The Native American experience in the Americas is a tragic history of hate, betrayal, lies, bigotry and murder. Yet, despite everything, they survive. Technically, Native Americans are not "People of Color" because Natives belong to sovereign nations within the United States borders. But because Alien Star Books is inclusive to all, I naturally have a page for Native American main characters. In Science Fiction and Fantasy, Native American protagonists incorporate their unique experiences and history, evolving into the future or delving into Native American mythology -- or sometimes both!
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Flight (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"...a powerful, fast and timely story of a troubled foster teenager — a boy who is not a “legal” Indian because he was never claimed by his father — who learns the true meaning of terror. About to commit a devastating act, the young man finds himself shot back through time on a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He resurfaces in the form of an FBI agent during the civil rights era, inhabits the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Big Horn, and then rides with an Indian tracker in the 19th Century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all he’s seen." Violence and crude language.
Reservation Blues (Grades 9+ / Ages 15+)
"One day legendary bluesman Robert Johnson appears on the Spokane Indian reservation, in flight from the devil and presumed long dead. When he passes his enchanted instrument to Thomas-Builds-the-Fire—storyteller, misfit, and musician—a magical odyssey begins that will take them from reservation bars to small-town taverns, from the cement trails of Seattle to the concrete canyons of Manhattan. This is a fresh, luxuriantly comic tale of power, tragedy, and redemption among contemporary Native Americans." Includes topics of alcohol, rape, and suicide.
Note: Alexie has been accused of sexual harassment by numerous women. Parents should be aware of this issue and determine how they should deal with the topic with their teens.
The Jaguar Princess (Ages 13+)
"Mixcati's people are descended from the Olmec Jaguar Gods and she is fated for great things-both wonderful and dangerous. She can, unexpectedly and without warning, turn into a living, wild Jaguar, just as her ancestors have done since time immemorial. Once stolen into slavery, she must struggle to survive and to learn to fulfill her destiny in an Aztec culture that understands her strength, fears her power and wants her dead. She must face destruction at their hands-or come into her true power as The Jaguar Princess."
Alpha and Omega series - On The Prowl (Briggs' Alpha and Omega novelette in the anthology begins the series), Cry Wolf, Hunting Ground, and Fair Game (Ages 16+)
On the Prowl - Alpha and Omega
The Marrok, leader of all the werewolves in North America, sends his Native American son, Charles, to find out what's going on in the Chicago pack. Anna meets Charles at the airport, where he discovers that she's a rare Omega werewolf. Abused by her pack, Anna rouses his Alpha instincts to protect the weak -- and his wolf claims her as his own. Werewolves, mystery and a delicate love story mix in this novelette that begins the Alpha and Omega series. (RDJ)
Note: On the Prowl includes four novelettes, including one by Sunny with extremely explicit sex. Consider the Kindle edition or gluing the pages together in the last story before giving the book to a teen. (Yes, I'm serious, Sunny's novelette is extreme erotica that borders on porn -- and I'm pretty liberal in my reading choices! - RDJ)
Continues Anna and Charles' story, mixed with some back history of Bran, the Marrok; Asil, an ancient werewolf also called the Moor; a hunt for an evil witch and the growing relationship between the two werewolves. One sex scene, but I would let my teen read it anyway as it's part of the love story. (RDJ)
Takes Charles and Anna to Seattle, where they deal with the Fae, vampires and werewolves while handling the Marrock's business. A gruesome description of an Alpha werewolf's murder and there's some sex, but not too terribly graphic. I wouldn't be bothered if my older teen read it as it's part of the love story between Charles and Anna. (RDJ)
Set a few weeks after the conclusion of the sixth book in the Mercy Thompson series, River Marked. Charles is having trouble coping with his duties as the werewolves' enforcer and all too often executioner, and it's causing problems in he and Anna's relationship. Bran sends Anna out to Boston as a consultant, investigating a serial murderer, with Charles as her bodyguard. Then the daughter of a powerful fae is kidnapped and it's a race against time to find and hopefully save her before she becomes the next victim. Fae, witches, the FBI, Homeland Security, a new Federal agency focused on the were and Fae called Cantrip, cops and more!! Contains some scenes and discussions of rape, violence and murder that may not be appropriate for a younger teen. (RDJ)
"Praised as 'the perfect blend of action, romance, suspense and paranormal,' the Alpha and Omega novels transport readers into the realm of the werewolf, where Charles Cornick and Anna Latham embody opposite sides of the shifter personality. Now, a pleasure trip drops the couple into the middle of some bad supernatural business…
"For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal--or at least it starts out that way...
"Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire."
"In her bestselling Alpha and Omega series, Patricia Briggs "spins tales of werewolves, coyote shifters, and magic and, my, does she do it well" (USA Today Online). Now mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham face a threat like no other--one that lurks too close to home...
"They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok's pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.
"With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf--but can't stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills--his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker--to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn..."
The Mercy Thompson series - Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed, Silver Borne, River Marked and Frost Burned (Ages 16+)
"Mercy Thompson's life is not exactly normal. Her next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a VW bus for a vampire. But then, Mercy isn't exactly normal herself."
Half Blackfeet and half white, human and coyote shapeshifter, Volkswagen mechanic Mercy Thompson was raised by werewolves and (mostly white) humans in Montana. She actually knows little of her Native ancestry and heritage until River Marked, but don’t let it hold you back from the twists and turns her life takes after she gives a young werewolf a job at her garage in Moon Called, the first book of the series. There's plenty of action-packed adventure in this series. (RDJ)
"A demon-riding vampire has gone on a killing spree unlike any the Tri- Cities has ever seen-and the undead and werewolves sent to stop him haven't returned. A coyote is no match for a demon, but shapeshifting mechanic Mercy Thompson is immune to many vampiric powers-and those are her friends who are missing, including the two werewolves circling around her heart. Game on..."
Mercy owes Stephan, the vampire, a favor. She accompanies him in coyote form in a visit to a vampire that's failed to check in with the Mistress, the leader of the local seethe. Things go bad quickly and Mercy sets out to find and destroy the demon-ridden vampire. (RDJ)
"When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shapeshifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not."
Someone is murdering the Fae and Mercy's mentor and former employer, Zee, is accused of murdering a human. Mercy has to save Zee not only from human justice, but from the Fae who dispense their own form of justice. (RDJ)
"Marsilia, the local vampire queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan. Now, she's out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from direct reprisal by the werewolf pack-and her relationship with its sexy Alpha-it's not Mercy's blood Marsilia is after..."
Mercy's justice in Blood Bound has been discovered by the Mistress, so she leaves the Tri-Cities to help a college classmate with a ghost problem. As always, it's much more complicated and Mercy has to figure out the mystery and decide if she's going to accept Adam's proposal. (RDJ)
"When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down. It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side - leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit."
Mercy has an old book, borrowed from a part-Fae bookstore owner and now somebody wants it, only they don't know it's a book. In the meantime, her former love, Samuel is in deep trouble, he's old, very old, and tired. A bounty hunter, a Faery Queen, the Fae, magic and more -- it's an urban fantasy mixed with mystery, adventure and a love story that reaches a satisfying conclusion. (RDJ)
"Being a different breed of shapeshifter - a walker - Mercy Thompson can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now, on her honeymoon with the Alpha werewolf Adam. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil..."
Adam and Mercy are staying at a campground on the Columbia River. There's a mystery, including an ancient Native American legend that's come to life. A fascinating glimpse of Mercy's Native American background, her father, Native American mythology, the Fae and more. (RDJ)
"Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more…
"After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.
"Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely."
"An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from a stalker. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.
"Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.
"Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s stalker is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart."
"Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who...always remains true to herself” (Library Journal). Now she’s back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer...
"Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.
"Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?"
"In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone...
"Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe...
"Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise..."
Mercy Thompson Homecoming - Graphic Novel (Ages 18+)
This is a hardbound graphic novel. Very good story, interesting and well-drawn. This is the back story of how Mercy ended up in the Tri-Cities. Contains her first meetings with Adam and his pack, Tad, Zee and Stephan. WARNING: Contains well-drawn and relatively tasteful nudity (considering that she's in several fight scenes), but probably not appropriate for a young teen. Remember that Mercy changes into a coyote and obviously isn't wearing clothes when she changes between her human and coyote forms. (RDJ)
Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection (Grades 5+ / Ages 11+)
"All cultures have tales of the trickster—a crafty creature or being who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. He disrupts the order of things, often humiliating others and sometimes himself. In Native American traditions, the trickster takes many forms, from coyote or rabbit to raccoon or raven. The first graphic anthology of Native American trickster tales, Trickster brings together Native American folklore and the world of comics.
