Monday, June 12, 2017

The Foretelling of Georgie Spider

The Foretelling of Georgie Spider. Ambelin Kwaymullina. 2015/2017. Candlewick Press. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I floated, adrift in my own consciousness. All alone in the peaceful dark. Except I wasn't really alone and I wasn't in the dark. Or my body wasn't.

What you should know about the series:

This is the third book in Ambelin Kwaymullina's Tribe series. The first two books are The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf and The Disappearance of Ember Crow. It is absolutely essential that you read the books in order.

It is YA speculative fiction. I'd say somewhere between dystopian and post-apocalyptic. Post-apocalyptic because it is set hundreds of years after 'the reckoning' that almost destroyed the planet and wiped out humanity. Dystopian because of the ordered--often cruel--society or government that has restructured the world. So if you like or love either genre, then you should pick this one up. It is also science fiction. Not all characters are flesh-and-blood humans. There is some romance, some mystery, a good bit of fantasy, and a LOT of action.

The premise is simple perhaps to make up for the complex storytelling and intense plot. The premise? Well, some people are born with special powers or abilities. These abilities manifest themselves over time, so, you essentially grow into your power/ability. Strength (intensity/power) and control (ability to direct, use at will) vary from person to person. These people are labeled 'illegal' and are targeted by the government. The book is about the conflict between Illegals and the Powers That Be. Questioning Authority and Being True To Yourself are some of the themes explored.  

Premise/plot: This third book while not told strictly from Georgie's point of view certainly focuses more on Georgie than the previous two books have. Georgie's special gift is seeing the future. The animals she has a special bond with are spiders. (Ashala, the main heroine, is bonded with wolves; Ember, another heroine, is bonded with crows. You'll find that most characters--each Illegal--have a special bond with a specific animal.)

Georgie's seeing the future--all the many, many, many possibilities of the future. And the future is bleak. In all of the futures she sees, Ashala dies, and, the world is thrown into what she calls a 'blizzard.' It is a future too cold, too bleak, too disconnected, too unbalanced to foresee anymore. Georgie has always thought that she could not, should not, try to change the future, to pick any one future over the others. But. She finds herself NEEDING to save her friend's life...if possible. And she can't do it alone. The future depends on the choices of her friends. And Georgie informs each friend that their choices MATTER, so they should choose wisely.

Enemies were introduced in the first two books, and, this is THE BOOK where it all comes together and the BIG SHOWDOWN has to happen.

My thoughts: I was drawn into the story with the first book. But I can't say that I love, love, love everything about the series. As a fantasy-influenced sci-fi novel, it works well. But the world-building is really world-view-building as well. And this one has a lot of elements that I personally don't care for. Let's just say that the "theology" of this one is more influenced by "I Am the Walrus" than the Bible. Everything--every animal, every human, every plant, every speck of dirt, every breath of air--is connected in a spiritual, philosophical way. So the well-being of everything is interconnected. Ashala and the others interact with an ancient spirit or too. And Ashala even believes that her ancient spirit guide is her "grandfather." One of the ancient spirits is actually my favorite character. I love Starbeauty. I don't love her because she's an ancient spirit; I don't love her because she's oh-so-wise. I love her because she's a cat, and she acts like a cat in many ways.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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