It's a blustery, rainy day, and I have hot tea and lemon and have just finished a novella I've been looking forward to for weeks. All is well in the Wonderland treehouse, people. Happy, happy times.
I'm generally not attracted to prequels as much as I am to sequels, and, as I said when I joined the cover reveal for ROSE EAGLE, this is the prequel to KILLER OF ENEMIES that you didn't know you needed. I was jonesing for a sequel pretty hard, but KoE was such a perfect book that I decided to suck it up and (hope for a movie and) live with its singular perfection.
UNTIL I FOUND OUT THAT THERE IS A SEQUEL. COMING.
Then, I got a little obnoxious with my reader greed. Fortunately, the prequel then dropped neatly (well, "neatly," for a given value of my lack of tech competence in downloading an ebook. Thanks for your help, Hannah!) into my lap.
This novel isn't full of adventurous surprises around every turn - as a matter of fact, the nasties are ones we met before with Lozen. This novel is mostly endurance - a lot of walking - but Rose Eagle is quite a relatable character. Completely unsure of herself, lacking in confidence, and apt to scream for help while killing what she's afraid of, Rose made me smile, and her sidekick is a quiet pleasure as well. I think that's a good couple of words for this book - a "quiet pleasure." That's ROSE EAGLE, in a nutshell.
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Rose Eagle is a Lakota girl living with her aunt and others in what's left of a mining plant. After the Cloud came, the silvery magnetic ball from space which knocked out all power, digital and electronic stuff, (which we read about in KILLER OF ENEMIES), the genetically modified Overlords are dead or being chased down by the genmod monsters they created and The People are working together to survive. Because of the clarity of the true dream Rose's aunt has had, she knows she's meant to be something -- important? Useful? -- but Spirits aren't the easiest thing to understand. After Rose's sweat lodge experience is kind of ...disrupted, she's dismayed to find that one of her aunt's old beaus has emerged from the woods with new information about the world outside of the Big Cave and its woods. The familiar and orderly world Rose inhabited is about to change - she's got a job to do which will take her from the world she knows, and change everything -- if she could just figure out how to get there without showing anyone she's terrified, feeling stupid, and not sure she can actually do it.
At the close of the novel, the author acknowledged a debt to the Lakota people and his Lakota friends for sharing their culture, and for their help with this book.
Peaks: Rose has a gift. Like Lozen's knack with weapons and, you know, killing enemies, Rose has a knack for animals. The "hopeful, feathered things" that take refuge on her shoulders are a treat. Also, I would very much like a badger to live calmly near me. Just putting that out there for the universe.
I appreciated that Rose wasn't a superhero like Lozen, since it takes all kinds. She got tired, got cold, was sad, hungry, felt filthy and itchy and dirty and had to use the bathroom. This isn't often granted to protagonists leading adventures, and I always love those details. Though the book wasn't unpredictable, it did have a satisfying narrative pace - a quest, a journey, an unexpected bonus gift on the way, the quest is fulfilled, and everyone goes home. Or, at least, starts out that direction. I also appreciated how much I learned, in an entertaining fashion, in this novel, and should I ever go to South Dakota, I'm guessing I'll know a little more than the average tourist about its land and residents.
Valleys: It is too short. Okay, yeah, so this is a novella and not a full novel, but still. I could have stayed in this monster-ridden, post-apocalyptic dystopian-type universe a couple more hours and been perfectly happy. However, even good books must end.
Conclusion: This ebook prequel companion to KILLER OF ENEMIES is a sweet and satisfying morsel which will whet your appetite for the sequel.
I bought my copy of this book courtesy of a Tu Books special. You can find ROSE EAGLE by JOSEPH BRUCHAC at an online e-tailer, or at Tu Books online.