The indigenous Australian author draws from a vast, rich cultural tapestry that will be new to many readers. If an “exhilarating dystopia” strikes you as oxymoronic, this vivid, original debut just might change your mind.
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf begins like most dystopian novels, but it does not take long for Kwaymullina to take the reader on a very different journey. As the layers of Ashala’s memories are pulled back, the reader is treated to an intense thriller that just happens to take place in a dystopian society. Though it is the first in a series, the novel reads like a stand-alone, tying up enough loose ends to satisfy the reader while still leaving them wanting more.
Ashala narrates her story with an earnest adolescent voice… This futuristic fantasy offers an admirable heroine and a thought-provoking situation.
—The Horn Book
This genre-blending story will satisfy a wide range of readers. … The multilayered story will keep teens guessing until the end. … The author draws upon aboriginal Australian creation stories to bring much needed diversity to the genre.
With plenty of plot twists, ever-present danger, and powerful children, this book is sure to attract readers. … This is an excellent addition to dystopian literature with grounds for discussion on spiritual, ecological, political, and personal responsibility.
—Library Media Connection
A series of flashbacks slowly unravels the intricate setup, working backwards in a way that imbues Ashala’s current situation with more meaning as the past is revealed, raising the stakes and the tension. … The dystopian world here offers … more nuance than the traditional fare.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Creative… The world-building is particularly interesting, as the author incorporates elements of the aboriginal creation story of the Dreamtime and Grandfather Serpent into the protagonist’s visions. Give this one to dystopia fans who are looking for a unique perspective.
—School Library Journal