Reviews

The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline

ruuththereader's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny hopeful informative reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated

5.0


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jayniemack89's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 stars!! I read this book at it was June's pick for a book club I am in. If i am honest, it wouldn't be a book i would naturally be interested in picking up but the dystopian element definitely peaked my interest when i read the blurb.

So basically it is set in around 2060 in the US/Canada and the world has been affected by global warming according to the synopsis. Indigenous people are being hunted and put into 'Schools' which sound very similar to concentration camps! They are being captured for their bone marrow which is then used by non indigenous people to gain back their ability to dream.So all in all this was starting to sound like it could be very interesting. It follows a group of people who have been a 'Family' of sorts for quite some time and how they avoid capture and try to find safety.

I only have a few issues with it. Firstly, I found the situation building quite lacking. The synopsis mentions that the people had lost their ability to dream but the book itself doesn't go into great detail as to why this happened and how they discovered that the bone marrow of indigenous people would sole this issue.
Secondly, the origins stores of the characters was quite good but yet again i felt something was kind of lacking. I found it hard to gel with the characters when the over all situation was very vague.

i did I enjoy the story and the idea of it but i felt it was lacking in some areas, If i was a little more padded out in some areas this would definitely have been a 4.5 read for me. But all in all it was a very interesting story with great aspects of indigenous culture incorporated.

abi568's review against another edition

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3.0

I read this for a book club. Not something I would have picked up normally but I’m glad I did. Thought the connection to the residential schools and native culture was interesting and well done but I wish there was more of an elaboration on what led the world to the point where they needed to hunt natives for their marrow.

tachan's review against another edition

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4.0

A brilliant piece of literary YA that manages to weave together themes such as global warming, colonization, the erasure of a culture, and found family.

letitiaharmon's review against another edition

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4.0

This book really surprised me by turning out to be one of my favorite YA dystopian novels. I was about ready to give up on it about a third of the way through because simply not enough happened, and it continued to lack direction and purpose throughout. BUT as the mystery of the dystopia unfolds, as stories get told, as characters crystallize, this becomes not just interesting to read but unexpectedly heart-wrenching. I full on cried at the end. Ugly cried.

It's creative and strongly narrated. There are too many characters and many of them are not distinct, which adds to some of the disinterest early on. And it never really feels like the plot is GOING somewhere, which does actually ring true in this scenario, but doesn't read well as fiction. However, when it lands, as it finally does, it's so satisfying. Fantastic story, unique scenario, dark and heavy but also joyful and fulfilling.

nehi_neuyen's review against another edition

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1.0

*1.5 stars rounded down*

The Marrow Thieves is about Indigenous people running away from the government because the world has, miraculously, lost the ability to dream and marrow from Indigenous bones can cure that.

Firstly, this book is post-apocalyptic, not dystopian. Calling it a dystopian is an absolute insult to the genre. The world concept is honestly the best part of this book, but the world-building is horribly executed, often done through info-dumps that does not enhance the plot. It's also not thoroughly imagined: why is dreaming so important in this world? Why is language the "key" and why is it magical? Yeah, sure Dimaline is trying to draw parallels with the real world and whatnot, but the story is not believable (or enjoyable) when it has no sense of logic.

The writing is decent about half the time; there were some metaphors that I mildly enjoyed. There's this thing Dimaline does with foreshadowing that isn't really foreshadowing because it's blatantly stating "a bad thing is going to happen in a few paragraphs". Examples include
"We didn't know that he was an animal we had yet to imagine could exist."
"She didn't tell us what she'd seen out there until it slipped out a week later."
"Mistaking their arrogance for stupidity was our mistake."
This really brings you out of the reality of the situation and reduces the shock factor a ton. Also, I have to mention, there were two typos.

I will not not get too deep into the god-awful characters. None of them developed over the course of the story. Yes, they all had backstories, but that redeems very little. The romantic subplot was disgusting. The one character I hate most is Slopper, for his existence is frankly insulting. His personality is non-existent, he's written to be useless and mindless, and where there simply for fat jokes.

The themes and issues the book tackles is never addressed in any meaningful way (misogyny, discrimination, grief). Really, this is just a mandatory read in school because it has Indigenous characters, which is simply, again, insulting.

alysiaroy's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

katsbooks's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

5.0

“Sometimes you risk everything for a life worth living, even if you're not the one that'll be alive to see it.” 

“When we heal our land, we are healed also.” 

“Do you think circumstances make people turn bad? Or that people make circumstances bad to begin with?” 

What a journey. This book deserves all of the stars. The beginning was a bit slow but really picked up. At one point, I was listening during my commute and something tragic happened; I guarantee anyone who happened to look my way would have thought I had just gotten the worst news of my life. I definitey teared up. This book was a great allegory for settler colonialism and how Indigenous people of the Americas have been treated (and continue to be treated) by society and governments. I think this story is great for young adults or those getting into Indigenous fiction. The cultures of multiple Indigenous nations are represented and it really touches on the importance of being able to pass down traditional practices like language. I would note trigger warnings for rape, murder, racism and child death.

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ira's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

birdentea's review

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adventurous emotional sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

3.75