Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac

Lozen is named for a woman warrior of the Chiricuaha Apache. Because she has the strength and skills to destroy genetically-created monsters, her family is being held hostage by the people who run Haven. They were rich elites who had gene and biotech modifications to consolidate their control over the ordinaries. Then a strange phenomenon fried everything electronic on Earth and civilization was reduced to refuges like Haven, a former prison in New Mexico. The Ones, as they call themselves, still have their genetic enhancements but are crazed and horribly disfigured by the destruction of their implants.

Meanwhile, giant genetically-modified animals are on the loose, as are the Bloodless, victims of a mutated virus that confers vampire tendencies. Lozen is sent out to destroy the monsters that menace Haven. She tells us about her battles and her hopes of rescuing her family with shy dignity and humor. She draws on her Apache heritage for both skills and mystical strength. The result is an engaging narrator and breathless pacing. The landscape of the Southwest is as vividly brought to life as the monsters.

Like some others of Bruchac's novels, you could think of Killer of Enemies as science fiction or as fantasy, particularly because of the way he incorporates Indian beliefs. This book shares many of the aspects that made Hunger Games popular – a dystopian future with an oppressive elite, constant danger, and a heroine you care about.  Killer of Enemies received the 2014 Young Adult American Indian Youth Literature Award.  

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