Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Published by: Candlewick Press
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Where I got the book: Public Library
This books is the sequel to The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, and the second book in Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series.
Since this book is a sequel, this isn’t quite so much of a complete review rather than a gathering of thoughts and opinions about the book. I’m hoping more people pick up this series to read and there’s no way to write a review of this book without completely spoiling the first.
The Disappearance of Ember Crow is a really good sequel and suffers very little from ‘second-book syndrome’. I expected this book to switch narratives and was surprised when the narrative still takes place in Ashala’s perspective. Ember and other characters do play a much more active role in this book though. Although Ashala Wolf didn’t end on a cliff hanger, there a still a number of unresolved issues and loose ends, as well as issues that arise from characters’ actions in the first book that need addressing. I thought that Kwaymullina handled them very well, answering some questions and building upon others to deepen the story. Kwaymullina expands a large amount of information about the history of the world, as well as introducing completely new elements that were hinted at in book one but weren’t explicit. However, none of this felt off-putting and only made me want to read more.
One of my favourite things about this book that addresses some issues I had with the previous one is that evil is much more grey. There’s still people who are black and white evil, but a large part of the plot deals with issues secrets about people you love having done horrible things, things that they believed were good but for the wrong reasons.
As with the first book, one of my favourite things about Kwaymullina’s writing is her description and how she brings landscapes to life. When reading I could vividly see the trees of the Firstwood, the grassland around Detention Centre 3 and the city streets of Spinifex City as Ashala and friends attempt to rescue Ember and bring her home. Kwaymullina continues to draw inspiration from her Indigenous heritage, introducing new myth and expanding upon the Tribe’s dream for a future. There’s also an adorable cat god, and I’m a sucker for talking cats in any book.
I’ll totally be picking up the last book in this series. Unfortunately it appears that I’ll have quite a bit of time to wait, seeing as The Tribe is being reprinted in North America with a different publisher. Since The Disappearance of Ember Crow was only released in North America in 2016, it’ll probably be another two years before The Foretelling of Georgie Spider is released, despite having been published in Australia last year.