"In Trickster more than twenty Native American tales are cleverly adapted into comic form. Each story is written by a different Native American storyteller who worked closely with a selected illustrator, a combination that gives each tale a unique and powerful voice and look. Ranging from serious and dramatic to funny and sometimes downright fiendish, these tales bring tricksters back into popular culture in a very vivid form. From an ego-driven social misstep in “Coyote and the Pebbles” to the hijinks of “How Wildcat Caught a Turkey” and the hilarity of “Rabbit’s Choctaw Tail Tale,” Trickster provides entertainment for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
"Along with compiling and editing the book, artist Matt Dembicki illustrated one of the featured trickster tales. Dembicki is the founder of D.C. Conspiracy, a comic creators’ collaborative in Washington, DC, and has won acclaim for his nature graphic novel, Mr. Big. He currently works as an editor for a higher-education association." This is a graphic novel.
Cry of the Sea (Ages 13+)
"Juniper Sawfeather is choosing which college to attend after graduation from West Olympia High School next year. She wants to go to San Diego to be far away from her environmental activist parents. They expect her to think the way they do, but having to be constantly fighting causes makes it difficult to be an average 17 year old high school student. Why do her parents have to be so out there?
"Everything changes when she and her father rush to the beach after a reported oil spill. As they document the damage, June discovers three humans washed up on the beach, struggling to breathe through the oil coating their skin. At first she thinks they must be surfers, but as she gets closer, she realizes these aren't human at all. They're mermaids!Now begins a complex story of intrigue, conspiracy and manipulation as June, her parents, a marine biologist and his handsome young intern, her best friend, the popular clique at school and the oil company fight over the fate of the mermaids."
Zadayi Red (Ages 13+)
"A young Shaman of the Galayi people has had a powerful and frightening vision: it is of the Eagle Feather Cape, the gift of the Thunderbird, which is worn by the Seer of the People to see the future and gain the guidance of the gods. The cape is torn and bloody, and it will no longer bring visions to the Seer of the People. But the Shaman's vision also tells her of the cure: a child will be born to the People, a hero who will restore the cape and return the goodwill of the gods to the People. Dahzi may be that hero, if he can survive the hatred of his grandfather. He was born after his mother’s death, as she fled from her father’s anger. But Dahzi carries the hope of all of his People, along with the power to become a great Chief. He will be tested--by his family, by his people, and by the Gods. Zadayi Red is a magnificent retelling of a Cherokee legend. It brings to life an ancient people and a time of magic in a warm and intimate storyteller’s voice."
Wow! What a great story, based on Native American mythology and the Turtle Island creation story. This was a quick and engrossing read about a medicine woman who had a vision of death and destruction. With the help of Buzzard, she raises the child that will restore the people and peace. There were a couple of scenes that might be a bit much for a younger teen and a bare description of a rape, but in general, I wouldn't have any fear of a teen reading this great book. (RDJ)
Shadows in the Cave
"In this sequel to Zadayi Red, Caleb Fox continues his fantasy retelling of the stories and history of the first peoples of America, the tribes we know today as the Cherokee. Shonan and his son Aku are as different as night and day–the father a down-to-earth War Chief, leader of his village; his son a young shape-shifter who has been forbidden by his father to practice his gift from the gods. But such gifts are given to the people for the protection of the tribe, and Aku will not long be able to obey his father. This lovely, intense journey among the earliest inhabitants of North America will thrill readers with deep truths and timeless adventure."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. In fact, I liked it even better than the first book, Zadayi Red. Author Caleb Fox has wound the classic threads of a father and son's conflicts as the young man comes of age around and through the stories of Turtle Island and the first peoples of the Americas. Aku is a very likeable protagonist as he finds his way as a shapeshifter and grows into his manhood. I don't want to say too much about the story because I don't want to spoil it for the reader. I will say that it comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I've found myself several times going back and rereading the final couple of chapters, which is a good sign -- I liked it so much that I'm rereading portions of it already. This book will stay on my "favorites" shelf for a long, long time. There are a few scenes of sex and violence that might be disturbing to young teens and their parents. (RDJ)
Note: Caleb Fox is a pen name used by Cherokee/Welsh-Irish author Win Blevins. These two books have been reissued as a set on Kindle under Win and Meredith Blevins.
Manipulate (Alien Cadets - Volume 1) (Ages 15+)
"The aliens who currently administer Earth have a simple proverb: SURVIVAL IS SANITY. Forcibly conscripted into the alien training program as a child, Sam has grown up on the alien home world. He has become one of their favorite cadets through his charisma and hard work, but now Sam is on his way back to Earth to work in their Los Angeles headquarters, and to find the line between being used... and using them.
