My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was a solid four stars until the ending. Sigh. I loved the idea of this book (which since it’s book one of the Raven Duet, I’m assuming there’ll be a second book from the get go). I love Raven (Coyote, Iktomi, Rabbit and whatever other names the Trickster goes under) and a book about Raven trying to help save the world sounded irresistible.
Kelsa is a young girl in mourning. In spite of her high tech, high security world (i.e. our world about a hundred years into the future), they couldn’t save her father from the cancer consuming him. It opens at his funeral. Kelsa and her father were very close and very ‘green.’ She shares very little with her mother. Kelsa, and the scientists are wondering if there is a connection between the bioterrorism of the ‘tree plague’ (destroying all the trees in the tropics and spreading) and the upswing in human cancer. What she knows for sure, is her father wouldn’t want his ashes locked up in an urn away from the natural cycle.
As she deals with that Kelsa meets a beautiful Native American appearing young man who startles her. He keeps reappearing, even in her locked down school always with the same plea, to help him fix the planet, to stop the tree plague and all of that. She thinks that he’s joking or crazy and that the raven that he supposedly transforms into is a trick. Finally, she sees something she can’t discount and decides to give into the crazy. She and Raven set out to heal the ley lines and heal the earth.
I was a little annoyed that they were called ley lines (as opposed to something more from a Native American mythos) but that is explained if you know anything about the leys. After stealing an ancient medicine bag that belonged to a Navajo healer, they start from Utah to Alaska healing the leys. Creepy but plausible, each state has a border check (Canada, on the other hand, once they get there is more la-di-dah about security) and ID cards contain DNA samples setting up some interesting hurdles.
However, once Kelsa begins to truly believe in Raven and his cause (pretty much once she encounters the first ley), he tells her that the leys affect multiple dimensions including his own. Most of his people believe that humans are sucky stewards for the planet (no argument) and that once these very sick leys kill all life on earth, they’ll come and fix the leys up and not have annoying humans causing ripples through many dimensions. Raven and a few others believe humans deserve a chance. However, they are a minority and the majority are ready to stop them at any costs.
I really like Raven and Kelsa. She has just the right amount of skepticism and freak out over his magical nature. She’s smart and caring and resourceful. She’s a very good teen heroine. I was very happy with this right up to the last ten pages when it went sideways. Kirkus Review called it a ‘surprise resolution.’ I called it stupid. It was an awful ending. Okay, in some ways it makes sense. It does. But in more ways, it’s dumb, it’s a bit contrived and a little bit ethnically insulting. I went from ‘can’t wait to read book 2’ to ‘I’m not sure I WILL read book 2.’ Sigh. Still, I do recommend this book. Maybe the ending won’t make you as nuts as it made me.
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