I have too many books and too little time, so I no longer finish books I'm not interested in. That doesn't necessarily mean a book is objectively bad but please keep in mind that when I review, I am writing a review for ME, so "good" and "bad" for me might not be "good" and "bad" for you. I say this because even though this book has wildly positive ratings on Goodreads, I kind of feel like I read a totally different book from everyone else who liked it and sometimes I think people think I am speaking for all and sundry when I write my reviews. There were things about it I loved: the cover (obviously), the premise (it kind of sounded like an #ownvoices YA version of Longmire, which would be AMAZING), and the emphasis on Ojibwe culture (including language).
What ended up making this book a miss for me is that it was really boring. Not a lot was happening. There were a ton of info-dumps and it felt like there were way too many characters introduced too quickly which made it hard to figure out who was who and what their relationships to one another were. The heroine also came across as sounding slightly bland just because she came across as a vehicle for all of this weighty info-dumping, so by the time the murder finally came around (I skimmed to about p.200 to try to see if it was worth reading), I was just feeling completely exhausted by the thought of continuing.
You might very well enjoy this book if you enjoy really dense, really long books that are more about the scenery than they are about the plot. I have trouble focusing on books that don't have a lot happening, but I know some people are really into setting. If you're into setting, this will be great for you. Likewise, the heroine's voice felt kind of "generic teen girl" to me but I know some people like a more unobtrusive narrator because it enables them to project into the head of the main character more easily. So the two things that made this a "bad" book for me might make it "good" for someone else.
I'm sorry I didn't enjoy this more, but oh well.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
2 out of 5 stars