"When Sam's homecoming speech sets off a string of violence, his realizes his choices carry more weight than he realized. First there's a hate message scrawled in blood, then a drive-by attack, and a riot that ends in fire. When the next attack ends with the abduction of Sam's girlfriend, he'll dare anything to identify their enemy. From the slums of Los Angeles to a treacherous space station, Sam must uncover the real reason for the cadet program.
"And the true meaning of sanity may not spell survival, at least not for him."
Two Serpents Rise (Ages 16+)
"In Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone, shadow demons plague the city reservoir, and Red King Consolidated has sent in Caleb Altemoc—casual gambler and professional risk manager—to cleanse the water for the sixteen million people of Dresediel Lex. At the scene of the crime, Caleb finds an alluring and clever cliff runner, Crazy Mal, who easily outpaces him.
But Caleb has more than the demon infestation, Mal, or job security to worry about when he discovers that his father—the last priest of the old gods and leader of the True Quechal terrorists—has broken into his home and is wanted in connection to the attacks on the water supply.
From the beginning, Caleb and Mal are bound by lust, Craft, and chance, as both play a dangerous game where gods and people are pawns. They sleep on water, they dance in fire...and all the while the Twin Serpents slumbering beneath the earth are stirring, and they are hungry."
Parental warning: Some violence, magic, gambling, demons, the old gods, religion and same sex relationships are in the book. The story is complex and multi-layered, you might not consider it appropriate for a younger teen.
If you'd like to read my review and the book description of Gladstone's debut novel, Three Parts Dead, I have it listed on the Black page of Alien Star Books. While set in the same world, they're two distinct novels and the main character in Three Parts Dead is Black. (RDJ)
Blood Totems (Ages 16+)
"There are stories among the Cheyenne of brave warrior spirits, skinwalkers, who protect the world from evil. For two twenty-first century brothers, it’s not just a story. Ben Eagle Plume is a police detective on temporary assignment with Vancouver law enforcement. With his younger brother Zeke as his partner, they work together solving various crimes while Ben learns to control his newly acquired powers. But when Zeke disappears during a ritual murder case, the shapeshifting detective must use every resource to rescue his brother before he too is sacrificed to a bloodthirsty god." The author, C.N. Howard, rates this book as PG-13. Contains themes of violence, human sacrifice and murder as well as the ugliness of neo-Nazis and racism.
Added 10/1/2012 (Native American)
Kimberly Griffiths Little
Enchanted Runner (Grades 4-8 / Ages 10+)
After the death of his mother, 14-year-old Kendall, half Acoma and half Anglo, is summoned to the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico by his great grandfather. Drawn to running, he finds that his great grandfather was an Acoma runner. Kendall wants to follow in his footsteps, but fears that he'll always be an outsider because of his Anglo father. But when his great grandfather fails to return from an ancient shrine, Kendall sets out to find him. Winner of the Southwest Book Award.
The Last Snake Runner (Grades 4-8 / Ages 10+)
The Last Snake Runner continues the story begun in Enchanted Runner. Kendall's father remarries and Kendall flees into the desert, back to Enchanted Mesa at Acoma, when he's unable to cope with the latest change in his life. Transported back to the 16th century, he sees first-hand the life of the Snake Clan and the invasion of the Spanish. The account of the Spanish encounter and massacre is a true story, taken from Spanish history. The battle scenes and ensuing atrocities may be too intense for younger readers.
Available as a
used book only
Shadows Cast by Stars (Ages 12+ / Grades 7-9)
"Old ways are pitted against new horrors in this compellingly crafted, “atmospherically beautiful” (Kirkus Reviews) dystopian tale about a girl who is both healer and seer.
"Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet—especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the Plague ravaging the rest of the world.
"Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to the Plague, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe—government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cassandra and her family, they flee to the Island: a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerilla warriors—and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken her under her wing, and the tribal leader’s son into his heart, the creatures of the spirit world are angry, and they have chosen Cassandra to be their voice and instrument...
"Incorporating the traditions of the First Peoples as well as the more familiar stories of Greek mythology and Arthurian legend, Shadows Cast by Stars is a haunting, beautifully written story that breathes new life into ancient customs."
Author Catherine Knutsson is Métis.
Beast Master series: Beast Master, Lord of Thunder, Beast Master’s Ark, Beast Master’s Circus, and Beast Master’s Quest (Age 13+)
Beast Master's Planet - The Beast Master and Lord of Thunder in one volume.
