Bel Reviews: Ambelin Kwaymullina's - "The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf"
“The Reckoning destroyed civilisation. Rising from the ashes, some people have developed unique abilities, and society is scared of them. Guided by the ancient spirits of the land, Ashala Wolf will do anything to keep them safe. When Ashala is captured, she realises she has been betrayed by someone she trusted. When her interrogator starts digging in her memories for information, she doubts she can protect her people forever. Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?”
I’d gone against my own personal norm for this delightful book and watched at least one review on youtube before settling in to read it for myself. I don’t normally do that as I like to go into the book with little or no expectations and let the book speak for itself. However in this instance, I really wanted to see how a guy came at the book with a female main character. Braiden loved it and this gave me a big burst of hope for what was to come.
What I found was a heartfelt, gritty, story of survival, love and integrity with a dream-time aboriginal folk law adding another dimension. Ambelin’s characters are true to life insofar as their ambition and genuine struggle to belong.
Ashala is fierce in her loyalty and her desire to help others. Connor finds himself at the mercy of his heart when his mission makes unexpected detours. The other Tribe members are like a filigree masterpiece. They may be spun so intricately through the tale, but they all come together to balance out the final product.
Along with a couple of power-hungry mad scientists, there are reptiles and arachnids who guide the story along its winding path of discovery. They themselves are just as important to the flow as the main characters, as they aid Ashala and her Tribe to where they need to be, if not physically, then emotionally.
I loved the way the dystopian themes took a back seat to the adventure and the intrigue. Things are never as they seem in the First Wood and Ashala’s connection to the land made me want to stop and just listen.
If I were you, I’d give the vivid imagery Kwaymullina conjures up in this evocative tale a try. I promise, you won’t have read anything quite like this before.
Paperback, 397 pages
Published July 2012 by Walker Books Australia