Teen Review: The Marrow Thieves
Review by Nain, member of the Cedarbrae Youth Advisory Group.
If you are into books containing rich culture, a dystopian society, and the need for survival, then look no further.
The Marrow Thieves was written by Canadian Métis author Cherie Dimaline and was released in May 2017. This book has understandably obtained many literary awards in its time, such as the Governor General’s award for English-language children’s literature, The Kirkus Prize, The White Pine Award. It was also nominated as a competitor in the 2018 Canada Reads competition.
The book is set in a dystopian society (a society that is unpleasant and dehumanizing). The year is 2050 to be precise. During this period, the world has nearly been destroyed by global warming. Tsunamis, devastating earthquakes, and powerful tornadoes cause millions to die. The people who are alive are psychologically damaged and have lost the ability to dream, causing them to commit inhuman acts and also to stop working altogether as a team. To fix the problem, scientists come up with a solution that would involve harvesting the bone marrow of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, the only race that are left able to dream.
The story follows 16 year-old Francis, nicknamed Frenchie, who is found by an elder named Miigwans and his “family” after his mother and brother Mitch are taken by “The recruiters.” The recruiters are people who actively hunt down indigenous people to bring them into the harvesting schools for their bone marrow. Frenchie, Miigwans, and the rest of their tight-knit group work to survive in a world where their people are no longer treated as humans.
I really enjoyed this book as it tackled very important issues that are currently faced in our world: the selfishness of humans and the growing environmental problems. As soon as the people in the book are faced with an issue that they are unable to solve, they stoop as low as to collect and harvest the bone marrow of another race of people, which is unquestionably unethical and inhuman.
The book also plays with your emotions, as it contains moments that will make you laugh, get angry, or possibly shed a tear or two. This is especially true when the characters you have grown to love are lost, or even worse, lose something they love. The character development and realism of how the characters act is very well written, as I found myself getting attached to the characters as if I was in the story myself.
The book however, does seem to move fast sometimes without enough explanation, and introduces characters as if you have known them throughout the whole story, which can get a little irritating as you read. Regardless, the pros far outweigh the cons. The book has a great story-line, wonderful character development, and emphasizes issues that need to be discussed more often in our world today. This book is definitely worth picking up and devoting some time to read.
Explore the Dystopian genre in Young Adult Literature through Hoopla database available for access with a Toronto Public Library card. It's a great resource if you are doing an assignment for school!