Stuff and Nonsense: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf


The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is set hundreds of years in the future, on an Earth that bears little resemblance to this one. Ashala is an Illegal, a human with superhuman abilities which place her outside her society. Rather than be put in detention or try for an Exempt tattoo, she runs off to the Firstwood and founds the Tribe, a collection of young Illegals who dream of changing the world. At first, life is pretty okay in the woods and the Tribe seems to experience some success with its message of tolerance and change ... and then Chief Administrator Neville Rose builds a new detention center nearby (coincidence? methinks not) and Ashala hears rumors of a terrible Machine ...

I liked that the story wasn't sprung on me in full (x is bad, y has betrayed, z will save us all), but slowly spun out over the course of the book as Ashala regained her memories. Kwaymullina has created an interesting, functional world that's easy to accept without being particularly familiar (unless you're already with familiar with Australian Aboriginal mythology). There's also a lot to be said for the novel's environmental and inclusionary messages as well as the quiet preponderance of female characters.

While I avoid series when I can and The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is the first book in a quadrilogy, the novel stands comfortably on its own with a satisfactory ending that wraps up most of the story lines.

3 out of 5 towering tuarts

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina (Candlewick Press, 2014)

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