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The Marrow Thieves

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  12,131 ratings  ·  1,942 reviews
In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America's Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to fligh ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published September 1st 2017 by Dancing Cat Books (first published May 10th 2017)
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lire au féminin I would have loved to read this book in junior high/high school. I think it's a great way to supplement the study of residential schools and other rea…moreI would have loved to read this book in junior high/high school. I think it's a great way to supplement the study of residential schools and other really important themes. The characters are complex and relatable. There are some difficult scenes, but nothing that compares to anything they haven't already read or seen on TV. (less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  12,131 ratings  ·  1,942 reviews

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Maggie Gordon
Wow... if you read the back of this book, you might get the sense that The Marrow Thieves is your typical YA dystopia just with Indigenous protagonists. You would be mistaken. The speculative aspects of Dimaline's novel are not particularly important. What shines is the Indigenous narrative about loss of culture, abuse and murder by a majority population, yet survival and resilience. It's a powerful, painful book that does not hold back. It moves slowly compared to many other offerings in the YA ...more
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended to MissBecka by: Jacks
I thought I would like this more. The idea sounded amazing!
When I finished the book I felt like maybe I had lost the other 3/4 of it somewhere.
The characters all felt underdeveloped and there is very little back story for the premise.
Set in such a wonderful landscape with what should have been a heartbreaking story...what I got felt inadequate.
I would have loved more history. Not just of the characters, but the growth of the totalitarian government and how the lands became so ravaged.
There were
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first came to know Cherie Dimaline's writing last year, when I read "Legends are Made, Not Born" in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time: An LGBT and Two-Spirit Sci Fi Anthology. The character she writes about in that story is named Auntie Dave.

I wrote, then, that I had to "just be" with Auntie Dave and that story for awhile. There's a quality in Dimaline's writing that reached from the page, into my being.

That's the case, too, with The Marrow Thieves. I paused again and again as I met and came
It is a weak dystopia that can be solved by technology currently in existence, and a pointless one that passes up more pragmatic solutions in favor of brutality and angst.

This story is set in a futuristic world ravaged by global warming (okay) where most of mankind has been left unable to dream (what?). The only cure lies in Native peoples' bone marrow (uh….) which is harvested with no respect to keeping the people themselves alive (of course).

First things first: There's a technique called a p
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Let me just say, reading a dystopian novel set in my province felt very strange.

There are a lot of interesting themes and subtext and symbolism within the story that tie the futuristic dystopian society of the book into very real issues of today, and the analogies just in terms of how the non-Indigenous of this country often view Indigenous people in society and how our cultures and traditions and very livelihoods tend to be overlooked and disregarded by them unless or until they desire somethin
Kate Sherwood
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Reading this book was kind of like taking medicine. I took it, and maybe it was good for me, but... I really didn't enjoy it.

If I read it as a sort of primary document, a study of one Indigenous author's survival fantasies, it's kind of interesting. Obviously residential schools were horrific and left deep scars and anger and I should read more Indigenous writings as part of the Truth and Reconciliation process and it's good for me, a white Canadian, to sometimes experience the one-sidedness and
Nov 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
I thought this would be good as it was chosen for Canada Reads competition, but I was really disapointed. I hate books that are just people running. The main characters were running for 5 years and they still didn't get to where they were going??? How did a party of 9 always have food and tobacco? What was the point of the dreams if they were hardly mentioned?
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Nope. This book tried too hard to be deep but wasn’t. The premise was interesting, but the plot just meandered along. There wasn’t any real character development for the main characters, and French suddenly gets jealous, moody and ideas of leadership grandeur two thirds of the way through. Is the loss of dream supposed to be a metaphor? And too many forced happy-ending reunions despite no happy ending. Blah on this book for wasting my time.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted the book to be better. It had some interesting ideas but it fell down on some fundamentals. The first half of the book was a lot of no-consequences actions mixed in with info-dumping back story. In the last quarter things finally happen--a cringeworthy romance (the main characters girlfriend really really should have dumped him). Before finally we get to the plot that's on the back cover, but that doesn't get resolved.

Oh, and another thing. For most of the book we have this idea that bo
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Seemed written in a rush and the story didn’t flow. The characters needed more development, even with the back stories, they just didn’t seem real.
Chels Patterson
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
The premise of a futuristic world where people have stopped dreaming and indigenous people are being hunted for their bone marrow, because the process of researching and using the marrow apparently kills the donor grabbed my attention. It was a bit like a 'Star Trek' episode where people stopped dreaming (although it didn't involve a genocide like this book) so I thought I'd go ahead and plunge back into a YA book (which I don't care for) set in a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world (which I'm also ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ever since they lost the ability to dream, non-natives have been hunting indigenous Canadians, whose bone marrow contains the cure for dreaming. French has been living on the run with his family for more than 5 years, struggling to survive through brutal Northern winters and dry summers. But sooner or later, they all know that they're bound to be found.