The Beast Master begins with veteran Beast Master Hosteen Storm and his genetically enhanced team of animals settling on a distant planet Azor. Earth has been destroyed, the war is over, and some of the now homeless Terran veterans have went insane. Those who have accepted the loss of Earth are resettled on other planets. Raised by his Navajo grandfather, Storm has a mission set upon him by the old man during his last visit to Earth. But things aren't all as they seemed and Storm must find his way in a new world, adapting his own Native ways to first fit into the Service and then as a settler on a world that resembles his home -- yet he can never go "home" again. The story includes Azor's native peoples, horses, the longhorn-like frawns and sabotage by the old enemy. (RDJ)
Lord of Thunder continues Storm's story with his new-found family. But there are problems in the wild back country and the Native peoples of Azor. A rich off-world father is searching for his son, who is also a Veteran of the war, and is believed to be on a lifeboat that crashed into the back country. In the midst of the race to find the missing man, Storm must face his fellow settlers, contact the Native Norbie and Nitra clans, escape a trap in an ancient Forerunner installation, and call upon his own Navajo beliefs to defeat an ancient power hidden in the mountains. The Beast Master novels are among my favorite Norton books. Her respectful treatment of the Native American protagonist was a refreshing change from the usual "noble savage" and "dirty Indian" stereotypes prevalent in the 1950s and 60s. (RDJ)
Beast Master's Ark
Written with Lyn McConchie, the story introduces the Ark, a spaceship modified to save the enhanced Beast Master teams and genetic diversity of Earth before its destruction by the Xiks. The story is mostly told from the point of view of the orphan Tani, child of a Cheyenne Beast Master and an Irish medic. After her father's death, her mother taught her that the Beast Masters threw away their animals' lives in the war. Her mother was then killed in a Xik attack. Nevertheless, Tani inherited her father's abilities, sharing her life with a pair of coyotes and a paraowl. Her suspicion of Storm, however, doesn't extend to his team. Meanwhile, animals, humans, Norbie and Nitra are being attacked by an unknown force moving out from the wild back country. All that's found in the morning are their bones. The two Beast Masters must find a way to work together to solve this mystery and save the peoples of Azor from a horrible death. I don't think this book is as strong as the first two books, but it continues the story of Storm and Azor, ending in a relatively satisfactory climax. (RDJ)
Beast Master's Circus
The collaboration between Norton and Lyn McConchie continue with this new story. It begins off-world with a young woman, Laris, who works for an interstellar circus. A bonded servant, essentially a slave, she takes care of the animals. On several occasions, she's cared for a Beast Master's creatures, who willed themselves to death. When the circus comes to Azor, Storm's team is at risk. Laris is sent out with her own companion, a cat-like creature named Prauo, to make friends with Storm and his family. Laris bonds with them but fears to tell them her own dark secrets. While the story is adequate and the conclusion exciting, It's not on a level with the first two books. (RDJ)
Beast Master's Quest
This book picks up where the last left off. Laris inherits a spaceship from an uncle she didn't know she had, a former Beast Master who lost his team and went mad. With the few clues that they have, she and Storm's family set out to find Prauo's home world. When they do find it, negotiations with the two intertwined peoples of his world take a turn for the worse. This is probably the worst of the five Beast Master books. It has plenty of high points, but when Laris whines about things being "not fair", it's a disheartening realization that Norton has went on ahead, leaving others to finish her work. Laris seems younger and immature, unlike most of Norton's characters. If another book is brought out, I'll read it but unless the characters and writing improve, I'm not holding out much hope for it. (RDJ)
The Sioux Spaceman (Ages 13+)
Humanity had a huge shock when they reached out for the stars. Not only were the stars occupied, they were dominated by the Styor, a humanoid race that enslaved the planets they controlled. Earth wasn't such an easy target, but the human traders had to walk a careful path as they worked and traded on Styor worlds. Kade Whitehawk, a Lakota sent to Klor to fill out a mixed team of traders, sees a way to assist the native people, the Ikkinni, to rebel against the Styor Lords. The story has good bones and good writing, but there's some missteps in it. In today's world, the depiction of the Styor "halfbreeds" are inherently offensive. Painted as buffoons, superstitious and slovenly, they are a caricature of the old stereotype of a mixed race Native American. If you can overlook that, knowing that the book was written in another time (late 1950s/published 1960), The Sioux Spaceman is a quick read and an interesting science fiction story.
