Monday, August 23, 2010

Can magic save the world?

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

In this world of the future, fears of terrorism fuel restrictions on how people may live their lives. Each state in the United States has its own border crossing. You are monitored at all times and must always have appropriate ID. In this paranoid new culture, it's hard to connect with nature. And nature itself is under attack: rainforests are dying of disease and the disease is spreading. A world without trees and growing plants is unsustainable but all government effort is placed on keeping citizens safe.

Kelsa is mourning the loss of her beloved father and harboring ill will against her mother for sending him to hospice for his last days, instead of bringing him home to die. She does not realize she is being watched by an unusual young man. A young man full of magic, who has realized that Kelsa, too, possesses magic. He recruits her to use their combined magic to heal the world.

This is an exciting fantasy adventure, steeped in Native American folklore. By setting this story in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, and by using Kelsa's growing understanding of her own grief and resentment as a theme, the story feels realistic and would appeal to lots of teens. The fantasy elements are subtle and quite beautiful. The contrast between the passionate human, Kelsa, and the dispassionate trickster, Raven, makes for a fine dynamic. I highly recommend this!

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