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Elatsoe Kindle Edition
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Audio CD, CD, Unabridged
TIME's Best 100 Fantasy Books of All Time
An NPR Best Book of 2020
A Booklist's Top 10 First Novel for Youth
A BookPage Best Book of 2020
A CPL "Best of the Best" Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2020
A Buzzfeed Best YA SFF Book of 2020
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2020
An AICL Best YA Book of 2020
A Kirkus Best YA Book of 2020
A Tor Best Book of 2020
"Deeply enjoyable from start to finish." —NPR
"Utterly magical." —SyFyWire
"Atmospheric and lyrical...a gorgeous work of art." —BuzzFeed
"One of the best YA debuts of 2020. Read it." —Marieke Nijkamp
FIVE STARRED REVIEWS
★ "A fresh voice and perspective." —Booklist, starred review
★ "A unique and powerful Native American voice." —BookPage, starred review
★ "A brilliant, engaging debut." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "A fast-paced murder mystery." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "A Lipan Apache Sookie Stackhouse for the teen set." —Shelf-Awareness, starred review
A Texas teen comes face-to-face with a cousin's ghost and vows to unmask the murderer.
Elatsoe—Ellie for short—lives in an alternate contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant groups. She can raise the spirits of dead animals—most importantly, her ghost dog Kirby. When her beloved cousin dies, all signs point to a car crash, but his ghost tells her otherwise: He was murdered.
Who killed him and how did he die? With the help of her family, her best friend Jay, and the memory great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother, Elatsoe, must track down the killer and unravel the mystery of this creepy town and its dark past. But will the nefarious townsfolk and a mysterious Doctor stop her before she gets started?
A breathtaking debut novel featuring an asexual, Apache teen protagonist, Elatsoe combines mystery, horror, noir, ancestral knowledge, haunting illustrations, fantasy elements, and is one of the most-talked about debuts of the year.
From the Publisher
About the Author
Rovina Cai is a freelance illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She works out of an old convent building that is possibly haunted. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators and the Children's Book Council of Australia. Recently she has illustrated books by Patrick Ness and Margo Lanagan.
Kinsale Hueston is a 2017-2018 National Student Poet, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, and an experienced audiobook narrator. Her works center on personal histories and contemporary issues affecting her tribe. She began her career at the age of fifteen as a theater artist in Los Angeles and went on to attend Yale University. The founder of Changing Womxn Collective, a publishing platform for womxn and femmes of color, she is the recipient of numerous awards. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
"Creative and meticulously plotted. a Lipan Apache Sookie Stackhouse for the teen set." - SHELF-AWARENESS starred review
"A fresh voice and perspective, weaving in folktales, omens, and urban legends of the protagonist's Lipan Apache culture." -Â BOOKLIST (starred review)
"A strong heroine, a supernatural mystery and a unique and powerful Native American voice."-BOOKPAGE (starred review)
?"This absorbing and haunting speculative fiction debut challenges expectations at every turn."- HORN BOOK (starred review)
"Utterly magical." - SYFYWIRE
"Beautiful. Sinister. Deeply enjoyable from start to finish." - NPR
"[A] refreshing voice. Indigenous myths, modern-day technology, and the supernatural successfully blend to build a fast-paced murder mystery."-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The 100 Fantasy Books of All Time" - TIME --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B08BRBL9JR
- Publisher : Levine Querido; Illustrated edition (Aug. 25 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 16704 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 362 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #140,622 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #11,546 in LGBTQ2S+ Fiction (Books)
- #42,978 in Children's Books (Books)
- #140,622 in Kindle eBooks
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from Canada
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Characters: 4 Stars;
Plot: 4 Stars;
Entertaining: 4 Stars;
Read Again? Maybe.
Cover Art and Spot Illustrations: 5 Stars; Beautiful. Fits the story perfectly.
Total: 4 Stars;
The moment I heard there was a book based on Native American mythology whose main character was a girl with a pet ghost dog I was in. I looked forward to reading this book so much, I could not even wait for the library nor the hardcover copy to be shipped. The day it was released I purchased the Kindle edition.
I avoided listening to what the book was about, because I like diving into a story not knowing where it would lead. I did hear that Elatsoe is asexual, however the fact that the main character is asexual is irrelevant to the story. It is merely an interesting detail, like a character who is born with violet eyes.
Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend it to fans of Scooby Doo and Veronica Mars, but it was not the thrilling mythical adventure I was expecting. Though the characters have almost graduated high-school they read closer to freshmen. For some reason I thought this book was YA (probably because of the characters’ ages), but it is definitely MG.
The first nine chapters of this book are a bit confusing. It took that long for the story to settle in my mind and for it to start moving along. I loved the stories within the stories, but as the tragedy occurred, I feel a bit more time should have been spent grounding the main character and her world.
After chapter nine the plot picks up in its Scoobyesque glory as Ellie and Jay, along with her pet ghost dog, Kirby, and a few sidekicks work to unravel the big mystery. The ending is a bittersweet, yet satisfying, paranormal spectacle. There was also a moment when I was sure the villain was about to say: “And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you...”
I loved Ellie’s ability and the moment when she steps into the prehistoric ocean... Beautiful.
