I’ve seen this book around for a few months now and many friends have said how much they enjoyed it, so I finally decided to give this a try – and I’m so glad I did. There was a lot of hype around this book and I’m pleased to say, it lives up to or exceeds that hype.
Title: Firekeeper’s Daughter
Author: Angeline Boulley
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Firekeeper’s Daughter is one of those books you really need to experience for yourself. I recommend going in without knowing too much – that’s what I did and I was pleasantly surprised.
This book is everything I never knew I wanted. A mystery/thriller with Native American characters with contemporary Native American culture and language (Anishinaabemowin) prevalent throughout the book. This book is set in 2004, so while its not present, it’s still contemporary. This is considered “young adult” but I’d consider this on the higher end of YA, or even “new adult” – the characters are seniors in high school or in college – but this is a story everyone should read and can benefit from.
The author herself is Native American and I truly cannot think of another young adult contemporary novel about Native Americans by a Native American.
Daunis is a fantastic protagonist – she is biracial, with a Native American father and white mother. She is connected to her tribal community but some see her as too much of her mother and not one of them, but she becomes part of the community nonetheless and is loved by many. She is a strong 18-year-old young woman entering her first year of college, but stays close to home to help care for her family.
This story focuses heavily on hockey as well, and even as someone who knows nothing about any type of sports, I didn’t mind the hockey talk – it was an important aspect of the characters lives, but there weren’t too many hockey game details.
When a new guy comes to town and plays on her brothers senior high school varsity hockey team, Daunis is the one to show him around town and helps him learn the ropes – but she soon learns there is more to him than meets the eye. I really enjoyed Jamie as a character and his interactions with Daunis.
Daunis ends up going undercover for the FBI to learn more from the inside about a meth problem within her community to try and find the culprit. That’s where the thriller mystery aspect comes in – she has to find out who is behind this to save her community before more of her friends and family die from drugs.
I loved the exploration of modern Native experience and culture throughout this book, including the spoken language of Anishinaabemowin. I listened to this as an audiobook and I loved hearing Anishinaabemowin spoken. Some books feel forced with another language sprinkled in with English – this never once felt forced and only made the novel feel more cohesive and genuine.
This is going to be one of my favorite books of 2021, I’m calling it now.
I loved this book as an audiobook – 10/10 recommend. There is Anishinaabemowin spoken throughout the book and it was incredible to be able to hear it spoken and pronounced. I loved the narrator and would highly recommend listening to this one!
When books are hyped up a lot, I’m typically left disappointed. That was not the case for Firekeeper’s Daughter. I was engaged and on the edge of my seat the entire time, eager to know what would happen next. That’s exactly what I want from a thriller and this delivered and then some. I loved learning more about modern Native American culture in a contemporary setting. If you’re looking for a good mystery thriller with culture throughout, this is the book for you.