The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina

18209419Expected publication: April 8th 2014 by Candlewick (first published July 2012 by Walker Books Australia)

This book will fuck with your expectations. It’s original, unpredictable and utterly engrossing with its ingenious plot twist, imaginative dreamscapes, nightmares, memory flashbacks and sometimes even the complete loss of reality. x

You are looking for the something akin to the originality that was Angelfall, for a female Peter Pan and X-Men characters with ethnic diversity set in a creative dystopian world? Look no further. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf has it all and more; featuring indigenous Australian elements of The Dreamtime, such as the serpent, totems and sacred places.

Reading The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf feels a lot like this.

All your expectations and what you thought was true gets turned upside down. 

”The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, poof. He’s gone.” Verbal Kint, “The Usual Suspects”

The debut novel The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the start to a four book dystopian series (The Tribe) set several hundred years in the future where the world was ripped apart by an environmental cataclysm known as ‘the Reckoning’. The survivors of the Reckoning live in an eco-utopia where they strive to protect the Balance of the world, the inherent harmony. But anyone born with an ability, like Firestarters, Rumblers, Boomers or Waterbabies, is viewed as a threat to the Balance. Any child or teenager found to have such a power is labeled an ‘Illegal’ and locked away in detention centers by the government.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina is a picture-perfect example for the diversity that can be found in Young Adult dystopian literature. 

As a YA author, I find an assumption that teenagers are only interested in a narrow category of stories about people who look exactly like them to be insulting to teenagers everywhere. Teenagers, at least in my experience, have all the curiousity about other peoples and places that some of us sadly seem to lose as we get older. What’s more, when I was writing a novel about a girl who would change the world, there was a reason that I wrote about a teenager. My teenager is Indigenous, but many of her qualities are the qualities I see in teenagers everywhere, of all races and cultures – including flexibility of thought; reckless courage; stubborn defiance; and an absolute refusal to accept that injustice cannot be changed or should not be challenged. (Quoted from the blog post: Whitewashing: the disappearance of race and ethnicity from YA covers by Ambelin Kwaymullina…)

In most YA dystopian fiction you will encounter the monotonous 101 heroine: the one who painfully slowly discovers the fault in the current dystopian society that makes her doubt all she’s been told her whole life, causing her to join in the secret Uprising that exists. But Ashala, young she might be, already is the leader of The Tribe; she doesn’t want to fight the system, only to change it for the better through the power of new ideas. I loved the character of Ashala. She was not only a strong female leader but also kind of a mother-figure to her tribe.

The only fault with this book I had is where the fuck to I get the second book now?


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