In conclusion, I expected more, but I would definitely read the sequel.
Top reviews from other countries
My one issue is, whilst I really liked seeing an asexual MC (give me more ace rep every day!), I would have liked it to have been shown or referenced a little bit more. Now, I'm a big believer that better ace/ queer representation includes both books that are about and focus on the experience of being ace/ queer and also books where that isn't the main plot and the characters just happen to be ace/ queer. But, that said, Ellie's asexuality - rather than just not being the main focus - doesn't seem to have any impact on her life or character. Even in the one scene I remember it being referenced, she doesn't really respond or have any thoughts about it. A few sentences here & there would, imo, have really helped to flesh out that aspect of her character without taking away from the central plot.
That aside, the rest of this book is a compelling read, but if you go into this because you heard it had an ace MC (like I did!) just be aware that aspect doesn't play a large (or hardly any, really) part in the story.
The asexuality rep is so nice to see in an urban fantasy book. The world-building and plot are great.
Also, I love the ghost dog.
Getting behind the secret of the perpetrator is cool (although the final revelation is a bit like a Jack out of the box: tadaa, this is what happened! Wait, what!?), as are the legends and abilities of Ellie and her people. But most of it is presented as backstories within backstories, which is just too much at times and hobbles the flow of the story. As do the revelations about people that lead nowhere and one wonders why stuff is mentioned at all? Just like the change of narrator willy-nilly in chapter 31 because it‘s convenient, this is all bad writing. Worse was that the mc feels like a 12-year old, but is supposedly 17. It jarred every time I was reminded that she is a young adult. And the ceaseless banter between Ellie and her gang in intense and dangerous situations, when people are dying, that does not at all fit the situation or how Ellie is presented at other times.
Added to that is the world, where obviously everything is possible and every kind of creature exits, but it’s a random assortment, not a consciously devised world. I did like the Lipan Apache abilities, though, because they had a very adept magical realism feel to them.
Overall, this feels like the debut novel it is.
There's nothing technically wrong here. Elatsoe "Ellie" is a Lipan Apalache girl with the power to raise dead animals, and loves to spend her time bonding with her family and going about life with her ghost dog Kirby. (Who happens to be my favourite character, oh my gosh) But one day she and her parents get horrible news: Ellie's cousin, Trevor, has been found dead in a car accident, leaving a wife and a baby son behind. But that's not even the end of it; as soon as she visits the scene, Ellie knows there's a lot more to the story. Trevor didn't just die; he was murdered. And Ellie is going to make sure that his killer is found, and held accountable.
This is set in an America that's parallel to the real one, only there are supernatural powers, beings, and events happening. Vampires? Yup. Coyote shapeshifters? Yeeep. Psychic powers? Sure. This was one of the things that I enjoyed while reading, as it made for quite a magical realism-ish vibe. Sometimes I felt like I do when I read Gabriel García Márquez, and loved that! What I enjoyed the most was (aside from a certain undead mosquito army) the Lipan Apalache rep. I haven't read much literature with Indigenous rep, let alone Own Voices, so "Elatsoe" was very refreshing in that sense. At first it shocked me a little, from all the anger and hurt, but as I read on, I understood that that's exactly what this is supposed to feel like. Native American communities were really hurt during the British colonization of North America, and are still barely scrapping by. It's supposed to feel uncomfortable, because the truth of what's happened to Native Americans historically (and still happens, unfortunately) is uncomfortable.
But, as much as I enjoyed the Lipan Apalache testimony, the magical realism vibes, and the undead mosquito army, I can't say the same for the characters. The emotions that drive some, such as Lenore or Vivian, are clear (their personalities themselves, not so much), but a lot of the cast was... Flat. Ellie? Couldn't tell you what she's like for dear life, beyond determined and family-first. (And I'm still shocked when I remember she's supposed to be 17, because she felt like a particularly deadpan pre-teen. Not like a teenager at ALL) Jay? Kind of the nice sidekick. Considering they're the FMC and her bestie, that's a little troublesome. It all reads very MG-ish, because there aren't really any characters with a defined personality or a lot of complexity. The antagonist is super bad, a super liar, who has no motives to do what they do and, ISTG, reads like a Scooby Doo baddie. Aside from their being the antagonist, I couldn't tell you much more about them, because they're--you guessed it, flat!
Then there was the plot. Which... Okay, made sense. Sure. Everything tied up nicely, and there were no loose subplots left unsolved. But I still didn't really mind much, because it was all so clear from the beginning. Even though there was a sequence in Ellie's discoveries, there wasn't any kind of plot-twist; the story appeared to be simple from the beginning, and remained so. It was even boring, at times, because... I know what y'all are going to do. Just stop beating around the bush, and proceed, so that we may move on to something else. That, together with how I couldn't really relate to Ellie beyond our shared asexuality, made it difficult for me at times to look forward to keep reading "Elatsoe". I was bored, even, and had to forced myself to pick it up again. Of course, these are all very subjective, personal views, which don't necessarily mean everyone else will feel the same. (Just look at other reviews, lol, most people have quite the opposite opinion)
All in all, this is a book I know many people will adore! Maybe I will, too, if I decide to give it a reread someday to see if Ellie and I make ammends.