Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley Can be read in a few nights depending on your speed, Young Adult
A quote that I really appreciated: “Wisdom is not bestowed. In its raw state, it is the heartbreak of knowing things you wish you didn’t.” Daunis, p. 393
This book has been on my radar ever since its release in 2021 and I am really sad I waited so long to read it. Firekeeper’s Daughter is an absolutely beautiful, brilliant story that also takes you on one hell of a ride.
Set in the Upper Peninsula, Firekeeper’s Daughter follows Daunis as she struggles to move on multiple tragedies and begin her life as a college student. Before she knows it, Daunis is caught up in a world of lies, spies, and drugs. While this book is usually described as a mystery or thriller, I’d argue it’s a finding yourself story embedded within a crime thriller.
But make no mistake, this book is absolutely a crime thriller: and one that kept me on the edge of my seat with each twist and turn.
While that can be said of many crime thrillers, what makes this such a standout book is Boulley’s use of Ojibwe culture and life as the setting for the mystery. I particularly loved the way indigenous plant knowledge was used as a key plot point. There is so much ancient wisdom lost thanks to colonization and genocide and this book does not shy away from pointing that out. Even better, it very clearly says “fuck you” to that history and really highlights all the beauty and heart we’re missing out on by pretending as if indigenous cultures no longer exist.
As someone who lives in Michigan, and lives on stolen Anishinaabe lands, it was cool to recognize all the geographical references (and I may or may not have gotten a little smile every time it mentioned the city where I currently live), but, more importantly, it was amazing to learn more about some of the people who are the rightful owners of where I live.
Honestly, I’m not sure this review does this book justice. It’s engaging. It’s beautifully written. The characters are everything. The plot is OMG exciting.
Really, the best thing I can say about this book is to just go read it. Read it now.