Blizzplanet Review: Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani
On June 2, Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani will ship to those who pre-ordered or be sent straight to your Kindle device or app.
In the meantime, certain fansites and communities have gotten a review copy to read — 5 days earlier — in advance.
Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani is an original novel by Nicky Drayden and published by Scholastic, Inc.
With that said, the target audience for this novel is children from age 7-9, but welcome to be read by any age above the intended target, including adults. Just keep in mind it was written for children education purposes.
The story starts at Efi’s workshop where she is building a six-legged spider Junie prototype. The purpose of this Junior Assistant is to record video and to transcribe events for use in the office, school or anywhere.
This is how Efi makes revenue at her young age for her family and her other +projects. Efi has over 150 customers via her Hollagram social account.
Efi uses Hollagram constantly throughout the novel to communicate with her fans, and customers; and every single chapter features a Hollagram illustration.
Efi is very intelligent and she got advanced from first year of elementary school up to senior high school classes within halfway her academic year. She studied calculus and physics. She already knew programming and robotics at a much younger age.
In the first pages, it is said that only augmented humans are capable to read Omnicode. Efi has been studying omnic written language for 3 years and she could barely grasp a few words.
Efi is a fan of Lucio and her favorite song is “We Move Together as One.”
Apparently we get a short reference to what happened after the Symmetra comic book. There was an uprising at the Favela that drove Vishkar Corporation out. Lucio led that uprising.
I can see the novel author has done extensive research around the Overwatch lore and also real-life regional Nigerian and Brazilian customs. The author mentions Lucio’s and Efi’s favorite foods.
I searched, and in fact some of those are food recipes found in the Overwatch: The Official Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel.
Efi and her best friends Naade (boy) and Hassana (girl) have worked together in science faire projects, and they are a team for other in-school and off-school projects. They helped her build the Junie prototype.
Overall, this story is definitely made for children and can be seen as a form of inspiration. Efi is very intelligent but she fails often. Having friends to assist her shows how teamwork can help everyone overcome obstacles and challenges together. So it is writing with educational purpose.
I am a bit surprised to have read that Efi watches Overwatch cartoons, and Captain Sojourn is one of her favorite heroes in that cartoon. Could Blizzard and Scholastic be hinting at Overwatch cartoons in the real world? That kinda matches a recent Linkedin leak.
Now long deleted, I still have a screenshot of the Linkedin entry by former Activision Blizzard COO/CFO Nick Van Dyk: “With my creative partner, developed and sold an animated series based on Blizzard’s Overwatch franchise.”
Throughout the book we see Efi grow as a character at home, her neighborhood, and at her school. The writing feels like a sitcom adaptation about nerd high school classmates with Overwatch references. Yes, there is comedy involved in this story, as well as everyday student situations, dialogues and problems to solve.
Not only do Efi and her friends interact in person, but through their tablets as well. Their conversations are shown in the novel exactly as you would in a messenger app.
We learn where the name Orisa originates from. The orisa are spiritual beings who are integral part of the natural world. Protectors. Vigilant guardians.
In this novel, we experience the moment Efi finds out about the Adawe Foundation Fellowship. However, there is an intrigue on how exactly she got the invitation. It was sent to her as an anonymous email — which quickly makes you wonder if there was a ulterior motive from a not so friendly benefactor. Or maybe it is really a friendly one.
The novel explores the time when Efi and her parents go to the Adawe International Terminal to travel to Brazil. There is a brief moment where Efi attempts to access the Wi-Fi hotspots but all of them blinked out one by one except one: 344X-Azúcar (that made me think Sombra might be in the area. That’s spanish for Sugar).
Around page 81-83 we get to read the scene at the Adawe International Terminal where Doomfist punches an OR15 into the wall, forming a crater.
I was surprised to see that scene roll into the story this early. This is technically a 293-pages novel. So there is plenty more to learn about Efi and Orisa.
We learn that the current Doomfist killed the Scourge of Numbani Akinjide Adeyemi to claim his Doomfist weapon.
We quickly learn more about how Efi gets ahold of the OR15 chasis and all the parts to build Orisa; as well as some interesting topics from the Overwatch universe that are kinda new to us. Whether these were made up by the author or whether the author learned about them from the Overwatch story development team — I don’t know. But there is potential there for some of these details to be straight from Overwatch 2. It’s difficult to say.
For example, in real-life one of the currency used in the dark web is Bitcoin. In the Overwatch universe — I don’t think we have ever heard what the equivalent is.
In Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani, the dark web currency is denominated as MBC or Modulated Biochemical Currency (DNA-coded money).
I mean, for a novel targeted at children, there are some topics here that seem obscure for a child to even imagine what it means, but better understood by adults.
So you shouldn’t dismiss reading Overwatch: The Hero of Numbani.
This makes me wonder… we haven’t heard exactly much about Overwatch 2’s systems. Is there room for Auction Houses? Collecting items to build something? Goya-like Black Market that requires MBC currency from our level-up crates?
