Book Review: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Having been so impressed by The Firekeeper’s Daughter last year, I knew I had to pick up whatever Angeline Boulley put out next. When it was revealed that her next book would be set on Sugar Island again, but in a more recent time following one of Daunis’ nieces, I knew I was in for a treat. This book is described as a Native American Lara Croft, but where our heroine is trying to rescue these bodies and artefacts from the museums themselves.

Doesn’t that grab your attention immediately?

I was fortunate to be sent an early copy of this book from Rock the Boat in return for a review. But honestly? Even if I’d had to wait until after release and buy myself a copy, I would’ve wanted to review this book no matter what.

So I want to start by pointing out that I am white and British. I have no clue what it’s like to be Native American, to be treated as badly as they are, and I’ve no experience with the culture. However, I do want to amplify their voices when I can. Angeline Boulley is a talented writer who isn’t afraid to discuss the injustices her people face. This and the first book made me mad, but that’s nothing compared to how people who must go through this must feel. I want people to read this book and learn from it, as there’s a lot that we need to be supporting Native American voices in getting changed.

Onto the book itself, this book has a very different plot to that of The Firekeeper’s Daughter, though both essentially fit under the thriller genre. Where TFKD was about drugs and going undercover, Warrior Girl Unearthed is more of a heist, with some of the issues from the first book still prevalent. This one was set in 2014, so it was set a lot more recently but isn’t quite in the present. I’d like to hope that some of the laws have changed since, but I highly doubt it.

The writing was as excellent as expected. I’ve been struggling with focus, but this book had me thoroughly engrossed whenever I did sit down to read. I wanted to know what was happening next and felt so many things for the characters. Perry was very different to Daunis as a protagonist, and her journey was fascinating to go on. She’s confident and always goes straight for what she wants, even if it means using her fists. But she has to learn that sometimes, you must be patient and try to change things while still following the rules. Her actions wind up netting a win in the end, but not in the way she expected, and it’s clear that she still has a journey to get the Warrior Girl back. I liked that aspect.

For me, the most interesting relationships in this book were the platonic and familial ones. I adored Perry’s friendships with Lucas and Shense; actually, I loved Shense in general, and it was nice to read about a teen mum doing her best to put her baby and school at the forefront. There are plenty of real girls like that, but they don’t pop up in fiction all that often. I also loved Perry’s relationship with her family and seeing her try to connect her black and Native American sides. There was some talking of black people being shot in this, but it’s not shown in the story. It’s just mentioned that it’s in the news a lot.

I do have to admit, though, that I wasn’t all that fussed about the romance. It was alright. Erik seemed like a sweet guy, and I like how she tried to keep him out of trouble after she realised what that could mean for him. But I didn’t feel like we saw them together enough for me to really care. Especially as a few of their scenes are splitting up and getting back together multiple times. This book didn’t need the romance; it was strong enough without it, so the fact it felt a little thrown in there wasn’t the best.

To make up for that, though, the intrigue in this book was high. Though a heist is talked about, that doesn’t become a plan until fairly close to the end. There’s a lot of talk of politics, and though Perry does steal some other things, you will see little of that if you’re hoping for a lot of heist action.

I do have to give some trigger warnings as though there is no on-page rape in this one; however, those events are referenced, as is grooming discussed. There’s also some reference to drugs, but not in the same way. The majority of upset in this book stirs from the way bodies of the dead are handled and the theft of sacred objects. So be warned, but if you couldn’t read TFD due to trigger warnings, you may be able to pick this one up.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’ll probably make you angry but in the best way. It’s a fascinating read I’ll be thinking about for a while.

4/5 Stars

Title: Warrior Girl Unearthed

Editor: Angeline Boulley

Genre: Thriller

Age Range:  Young Adult

Publisher:  Rock The Boat

Release Date: 4/5/23

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Bookshop Org

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