Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper's Daughter bookBook Review for Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

 

Set in Ste Sault Marie, 18 year old biracial and unenrolled Daunis never felt she felt in at home or on the Ojibwe reserve. She’s smart, enjoys hockey, spends time with her best friend, and is getting ready to go to college. She gets caught up in an investigation to root out the source of drugs poisoning people on the reserve.

This is a stunning debut novel, encompassing a coming of age story, a thriller, a romance, and heartfelt realities of life.

Daunis is an interesting character, trying so hard to find her place in the world while doing what is best for her community and her family – and herself. She is curious, smart, and passionate, which certainly drew me in.

The author shows how lucrative and destructive drugs can be on a community, as well as the hope of coming together to move past the abuse and addiction.

I also enjoyed the glimpse into the culture and traditions of the Ojibwe culture on the reserve. Daunis is proud of her heritage and works to learn and maintain her values, which, in turn, generously teaches them to us.

Even though this book is classified as YA, I think it will appeal to a far wider audience, with it’s compelling story, characters that grab our hearts, exploration of social issues, and introduction to Ojibwe culture.  I can see why there is so much buzz about this book.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing cover!

 

TW: rape, murder, suicide, abuse, addiction, drugs

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

 

(ID: The book Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley on a flame background.)

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Book Review: The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow ThievesBook Review for The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

 

I’ll admit that I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile and have only recently picked it up. Then when I did, it took me some time to read because of the disturbing content – and that is not to say that this content isn’t worthwhile, but it is hard. It took me time to digest. Some books are like that for me and I respect that.

This is a very timely YA speculative fiction set in the not too distant future. There is environmental collapse and Indigenous people hold a biological key that white people need and feel they have the right to take. This is a future looking exploration of the residential school system that Indigenous people were required to attend.

The book follows Frenchie, a teen who has joined a group of other Indigenous people trying to survive in the wild and relearn the old ways while avoiding the recruiters who will take them to the schools.

The Marrow Thieves is compelling, hard hitting, informative, hopeful, and absolutely beautifully written. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dimaline’s absolute mastery of imagery and gorgeous sentences. She has also created an interesting array of characters that I was completely invested it.

I also loved the storytelling aspect to the book, how, within the larger narrative, characters told their own “coming to” stories of how they joined the group.

This is an important book, one that would be perfect for a book club or classroom discussion (though some readers might need support due to the triggering content). And even though it is technically YA, I wouldn’t let that dissuade you from reading it.

 

 

TW: rape, murder, genocide, residential schools

(ID: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline on a red background.)

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Book Review: The Paris Library

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles on a wooden background.The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

 

This is a story told in dual timelines, primarily of Odile, a librarian at the American Library in Paris during WWII. This historical part of the book shines a light on the real life people who bravely kept the library open, circulated books, and resisted the Nazis during Paris’ occupation.

There is also a modern timeline set in Montana with Lily, a girl trying to find her place who turns to her neighbour, the now elderly Odile.

I loved this book. The writing was gorgeous and was a real treat for book lovers and history buffs. Charles brought a real compassion to the war and the occupation, showing how people coped, resisted how they could, and kept going and took care of each other in terrible circumstances.

The modern part of the book was an interesting counterpoint to the history – how people judge and try to fit in.

There was some great character development, especial with Odile and I loved the 2 views of her – as a young and an elderly woman. And the friendships she developed, both in Paris and in Montana, really enhanced the human aspect of the story.

 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy.

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Book Review: The Witch’s Heart

The Witch's HeartBook Review: The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

 

I was so excited to see this absolutely gorgeous book (props to whoever designed this cover) about Norse mythology and a witch. I love retellings and witches, so this was right up my ally.

After Angrboda angers Odin, she is left wounded and alone but makes a life for herself, deciding to stay out of sight and harm’s way. However, she falls in love with Loki and they have 3 children with fates that put them all in danger.

There is so much research obvious in this novel – and reconciling of the fluidness of myth. Angrboda is an interesting character, fiercely protective of her children, haunted by visions and glimmers of her past life, impatient with the world of the gods and their whims.

I enjoyed her friendships with the women who visit her, her independence, and her fierce loyalty, all of which make for some interesting ups and downs – joy and conflict.

The author writes beautifully and had me completely engaged, creating a wonderful picture of the world Angrboda lived. I didn’t even get confused with the world building, which can sometime be difficult in myth (and I appreciated the glossary at the end for more information). I happily and easily lost myself in this book.

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