Bear Daughter

Bear Daughter by Judith Berman Here we have an absolutely beautiful fantasy book. It’s based in Northwest Native American spirituality, which is new and different for my fantasy reading. Cloud wakes up one morning in front of her mother’s house and finds that she is a girl, when she distinctly recalls being a bear the day before. No one knows how she became a girl, and they all seem to think that she should be able to call her mask and turn herself back into a bear. In the meantime, it turns out that her stepfather Rumble killed her father and brothers and wants Cloud dead, too, while her mother only has the courage for the occasional clandestine meeting. Cloud is not very good at following the rules of being a girl which her aunt teaches her, especially about eating only small amounts neatly. Still, she is determined to be an ordinary girl until Rumble tries to kill both her and her aunts, and she sets off alone in a canoe to find someone who can help. Not only are Rumble and his evil wizard Bone after her, but the ghosts of her little brothers haunt her dreams, begging her to help them. Refreshingly, although she does meet people who will help her in her quest, it isn’t apparent from the very beginning what she will have to do and how she will do it. She journeys across many islands and in and out of the Spirit Lands. In the end, her quest to free her brothers helps her to realize who she is and where she belongs. It may be a standard quest-cum-coming-of-age story, but the beautiful setting, nicely twisty plot and appealing characters lift it out of the ordinary. It was compelling enough for me to devote extra time to reading, and now, several days later, I am still heartbroken that I’m done with it.

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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