Book Review: Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

This month is Native American History Month, and Bookriot had a list of novels aimed at a YA readership to think about reading this month.  So I looked at all of them, and used the handy library widget in Amazon to see which books my library has. Killer of Enemies was one.

A very brief synopsis: There has been an apocalypse of sorts in which electricity no longer works, which creates a huge disaster. In this world, there are people (the 1%) who are called “The Ones” who become leaders. (At least in the area where it takes place. No electricity-no phones etc) The rest are basically slaves. Lozen is a young woman of Apache dissent who is a very good killer. Some of the enemies are genetically modified animals, that can reproduce and are huge.

One of the things I really liked about this book was the world that is created. I could picture a lot of stories in different areas of this world happening, and I would want to read them all. It is pretty rare when reading a dystopian universe that it seems complete, and riveting.

I also enjoyed the way Native American myths and legends were woven into the plot, as well as the matter of fact spirituality which includes ancestor veneration. You are also shown rather than told how the religion works.

It is always nice to read a book where the ethnic variations are a matter of fact, and not LOOK I AM BEING DIVERSE. There is a character of Arab ancestry in the story (which is important as they are in the American Southwest.)

There are some misteps in the book that a good editor would have caught, and those almost took me out of the story (because I started thinking about them instead of being lost in the story.) The writing is somewhat choppy at times, and until the end, there didn’t seem to be a lot of character development for Lozen. The end however gives me hope that she will be more fully developed in the sequel.

I definitely recommend this as a fun, thought provoking book. There is some good commentary on how modern life is lived, a strong female lead and the way the Apache religion and traditions is woven in is nicely done. I will be reading the sequel (and apparently there is a prequel too.)

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