The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves

Book - 2017
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Winner of the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award (Young People's Literature - Text)
Winner of the 2017 Kirkus Prize
Winner of the 2018 Sunburst Award
Winner of the 2018 Amy Mathers Teen Book Award
Winner of the 2018 Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature

Just when you think you have nothing left to lose, they come for your dreams.

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The Indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Publisher: [Toronto] :, DCB, an imprint of Cormorant Books Inc.,, c2017
ISBN: 9781770864863
Branch Call Number: YA DIM
Characteristics: 234 pages ;,21 cm


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May 21, 2021

Don't know if I should have rated this as I only read about 50 pgs and found it too juvenile and wordy.

Oct 28, 2020

The book thinks itself to be much better than it actually is. Whilst set in the future, the book itself presents nothing actually new and/or ground breaking other than the representation it bring to the indigenous cultures. The characters are generic, each delegated to one or two characteristics, the writing is bland and even cringe worthy at times, and the plot of a journey across the country brings nothing noteworthy. But the book isn't completely garbage, certain scenes illustrates a potential for good writing (the moose hunting scene is a good example of this), but it is triumphed by the whole lot of bleh. Maybe it would work better for an adult audience where the themes can be explored completely because the YA genre doesn't help it at all. Clunky romance writing, a shoved in love triangle subplot, and the "evil corrupt government" being relegated to the entirety of white society doesn't bring much to its outlook on race.

CONCLUSION: There is a potential in the novel, but the only way to achieve that potential would end up bringing so many changes that the novel doesn't resemble its current form anymore. Read it if you want, but there isn't any one I know that I would recommend it to.

SPOILER: the scene where the old woman (cannot remember her name) showcases some sort of super power was the biggest wtf of the novel. There were no hints towards a special power before that scene. The "memory of the ancestors" were used as motivation to act but their use for an actual super power completely diminished their value for myself.

Jul 24, 2020

Dystopian is not a genre I care for but a friend suggested this book because of my interest in dream psychology. But the dream theme was only a vehicle for the post-apocalyptic conditions for the Metis and “Indians” to be hunted for their bone marrow where, supposedly, dreams reside. (I gagged on that premise.) The plot was mostly a chase through the forests, hide-and-seek with emphasis on teamwork, while we came to know more about each character. As we learn their individual pasts, the historical human rights abuses and colonial racism inflicted on Canada’s Indigenous people is highlighted. Somewhere along the way the bone marrow dream theme gets lost. It was difficult for me to get pulled into this story but by the last half I was interested.

Mar 25, 2020

The style of this book isn't typical, but adds more interest and context into the general themes of the novel. As a Canadian young adult, it really puts into perspective the Indigenous oppression and how history can repeat itself under given circumstances.

I think the book is an eye-opener and has so many lessons in the frame narratives, such as the coming-to stories. It focuses on repeating history, family, coming of age, language, oppression, trauma and trauma through generations and taking pride in whom you are and of your ethnicity.

I think it's an important story for youth to read this novel as they are coming of age to consider that your success isn't solely defined by your goals, but also by those who helped you. The past generations have paved a road to make you the most successful you can be and it is your job to carry on that role and make sure that your culture, lessons and values carry onto future generations.

It is a wider perspective, but a great one to consider. I absolutely loved this book! One novel similar to Empire of Wild written by the same author!

Mar 24, 2020

I started reading this book for school, and I was not expecting anything, as I HAD to read it for school. One aspect of the book that I enjoyed was how Dimaline (the author) shines over Indigenous narrative about loss of culture, abuse, and murder by a majority population, yet survival and resilience. This book was a powerful yet painful book, uncovering the terrifying truths about our past (residential schools) and future (Climate change). One thing I didn't like about this book was the pace of the book. This book was quite slow compared to other YA books. Honestly, in my opinion, this was the only downside to this book. The author did an amazing job in deepening and developing each character's personality, especially the main character Frenchie or French. Overall, this was an awesome book that brings forward the awareness we should be paying to climate change. 4/5 --@MayB.Dunn of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

