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The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina Review

Title: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf

Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina

First published July 1, 2012

395 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781921720086 (ISBN10: 1921720085)

Rating: 3.8


The fate of Ashala Wolf’s Tribe, a group of runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood, rests in her hands as she’s captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose. With her Sleepwalker ability blocked and Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move, Ashala is forced to endure a mind-bending interrogation.

But as the Tribe faces the threat of total destruction, Ashala’s will to survive and protect her people is unbreakable. Brace yourself for an exhilarating ride full of action, betrayal, and suspense in The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina.

About the Author

Meet Ambelin Kwaymullina, a talented writer, illustrator, and law academic hailing from the Palyku people of the eastern Pilbara region in Western Australia. Her diverse range of work spans across multiple genres, including young adult fiction, science fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

Editoral Review

“The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf” by Ambelin Kwaymullina is a young adult novel first published on July 1, 2012. Kwaymullina is an Aboriginal writer and illustrator from the Palyku people in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Her debut novel is a work of speculative fiction that explores themes of identity, power, and resistance that resonate with contemporary young people. The plot revolves around Ashala Wolf, a teen girl who possesses a rare ability to enter a state of “Sleepwalking” that grants her access to the minds of others.

However, Ashala’s gift is also seen as a threat to the post-apocalyptic society known as “the Tribe.” Members of the Tribe who exhibit supernatural abilities are labeled as “Illegals” and are subjected to torture, imprisonment, and death. When Ashala is captured by the government’s Chief Interrogator, she must use her wit and courage to resist her captors’ attempts to break her spirit and force her to betray her people.

Along the way, Ashala discovers secrets about her family, friends, and enemies that challenge her beliefs and test her loyalty. Kwaymullina’s writing style is engaging and lyrical, blending Indigenous storytelling traditions with modern sci-fi elements.

She creates a vivid and complex world with its own history, customs, and languages that reflect the author’s cultural heritage. The characters are well-developed and diverse, representing various ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations.

Ashala is a likable and relatable protagonist who embodies resilience, compassion, and intelligence. The novel also addresses important social and political issues, such as environmental degradation, colonialism, social inequality, and authoritarianism.

It encourages readers to question the status quo and to fight for justice and freedom. The book’s message of hope and solidarity is particularly timely, considering the current global crises and movements for social change.

However, the book’s pacing can be slow at times, especially in the first half of the story. Some readers may also find the magical elements too abstract or confusing.

The ending may also feel abrupt and unsatisfying for some readers, as it leaves several questions unanswered and some plot threads unresolved. Overall, “The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf” is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that appeals to young adults and adults alike.

It showcases Kwaymullina’s talent as a writer and storyteller and contributes to the growing genre of Indigenous speculative fiction. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, Indigenous literature, or young adult fiction that tackles big ideas.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

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