diti and Fanasi eventually ditch the others, deciding they don't want to risk their lives anymore]]
* WhatTheHellHero: He's the love of her life, but Mwita's major role in the story is to perform this role when Onyesonwu goes way overboard with her powers.
* WiseBeyondTheirYears: Mwita's had to be, in order to survive.

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