“The Marrow Thieves” Review

Book Cover with a blue background. There is an Indigenous young man on the cover with only half of his face visible. He has black hair and a white strip of paint on his cheek. The cover also has various round stickers of the awards the book has won: GG Books Winner, The Kircus Prize Winner, A Globe and Mail Best Book, The White Pine Award. Written by Cherie Dimaline
Published by Dancing Cat Books, May 2017
240 pages
Completed June 24, 2023

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out

It’s always interesting reading apocalyptic stories with Indigenous characters from the Americas, because no matter what you can’t deny that they’ve been through an apocalyptic event already. And this story book makes no apologies for expressing that point repeatedly as the characters discuss everything that’s going on. I really enjoyed reading this book and I the characters are great. There’s a lot oral storytelling in the book as the characters make their way north. The elders of the group explaining the history to the younger ones and then also the various characters in the group telling their own stories of how they got to where they are. While the overall story is rather dark and bleak (how can it not be given the setting?) the ending is somewhat hopeful.