Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter

FireKeeper’s Daughter is officially my new favorite book. I’ve never had an answer before, for anyone asking what my favorite book is, and apparently I have been waiting for this one.

There’s a list a mile long of reasons why this novel is so wonderful. The well developed characters, the world so fully made that turning a page feels like stepping into the story, the way the author shows the balance of being more than one thing, the realistic dialogue, the fast-paced plot that keeps you reading long past when your tired eyes beg for sleep. I could speak on all of those things, these cogs and gears that move together to create a story that draws you in and holds you there until the very last page.

While all of those pieces work together to make this book my favorite, there’s another piece to this puzzle. I could speak for hours on the components that make this book spectacular. But if I don’t share the heart of why it has become my favorite, then something would be missing.

This book healed something inside of me. As a light-skinned person and a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation, my identity as a Native American has been questioned my entire life. As a result, I have imposter syndrome about my own identity. Be careful what you say if someone is brave enough to share themselves with you; your words can haunt them. The main character in FireKeeper’s Daughter, Daunis, lives in a world where her identity is questioned as well. From the dangerous precedent of blood quantum to hearing your people continually put down and diminished, Daunis has heard it all.

Reading about a light-skinned Native woman who feels relegated to the periphery of both worlds healed something inside of me. Daunis knowingly keeps hockey world and her other world separate from one another, all while silently keeping her Native world separate from her white world. But when worlds collide and she finds herself in the midst of a criminal investigation, Daunis must protect her people from both outside threats: the criminal activity and those investigating it.

This is a powerful story about the strength of women, community, and belonging. It is about owning your identity and fighting for the greater good of the community. The plot, pacing, and character development is all expertly crafted, but it the heart of the book is the Ojibwe culture and how Daunis uses what so many see as her weakness- the ability to walk between the myriad worlds she inhabits- as a strength.

Wado is the Cherokee word for giving thanks, and I must give a heartfelt wado to author Angeline Boulley for creating this beautiful work of art and sharing it with the world. It is such a gift to have been able to read Firekeeper’s Daughter, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

This life changing book is now available.

Background photo of title graphic by João Almeida from Pexels

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