Written by Dorche Powell
After reading the back cover of The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, the debut novel from Australian writer Ambelin Kwaymullina, I couldn’t wait to sink into my couch and dive in. The action and intrigue start on the first page and don’t let up, making this a quick, hard-to-put-down YA Dystopian novel that genre fans will probably enjoy.
I cannot go much into the plot because of a very specific twist in the middle of the story, however, but I can say things take place several hundreds of years into the future where everyone is now focused on keeping the balance. To keep everything in balance, the Illegals (individuals with special abilities) are kept away from the rest of society. But, Neville Rose, who runs a detention center, is determined to dig deep into the memories of Ashala Wolf to find the other Illegals and keep them locked up.
Because of the memory-displaying machine used to interrogate Ashala, and the necessary plot twist, the narrative constantly switches back and forth between the present and the past. This made the book twice as riveting since I couldn’t wait to see how things unfolded in both the present day storyline and the memory storyline. Always a good thing, in my opinion.
The writing is very expressive, the new world is very lively and descriptive, populated by characters that are well thought of and very likable. The mentions of nature, such as the Tuart forests, and the Saurs, add dimension to the setting. The novel unfolded in many ways that keeps readers interested and yearning for more.
Question is, can Ashala find a way to beat – or cheat – the machine to help save her people? I should probably warn you that at first there’s what looks to be the a tremendous cliché romance brewing with a gorgeous jailer-boy. Hang in there. It’s not what it seems. And as the first in a planned series, there’s bound to be more.