The writing is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, Cherie Dimaline’s
The Marrow Thieves is a work of speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page.
Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic Jury
Cherie Dimaline creates a near-future world which distinctly echoes our own, current and past traumas that have come back to repeat themselves, fiction with a basis in reality that gives the narrative a sheen of hard truths, following the trials and tribulations of a relatable cast of characters and their struggles to survive, and live their lives with the love and safety denied to them.
"Dimaline's story resonates with me. It will resonate with other Native readers, too…This story is one I'm carrying. It is about caring, about love, about how people can continue, and will continue…I highly recommend
The Marrow Thieves."
American Indians in Children's Literature Debbie Reese
"This book is classified as Young Adult fiction, but do not let that label deter you. While being accessible to younger readers, the book should be read by folks of all ages, in Canada and abroad. It is a sensational novel both thrilling in its writing and profound in its social commentary on colonialism, racism and the systematic oppression of Indigenous communities."
"The way that [Dimaline] built these characters and this community was really incredible. You felt their connections, you felt how much they loved each other and had really built this family on the road."
The Marrow Thieves] brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to a dystopian post-climate-change future where only Indigenous people are able to dream. Dimaline's novel reminds us of the power of storytelling and the importance of community, reinforced for the disenfranchised children by the wisdom of the heroic elder, Miigwans. The writing is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves is a work of speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page."
Sunburst Award Jury Citation
“Dimaline single-handedly flips the dystopia genre on its head with her runaway hit,
The Marrow Thieves, a gritty coming-of-age story in which Indigenous people are hunted for their dream-containing, world-saving bone marrow in a landscape ravaged by climate collapse and madness. A deftly woven and brutal tale of colonialism and environmental neglect but also of community, culture, resilience and hope. Inventive, rich, important.”
"A timely and necessary read ... powerful and endlessly smart, it's a crucial work of fiction for people of all ages." Starred review
The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline creates a near-future world which distinctly echoes our own, current and past traumas that have come back to repeat themselves, fiction with a basis in reality that gives the narrative a sheen of hard truths, following the trials and tribulations of a relatable cast of characters and their struggles to survive, and live their lives with the love and safety denied to them. The high-stakes tension of each scene pulls the reader along through the story, with a core message about our dreams and culture, which despite losses, has the potential to heal, and the power to restore.
Trillium Book Award Jury Citation
There's a quality in Dimaline's writing that reached from the page, into my being ... That's a specific reference to the residential schools of the past, where so much was taken from Native children. It is one of many points in
The Marrow Thieves where - painfully or with exquisite beauty - Dimaline's story resonates with me. It will resonate with other Native readers, too, especially those who are Anishinabe. Several tribal nations are mentioned in here, too ... There's so much more to say ... about Miggs and Isaac, about Ri, about Minerva, about French. But I'll stop and let you be with these achingly dear characters. I highly recommend The Marrow Thieves.
American Indians in Children's Literature - Debbie Reese
Gr 8 Up—In a dystopian future, a young Métis boy, Frenchie, comes of age while fleeing capture. Along with a group of Indigenous young people and their leader, Miig, they resist the constant threat of being harvested for their dream-carrying bone marrow. Growing up on the run, Frenchie learns how to hunt, trap, and keep moving north to survive, but climate change has caused chaos and collapse around the world. The group must escape the Recruiters, who cause loved ones to disappear forever, and adapt to harsh conditions. Through "Story," told by Miig, the protagonist learns about history, his culture, and how precious they both are in a society that seeks to process his people like cattle. Fans of Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien and The Chrysalids by John Wyndham will enjoy this character-driven work of science fiction. Like those authors, Dimaline writes elegant prose that grabs the reader and carries them into this dark and passionate world. The author has created a rich work of postapocalyptic fiction without the dense exposition often found in the genre. VERDICT A riveting science fiction novel that is a must-buy for any library seeking to expand their teen collections.—Meaghan Nichols, Archaeological Research Associates, Ont.
In an apocalyptic future Canada, Indigenous people have been forced to live on the run to avoid capture by the Recruiters, government military agents who kidnap Indians and confine them to facilities called "schools." Orphan Frenchie (Métis) is rescued from the Recruiters by Miigwans (Anishnaabe) along with a small band of other Indians from different nations, most young and each with a tragic story. Miigwans leads the group north to find others, holding on to the belief of safety in numbers. Five years later, Frenchie is now 16, and the bonded travelers have protected one another, strengthened by their loyalty and will to persevere as a people. They must stay forever on alert, just a breath away from capture by the Recruiters or by other Indians who act as their agents. Miigwans reveals that the government has been kidnapping Indians to extract their bone marrow, scientists believing that the key to restoring dreaming to white people is found within their DNA. Frenchie later learns that the truth is even more horrifying. The landscape of North America has been completely altered by climate change, rising oceans having eliminated coastlines and the Great Lakes having been destroyed by pollution and busted oil pipelines. Though the presence of the women in the story is downplayed, Miigwans is a true hero; in him Dimaline creates a character of tremendous emotional depth and tenderness, connecting readers with the complexity and compassion of Indigenous people. A dystopian world that is all too real and that has much to say about our own. (Science fiction. 14-adult)