The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive after the world is nearly destroyed by global warming and the Indigenous people of North America become hunted once it's discovered that they are the only people who have retained the ability to dream and that their bone marrow can provide a cure.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Dancing Cat Books, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781770864863
Branch Call Number: TEEN DIM
Teen fiction D PBK
Characteristics: 234 pages


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From Library Staff

Dystopian novel about the flight and survival of Indigenous people who are hunted for their bone marrow. [Also available as an eBook and eAudiobook.]

List - Indigenous Horror
drewsattack Oct 20, 2019

“In her bestselling book The Marrow Thieves, Cherie Dimaline used the real history of residential schools to create a terrifying post-apocalyptic world where Indigenous children are hunted and harvested for their bone marrow.” - Alicia Elliott

Marrow Thieves is the book I wish I'd written - it's magical and powerful, poignant and joyful.

The Marrow Thieves won in the Young People's Literature - Text category. The peer assessment committee for the awards explained: "The Marrow Thieves is speculative fiction with a chilling immediacy. Its unflinching narrative resonates in our disturbing times. Cherie Dimaline’s exceptional wr... Read More »

From the critics

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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 15, 2020

January 2020
This is a teen novel and reads like one. The book was based in a futuristic world ravaged by climate change. The main character was a young boy named Francis (Frenchie). We are taken on his journey of survival after his parents and brother are captured by the ruling class/party ("Recruiters"). We are given a brief summary of the plight of indigenous people in North America at the hands of the white race as the story goes on. I had no interest or could relate to any of the characters in this book. I kept reading hoping to eventually find some interest in it considering all the awards it garnered (such as the Governor General's, Kirkus Review, Code Burt, Amy Mathers, etc). I just couldn't finish this book, it was so boring to me. (2/10)

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.

Aug 06, 2019

A tale of hope-tinged desperation, beautifully told. A little horror-esque at times, but not without reason. Side characters are a little flat, but justifiably, considering it's such a compact book.

While the writing is somewhat poetic, I do not see any merit to the plot in this book. I wonder if the author was trying and failed to mimic the more successful books in The Hunger Games series? This novel describes an imaginary holocaust of Canadian indigenous in a future dystopian world where an evil white society must suck the dreams out of every innocent metis and indigenous man, woman and child. It feels like reverse racism where all western society is evil and the indigenous is the only pure race. The intended audience appears to be young adults. Certainly there is not enough context or sophistication to appeal to an adult reader.

Mar 22, 2019

One of the best book I’ve ever read. Gripping, terrifying and yet beautifully written. This book needs to be read slowly and without any distractions so that you can savour each sentence.

Dec 07, 2018

Intense and beautifully written. Nicely in your face for mainstream society.....First Nations people need a strong voice like this. She gives us a view into a repressed peoples' world. Well done.

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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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DanglingConversations thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 24


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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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