Time Traders Series: Galactic Derelict, The Defiant Agents (Ages 13+)
These are the second and third books in the Time Trader series. Other books in the series are found in the Asian/Pacific Islander and Everything Else pages. Both Galactic Derelict and The Defiant Agents are told from the viewpoint of Travis Fox, a Native American archaeologist.
Witch World series: Key to the Keplian (Ages 13+)
"All of Witch World knows to fear the hated, fire-eyed Keplian horses who lure riders to their deaths. All that is, save for one young Native American girl new to Witch World, who rescues a Keplian mare and her foal and discovers an awesome truth--the Keplians were created to serve light, not darkness, and to ride with humans. This is the first in a new trilogy."
Oh, there was going to be a trilogy? There's no sign of two more books and due to the terms of Ms. Norton's will and the subsequent legal battle, we're unlikely to see any new books.
While billed as a collaboration between Norton and Lyn McConchie, according to the Norton Facebook page this book was actually written entirely by McConchie. A mixed Celtic and Native American girl, Eleeri, escapes through a gate into the Witch World, thwarting the bigoted social worker who wants to send her back to relatives that hated and beat her until her great-grandfather, Far Traveler rescued her. He raised her to follow the path of the true warrior, the Commache. Upon his death, she flees into the mountains. After she finds herself in the Witch World, she builds a new home within a mysterious valley and an ancient Hall, along with the horse-shaped Keplain mare. But evil is rising and soon she, the Keplians who choose the Light, and those of the Old Race that she's befriended, must fight together to destroy this evil forever.
I liked this story. Although it wasn't quite an Andre Norton story, it was definitely worth reading. It's probably the best of the books written by other authors or in collaboration with Norton. (RDJ)
The Bone Whistle (Ages 15+)
"Young, brash Darly can't overcome her anger at a father she never knew. Viv, her secretive mother, can't get over the man himself. What Darly doesn't know, and what Viv refuses to tell her, is that her father is not of human blood. One of the elusive wanaghi, the fey-like folk who live beneath the Dakotan hills, he left Viv to return to his own kind before realizing that she would bear his child. When the gift of a bone whistle brings Darly's father to her, she finally discovers who he is. She decides, against her mother's advice, to follow him to his land under the hills. There she meets the rest of her family . . . and a young man who steals her heart. Even knowing the dangers, Darly can't help but fall in love and into the intriques of the wanaghi." Currrently out of print - available as a used book.
Spirit Lance (Native Protectors) (Ages 13+)
At only 109 pages, this is a quick read for a hot, summer afternoon.
"A teenage Native American boy Sam takes charge as he discovers there is more going on in space than he previously knew. An alien race war is brewing that threatens all life in the galaxy, and only he with the help of a few friends can stop them. Guided by a mysterious old man and a friendly alien comrade, Sam must muster all his courage to defeat an ancient enemy. With his sidearm "Lucy" on his hip, and his Browncoat on his back he leads them on a wild ride filled with action and adventure." Available only as a Kindle book.
Drew Hayden Taylor
Motorcycles & Sweetgrass
"A story of magic, family, a mysterious stranger . . . and a band of marauding raccoons.
"Otter Lake is a sleepy Anishnawbe community where little happens. Until the day a handsome stranger pulls up astride a 1953 Indian Chief motorcycle – and turns Otter Lake completely upside down. Maggie, the Reserve’s chief, is swept off her feet, but Virgil, her teenage son, is less than enchanted. Suspicious of the stranger’s intentions, he teams up with his uncle Wayne – a master of aboriginal martial arts – to drive the stranger from the Reserve. And it turns out that the raccoons are willing to lend a hand."
The Night Wanderer (Ages 12+)
"A sleepy native reservation. A troubled teen girl. A vampire returns home.
"Nothing ever happens on the Otter Lake reservation. But when 16-year-old Tiffany discovers her father is renting out her room, she's deeply upset. Sure, their guest is polite and keeps to himself. But he's also a little creepy. Little do Tiffany, her father or even her astute Granny Ruth suspect the truth. The mysterious Pierre L'Errant is actually a vampire, returning to his tribal home after centuries spent in Europe. But Tiffany has other things on her mind: her new boyfriend is acting weird, disputes with her father are escalating, and her estranged mother is starting a new life with somebody else. Fed up and heartsick, Tiffany threatens drastic measures and flees into the bush. There, in the midnight woods, a chilling encounter with L'Errant changes everything... for both of them.
"A mesmerizing blend of Gothic thriller and modern coming-of-age novel, The Night Wanderer is unlike any other vampire story."
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