Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ARC Review: Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

Trickster's Girl
Author: Hilari Bell
Publication: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (January 3, 2011)

Description: In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.
The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but  human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.
Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this story very much. I liked this science fiction story of a future Earth that has been devastated by bio-terrorists who have managed to find a way to kill part of the rain forest and spread the plague northwards. It is a world that has run out of fossil fuels. It was also interesting to see a world that is a logical progression from our own post-911 world with ID cards and border crossing checkpoints between States. 

I thought Kelsa was a well-drawn character who is still reeling from the death of her father. She is angry with her mother and has pulled away from her friends. When a strange but beautiful boy shows up as she is secretly burying her father's ashes, she is predictably skeptical of his claim that the Earth is sick and that it will take magic to heal it. It takes many attempts before Raven manages to convince her that she can help heal the Earth. Taking off with Raven is one way that she can gain some distance and perspective on her grief. Also, she feels guilty that she couldn't do anything to save her father and hopes that her actions can help save the Earth. 

But Raven isn't completely honest with her. After all, he is a trickster god. He has told her that he has enemies but he hasn't told her how completely alone they are in their quest. Once Kelsa performs the first ceremony in the lava tunnels, she becomes a beacon that the supernatural bad guys can trace. She and Raven are on the run from the supernatural and the more mundane too. Their quest requires them to head north from Utah and into Canada and the Yukon Territory. They have lots of borders to negotiate and Raven doesn't have IDs. And they are being trailed by a drug-running motorcycle gang that is being influenced by other supernaturals who don't want Raven's quest to succeed.

This was a very good story. I think that Kelsa does change, grow, and begin to heal as she travels with Raven and has many adventures. I think the book would be appropriate for both young adult and middle grade readers. I look forward to reading the second book, too, to find out if the Earth can be healed.

Favorite Quote:
He really was gorgeous. If Kelsa hadn't just buried her father, she might have cared. Right now grief was using up so much of her emotional energy she couldn't even maintain friendships -- let alone fall madly in crush with some strange guy.


  1. Oooh, this sounds very different to anything I have read in the past! I think I'll be adding this one to my TBR list :)

  2. This isn't normally the genre I read but this still sounds like an interesting read and I like your take on it.


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