This started out so strong, developing the fear of being Native and hiding in the Canadian wilderness straightaway. It hits upon issues like raci
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: overdrive
I keep thinking that the author betrayed their characters.
Like they came to the author's dream, and tried telling their story hoping the story will be told properly yet somehow, somehow only a vague memory of it stayed with the writer and we never got to hear the really powerful story that happened
Dec 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
I have no clue why people like this book so much. It is a lazy excuse of a young adult novel with plastic and fake characters. The "love" between Frenchie and Rose is so forced it makes me cringe. It comes off as trying too hard to be a good book but its not. I dislike the inclusion of Slopper being only there for fat jokes. Overall its a big disappointment of a book
Rebecca McNutt
This book had an interesting premise and I liked the Indigenous Canadian culture that was brought into it, but it seemed like the characters weren't very deep, and the concept has already been done in books like Never Let Me Go and Unwind. ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book completely misses the mark of being a good book for young native adults. As a native myself, this book is a complete insult to our kind. It tries so hard to shove the fact that this book is about the native culture that it comes off as a white chick who checked her and found out that shes 0.5% native and embracing it. Such a disappointing read and a complete waste of my time
Matt Fraser
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Marrow Thieves was kind of an impulse read. I decided to read the book because the author is visiting Ottawa for the Ottawa International Writers Festival at the end of the month. I only became aware that the author will be here just this past Thursday and to get the most out of the event I wanted to read the book.

The book does appear to be written for a young adult audience and takes place in rural Ontario's 'near future' (Circa 2050-2060). It follows a boy, Francis "Frenchie", who gets se
Oct 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McCaffrey
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
this book had so much potential, and i really liked the elders' storytelling in the middle of the book, but it didn't deliver as i had hoped. i didn't feel that the climax was strong enough, and it seemed over too quick. the ending was cute but it kinda came out of nowhere. i liked rose and miig the best, peobably because their past lives were described in much more detail than the other characters so we knew them on a deeper level. i actually didn't know this was a YA novel going in so it expla ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
God this is a bad book. I have no clue why everyone likes it so much. The author has a cool way of writing and is very descriptive but other than that the story is so bad. Everything about it makes me cringe and the forced "romance" and the bs inclusion of magic confused me so much. It's just a waste of time. Apparently, this book is to bring hope to young native children yet its a dystopian novel? The ending is bad and confusing. I'd like it better if the main character in the book was actually ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I didn’t like this book at all. I never ended up finishing it. I started it for school and I heard so many great reviews and it won a award so I gave it a shot but it was hard to follow and wasn’t intriguing.
Nonarch of ice
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is really bad. I keep seeing people asking "why do people like this book" and they're right, why DO people like this book? The only thing I personally like about this book is the authors way of writing and how she describes things but even then she lacks in being able to write captivating and interesting stories. The story is very boring and droning, all the characters are unrelatable and I didn't care how they turned out since we barely spend time with these characters. The way French ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I brought this book with me on a trip, and read it during the long bus rides. I wanted so hard to get into this book because I know there is significance. The opening just jumped into the story but it didn’t seem to make much sense. When they talked about their heritage it was after the change, and I didn’t feel like it was necessarily about what happened in history. Maybe I didn’t fully understand it. Then I realized it was more about each of our character’s stories. Things happened but it wasn ...more
Leah Grantham
Jun 06, 2018 rated it liked it
I tried SO HARD to like this. I slugged myself through it praying for some kind of brilliant revelation that never came, for an answer to the question of why this was getting all the praise it was, and never got it. Part of it is my fault, the genre and I are an inherent mismatch. I didn't like YA even when I was a teenager. It is just too shlocky and self important and it appears YA editors don't put much effort to stop authors from going into the territory of florid prose or melodrama. I wante ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, can-con, indigenous
From where we were now, running, looking at reality from this one point in time, it seemed as though the world had suddenly gone mad. Poisoning your own drinking water, changing the air so much the earth shook and melted and crumbled, harvesting a race for medicine. How? How could this happen? Were they that much different from us? Would we be like them if we'd had a choice? Were they like us enough to let us live?

The Marrow Thieves is about a near-future dystopia: a not unimaginable one in
I was so excited when I read the back of this book when my friend showed me her copy. Then I went to the store and saw it was in the teen section. "Great," I thought, "Another young adult book." I decided to read it with an open mind. After all, there has been at least one young adult book I liked...I can't think of it right now, but surely there is one.

But it is not this one. This book did not grab me. It was flat and dull and really missed the mark. The idea had great potential, but it wasn't
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Honestly, I hate this book. We were forced to read this hot garbage in English class. It tries so hard to be relateable yet none of the characters feel real. I like the theme and it could've gone somewhere but it didn't. It so disappointing and the ending is just bad. The inclusion of Slopper was also kinda weird because I personally thought he was only there for fat jokes. Waste of my time. If you want to read something actually good about indigenous culture for young adults read 'Rain is not m ...more
In Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, the cautioned consequences of climate change have arrived.  The Northern Ice has melted shifting coastlines inward, storms have become more powerful than ever causing numerous fossil fuel disasters and populations have begun to cluster in larger areas leaving small towns and communities behind.

Many people have lost the ability to dream and a believed cure lies within the bone marrow of First Nations people.  Residential school inspired compounds are reint
Addie Wensel
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Marrow Thieves was an interesting concept, and brought attention to some important issues (global warming, environment, residential schools, treatment of First Nations) but was ultimately a letdown. I liked that it touched on some of these issues without being sanctimonious, and the background context of the story was original. However, the actual plot was too predictable, and the ending was a disappointment.
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Cherie Dimaline wins her first Governor General's Literary Award in 2017 with The Marrow Thieves. She is an author and editor from the Georgian Bay Métis community whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts, and became the first Aboriginal Writer in ...more

Articles featuring this book

When it comes to learning what's new in science fiction and fantasy, we turned to the experts. These are some of the genres' biggest supe...
97 likes · 26 comments
“Sometimes you risk everything for a life worth living, even if you're not the one that'll be alive to see it.” 30 likes
“We go to the schools and they leach the dreams from where our ancestors hid them, in the honeycombs of slushy marrow buried in our bones. And us? Well, we join our ancestors, hoping we left enough dreams behind for the next generation to stumble across.” 12 likes
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