by Rebecca Roanhorse
Overall: 2 out of 5 stars
This is a solid adventure story, but has been docked three full stars because of Debbie Reese’s “not recommended” status. I’ll let Dr. Reese and her associates explain why, but I’ll cover why it did earn a couple of stars from me, without knowing anything about Navajo culture.
It was a solid, western-style adventure story and I appreciated seventh-grader Nizhoni’s development over the course of it. It ties up neatly at the end and I felt like I learned something about Navajo culture (though, of course, what I learned could be incorrect and/or not something outsiders are supposed to know about – it’s worth mentioning that Roanhorse addresses the possible errors in her author’s note, as many authors do, but says that her husband and daughter, both Navajo, fully supported this book). I also had the audiobook and the reader, poet Kinsale Hueston, did what seemed like an amazing job with the pronunciations. Beyond these things, I will defer to Dr. Reese.
This is part of Rick Riordan’s imprint, Rick Riordan Presents. I respect the idea behind the imprint (using Riordan’s fame from his Percy Jackson and other kids’ series to bolster stories from other cultures), but in this case he maybe didn’t pick the best person for the job, or the best job for the culture.