This novel takes place in a dystopian world where Indigenous people are being targeted. In my opinion I thought that the overall book was kind of sad and mellow. It was heartbreaking to read all the characters' struggles to get to where they are right now. Although after having told their own stories, each one was able to learn from their mistakes and grow stronger in the process. Even with the sad undertone the author was able to make room for romance between the main character and his love interest as well as for some of the other characters as well. Which gives me hope for their happiness when at the end of their journey. As more people join forces together to get to a safe haven there will be some loss along the way. ⅗ rating.--@minimonie of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

The story took place when most people lost the ability to dream after the world-destructing nuclear war. The Indigenous people who had immunity were forced to have their marrows drained for a cure. This book emphasizes the bond people can have when they are the minority. However, the book ended with a successful rescue mission, which didn't conclude the war or bring justice to the world. The themes like "faith vs. reality" or "human vs. human" in the end stopped being as engaging as in the start of the book. Besides, in my opinion, too many characters are introduced, and most of them have similar characteristics and experiences. 3/5 stars
@Truffle_Waffle of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Feb 21, 2020

As a perpetual mood reader: read when you’re in the mood for a quick paced YA novel that explores deep themes. While it *is* speculative fiction set in a dystopian time~the environment has been destroyed and indigenous folks are being rounded up~ it also feels very real; it’s a retelling of history and could easily be our future.

Feb 10, 2020

This seems like a young adult book and I thought I would read it to explore a different perspective but I found myself enjoying it, especially toward the end. The characters and plot are simple. The dystopian future plays like a symbolic representation of the current culture in North America.

Jan 08, 2020

Engaging characters, indigeneity in dystopia, and chosen/found family in a fast-paced YA novel? Yes! Hello! Sign me up!

Set in a near-future world ravaged by climate change, French is on the run with a small group of other Native people who have joined together for protection. A mysterious side effect of the destruction to the environment is that Native people are now the only ones with the ability to dream, and so they’re hunted and imprisoned in “schools” that attempt to harvest their bone marrow. [If you’re familiar at all with Native history in North America, the word ‘schools’ probably gave you a heads up about the history that Dimaline is evoking, and if you’re not familiar, the phrase “Native boarding schools” would be a good thing to start googling.]

As French bonds with the others in his group, they share stories of pain, loss, community, and hope. Dimaline’s writing is beautiful and the characters and the bonds between them felt real and fleshed out.

Nov 28, 2019

"The Marrow Thieves" explores the circular nature of history through dystopian re-imaginings of the same colonial institutions that systemically sought to dissolve Native American communities in North America. The premise is powerful, walking a fine line between lived realities and post-apocalyptic flair. I loved the innovative world-building, but found the novel overall a little too reliant on Young Adult genre tropes.

BPLpicks Sep 05, 2019

Set in the not-so-distance future, in a time when the planet has been devastated by the effects of global warming and natural disasters, and entire communities have been wiped out. Those who remain lost the ability to dream. The only exception are the indigenous people of North America who continue to carry dreams deep within their bones. The government employs ‘recruiters’ who abduct these individuals, in the hope of discovering the secrets found within their bone marrow. The story centres on an indigenous teenager named Frenchie, who is on the run from the recruiters, along with a group of other nomads. More than just another dystopian YA novel, this book explores a number of deeper themes, including climate change, environmental destruction, and the consequences of government policies.

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Mar 28, 2018

Everyone tells their own coming-to story. That’s the rule. Everyone’s creation story is their own.

Mar 26, 2018

"Cherie Dimaline uses Indigenous futurism to rewrite the past and reimagine the future. Bottom line, this is a book about hope, sacrifice, survival, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, healing and chosen families." - Jully Black, CBC Books

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Mar 28, 2018

Fifteen-year-old Frenchie is a survivor, the last remaining member of his family after seeing his brother snatched by the government. In a near-future where the world is falling apart thanks to the results of global warming, society is also plagued by a new problem. People have forgotten how to dream, and this dreamlessness is slowly driving them mad. Only the Indigenous population retains the ability to dream, and it is their bone marrow that seems to hold the key to why they have not succumbed to this new plague. As the madness spreads, the government takes a page from history, and begins herding the remaining First Nations people into facilities modeled on residential schools, where their marrow is harvested at the cost of their lives. The few who remain free push northward into the wilderness, trying outrun the reach of the government. But a confrontation with the Recruiters is inevitable, and one day there will be nowhere left to run.


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