The characters in The Marrow Thieves felt like real individuals living in a dystopian future where people in mainstream culture have lost the ability to dream.
The main character, Frenchie, is an orphaned Indegenous boy. He meets both helpful and dangerous people on his journey of survival, gaining insights into human nature--including his own.
He’s an endearing character, as are his companions, who are diverse enough in age and gender to provide complexity to the tale.
The premise--that Indegenous people are being hunted for their bone marrow, which confers dreams to other people--was the weakest aspect of the book for me, but the characterization and plotting were so deft, I could forgive the implausibility of this set-up and enjoy the story.
This is a Young Adult novel and had a jealous rivalry between Frenchie and another kid, and a kid-acting-like-an-idiot scene. These types of scenes seem like standard fare in many YA books. However, the other characters were so lovingly realized and the plot moved smoothly enough that these stock scenes didn’t derail the story.
The final scene in a book can make or break the reading experience, and for me, the ending was absolutely cathartic and brought tears to my eyes.
The Marrow Thieves won five major book awards in Canada. It’s a well-written tale and worth a read for anyone looking for a captivating story. The novel draws heavily on Indegenous identity yet is fully accessible to non-Native readers.