Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley Review


Synopsis:Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Review:I will admit this was one of the hardest books to review. I struggle to say that I “enjoyed” this book because it is very dark and hard-hitting. That being said, I think that it is a very important story that the world needs. Going into this book I did not have very much knowledge of native culture and I felt like I learned so much within this book. We definitely need more #OwnVoices native stories. That being said I would encourage you to search for Own Voice reviews of Firekeeper’s Daughter!
This was a HEAVY book and was one I needed to set down and walk away from a few times. It tackles some HUGE topics without holding back. At times this book made me angry and uncomfortable, but I think that was a good thing and made me really look at the issues this book is addressing within native communities. I will have content warnings down below in a separate comment for you to be aware of before diving headfirst into this book.
Overall I wouldn’t say this was an unenjoyable reading experience though. The writing was absolutely beautiful, the culture was rich and interesting, and the second half of the book had me flying through the pages unable to stop. The last 100 pages I couldn’t stop. I was on the edge of my seat and couldn’t wait to see how things wrapped up.
I would warn that I personally think this book fits more into the “new adult” age range than “young adult”. Our two main characters are 18 and 22 and as I previously stated there are some heavy themes explored throughout.
Overall I think if this book sounds like a plot you would like to pick up, then you absolutely should. I am so glad this is a story I read and have added to my collection.

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