Another one off the Read Harder list (an #ownvoices book set in Oceania) and it was a great pick. I found it really difficult to find one of this list because honestly, they all sounded horribly depressing (and also because I really only want to read sci-fi).
It’s at some distant point in the future, where ‘The Reckoning’ happened (which vaguely sounds like some catastrophic climate change and something else. It was a bit like Trail of Lightening in that it used (presumably) mythology from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. I’m just guessing though, going off the author’s profile!
After this event, the idea of the ‘Balance’ was created, to live in harmony with the world. But people also developed powers, like members of The Tribe, which some people considered ‘not part of the balance.’ The main character is one of these people. Ashala World is the leader of The Tribe and when she sleepwalks, her dreams are basically real and she can manipulate the world around her. At the beginning of the novel she’s been captured and is going to be interrogated in the detention centre, with the ultimate goal of capturing The Tribe.
Anyway, it’s delightful. It’s not too hard of a read (as I think it’s young adult) and you can fly through it pretty quickly. What I *loved* about it was how it was structured, which I can’t really tell you why it’s great, because that would ruin the whole half of the book. But it found it super clever and a way to create tension without giving too much away. I liked how feisty Ashala is and how fiercely protective she is of The Tribe. The other characters had their own interesting powers and it all just fit together very neatly.
Also, so many characters are women (or girls, as they are all young) as well. Ashala, some of her core Tribe members like Ember and Georgie. It was a good group of characters. However, even some of the minor characters are women. I’m just getting so used to reading books by women and just expect a better gender balance that I’m beginning to take it for granted.
There was only one thing that took me out of the story, which was how computers were mostly banned under the Benign Technology Accords. Anti-technology narratives are always very strange to me, unless handled as a core part of the story (like Spare and Found Parts). But it is such a trivial thing and probably won’t even register with most people when they read it.
Anyway, it was fun. Very good Read Harder find as I doubt I would have ever picked it up otherwise!
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