The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina
Review by Lizzie Meade
Genre: dystopian, psychological thriller, fantasy
Rating: 4/4 stars
Ashala Wolf is trapped in a detention center, where government officials are trying to extract secrets from her mind about her and her friends, a group called the Tribe. Members of the Tribe are Illegals, or people with special abilities, such as flying, making plants grow, predicting the future, or even going places in dreams, which is Ashala’s ability. Illegals do not have the same rights as other citizens, so Ashala and her Tribe live in an ancient forest called the Firstwood, which has powers of its own and is home to mysterious creatures. Ashala believes that a former newcomer to the Tribe has betrayed her and brought her to the center, and she wants revenge. Can she get her revenge, escape the center, and rescue her friends–not to mention protect her memories? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
If you like dystopian worlds, complex heroines, journeys through the human mind, long, twisty flashback scenes; and strong friendships, you will love this book. Enthusiasts of world folklore will also appreciate Kwaymullina’s references to her Australian heritage, which are explained further at the end of the book. Ashala’s complicated relationships with her friends set her apart from other heroines in the dystopian genre, as do her strengths and weaknesses. The constant flashbacks and uncertainty of the truth keep the story going. Not only was I not sure what would happen next, I was not sure what had happened before, or even what was taking place at the present moment! Fans of Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac will enjoy the protagonist’s similarities to that book’s heroine, Lozen, although The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is not nearly as action-packed. If you prefer a psychological thriller to a fast, violent thrill ride, I highly recommend this book.