If that was the case, maybe this novel might have some clues about things that might exist later on in Overwatch 2. One can dream. Right?
There is a moment where Doomfist talks in front of the cameras (page 131-132) that gives us a better understanding of his thoughts and goals toward omnics.
From page 100-200, things slow down a bit as the author fleshes out the relationship between Efi and Orisa, as the child trains her in various disciplines in order to make Orisa a protector of the community.
Things don’t always go how Efi planned, but eventually a decision forced onto Efi by her parents give unexpected results.
Beyond page 200, things get to a climax with multiple interactions between Efi, Orisa and Doomfist; but then slow down a bit to focus on other areas of Efi’s life at home and at school.
Reading this novel made me appreciate Efi and Orisa much better as fleshed out characters.
I can’t wait to see other heroes get the same treatment. Once you read this novel, you will want to see more from Nicky Drayden. Maybe next time we get a Lucio/Symmetra story? Hope so.
- Efi Oladele
- Naade (Efi best friend)
- Hassana (Efi best friend)
- Kam Kalu (Nollywood movie actor, mentioned)
- Isaac (school student)
- Auntie Fola
- Captain Sojourn (mentioned)
- Ms. Okorie (Calculus teacher)
- Stevie Igwe (captain of debate team)
- Sibe Oye (president of the student council)
- Dayo (Efi’s cousin)
- Bisi (Dayo’s older brother) — potentially we might see him Overwatch 2. Nuff said.
- Gabrielle Adawe (a founder of Numbani. mentioned. Helped to create Overwatch to end the Omnic Crisis. under-secretary-general of the United Nations)
- Agba Aja (mentioned. nigerian omnic artist)
- Mrs. Eni (neighbor with a cat)
- Amber Oyeba (Hassana’s friend)
- Joké (drama class stage manager)
- Akinjide Adeyemi (The Scourge of Numbani. mentioned)
- Akande Ogundimu (Doomfist)
- Auntie Yewande (Dayo and Bisi’s mother. Efi’s aunt)
- Ndidi (omnic vendor at the clothing stand near the museum)
- Mondatta (omnic spiritual leader. mentioned)
- R.J. Mohammed
- Bethany Steele (Atlas News. Omnic reporter)
- Principal Mr. Egwe (omnic)
- Kofi Aromo — coffee shop in Numbani
- Tram station
- Efi’s home
- Aetria shop
- Bankolé’s Grocery
- Adawe International Terminal
- Numbani Heritage Museum
- Axiom (mentioned. It is like Radioshack)
- Bello Tower (Dayo’s home)
- Sigma Bot Couture
- Concord Station
- Tin Can Island Port
- Valor Matrix (distributed computing project — sounds like Folding @ Home)
- Tiawo Boulevard
- Heritage Avenue
- Sky Postal website (priority delivery)
- Unity Plaza
- Flash Brighton and the Omnic Crusaders: The Duel to Infinity
- Breaking Circuits trilogy
- Flash Brighton and the Omnic Crusaders: Forty-Four Hours Till Midnight
- Kam Kalu (actor)
- Thespion 4.0 (actor)
- A.I. Schylus (actor)
- Agba Aja (nigerian omnic artist)
- Tonal Abyss (omnic pop music band)
- Constantine (founder and lead vocalist of Tonal Abyss)
- Gaxx Gator (Tonal Abyss member)
- Frost, Blanchet771, Achebe (literary icons)
- Sasha Rhymes (omnic performance artist)
- HAL-Fred Glitchbot
- Carnival Calabar
- Unity Day (Numbani’s most important holiday)
OVERWATCH: THE HERO OF NUMBANI
The world still needs heroes. Are you with us? Enter the first-ever original novel for Overwatch, the worldwide gaming sensation from Blizzard Entertainment!
In the technologically advanced African city of Numbani, in the not-so-distant future, humans live in harmony with humanoid robots known as omnics. But when a terrorist tries to shatter that unity, a hero named Efi Oladele rises!
Efi has been making robots since she was little — machines to better her community and improve people’s lives. But after she witnesses Doomfist’s catastrophic attack on the city’s OR15 security bots, Efi feels the call to build something greater: a true guardian of Numbani.
While Doomfist sows discord between humans and omnics, Efi engineers an intelligent and compassionate robot, Orisa, named after the powerful spirits who guide her people. Orisa has a lot to learn before she’s ready to defeat Doomfist, but Efi has some learning to do, too, especially when it comes to building — and being — a hero. With Doomfist rallying his forces, and the military powerless to stop him, can Efi mold Orisa into the hero of Numbani before it’s too late?
This action-packed novel features the fan-favorite characters Efi, Orisa, Doomfist, and Lúcio in an all-new, original story straight from the minds of the Overwatch game team and critically acclaimed author Nicky Drayden!
Author: Nicky Drayden
Cover Illustration: Odera Igbokwe
Cover design: Betsy Peterschmidt
Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 – 9
Series: Overwatch (Book 1)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (June 2, 2020)