Trickster’s Girl, by Hilari Bell

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Publication date – December 22, 2010

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads)
In the year 2098 America isn’t so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, “secured” doesn’t just refe …more In the year 2098 America isn’t so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, “secured” doesn’t just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.

The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.

Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.

Thoughts: If there’s any problem to be found in throwing the reader into a world that’s very similar and yet slightly different to this one, it’s that sometimes the authors writes as though the reader is going to know all those subtle differences and won’t be lost when making references to customs or technology that doesn’t exist here. That was my thought when I first started reading Trickster’s Girl, and though that sentiment was a mild one, it was still present in the back of my mind.

Then we get to meet Raven, and the story really takes off.

In following Kelsa’s adventures of running away from home and trying to save the planet, we get to be wrapped up in a story that’s much bigger than the piece that we’re being shown in the novel. The planet is dying because humans messed up in monumental ways, and unfortunately the slow-fix solution of trying to be more eco-conscious just won’t cut it anymore. Things have to start healing right away, and fast, or else things will start going to pot.

The environmental message was presented a bit heavy-handedly sometimes, but since it’s a message I can get behind, I didn’t mind that too much. For some readers, though, the kind who sit on the fence regarding environmental activism or those who don’t think much about it one way or the other, might find some of Raven’s lectures about it rather tiresome.

I can easily see why some people wouldn’t like the ending to the book, or think that it was a poorly done way of setting things up for a sequel. I disagree. From the beginning it was established that this mission is something that Kelsa can’t do alone, that must be done by people all over the world, and what we see at the end isn’t so much a set-up for another part of the series or a cop-out ending because the author couldn’t think of how to have the planet be healed convincingly. No, what we see is merely Kelsa’s part in the mission come to an end. The torch has been passed on, and now it’s time for somebody else to do what she bravely admitted she could not. It was actually refreshing to see a book that had an open ending and yet still tied up all the loose ends that it could.

(Though from what I hear, there will be another book attached to this one. That doesn’t diminish what I said above, though.)

This is a definite recommend to YA fantasy/sci-fi fans, and to those who enjoy a good normal-person-saves-the-world tale.

Hilari Bell has a lot going for her as an author, and really knows how to weave a story with the right amount of little details that make the world so believable. I can’t wait to see what she’ll write next!

(Received from the publisher for review via NetGalley.)

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