It took forever to settle on a book for the 2019 Read Harder task 8, an #ownvoices book set in Oceania. The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a dystopian set in Australia and I picked up the second book as soon as I finished the first. I was behind in the challenge, though and waited to read it until I’d finished the other Read Harder books.
I saw a lot of definitions of #ownvoices while I was looking for it, but I went with that it was by someone who actually lived in and grew up there. Some suggested that it was specifically groups marginalized there, but I figured that would be spelled out a little more clearly.
Now, about the book itself….. This was quite fun. I loved the world building and the dystopian nature of it along with the manifestation of ability. Some twists were foreshadowed while others weren’t and it left me with the satisfaction of both seeing things I wanted to play out and of pleasant surprises. The only thing that I could even pretend to complain about was the way some characters were repeatedly too gorgeous. It’s YA, so that should be expected and some of it even fit inside the story.
Ashala is a great character, flawed and strong in the same ways she’s seen as weak. The interrogation itself and description of the center is more than a prison. It brings up those ideas of concentration camps without actually mentioning them or making comparisons. The different tactics used and Ashala’s awareness of them is a part of what made for such a great story.
The writing was great, keeping me on my toes with what the intelligence their looking for is versus whether Ashala is trying to deceive them or even can. There’s a mythology growing here that I’d love to get more into with the next books. Each character clearly has their own agenda and problems and could easily be protagonists to their own stories in this world. I looked up the next one as soon as I finished this and saw that it does continue with the supporting characters here. The next one is The Disappearance of Ember Crow and I have it saved on Scribd immediately.