The Marrow Thieves by Cherie DimalineThe Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves

byCherie Dimaline

Paperback | May 10, 2017

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Shortlisted for 2018 CBC Canada Reads

Winner of 2017 Governor General's Literary Award (Young People's Literature - Text)

Winner of 2017 Kirkus Prize

Nominated for 2018 Forest of Reading - White Pine Awards

A Globe and Mail Best Book

Shortlisted for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award

Shortlisted for the Indigenous Literature Award

Longlisted for the Sunburst Award

Just when you think you have nothing left to lose, they come for your dreams.

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. Her first book, Red Rooms, was published in 2007 and her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy was released in 2013. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier's Award for Excellenc...
Title:The Marrow ThievesFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:180 pages, 8 × 5.3 × 0.7 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.3 × 0.7 inPublished:May 10, 2017Publisher:Cormorant BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1770864865

ISBN - 13:9781770864863


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book I actually read a few pages three months ago, stopped, but then decided to try reading it again. I'm glad I picked it back up. Dimaline's dystopian Ontario is terrifying and her prose is fantastic. I highly recommend reading this.
Date published: 2019-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth a Read! Would make a great novel study for grade 7 and 8's. Lots of great themes to discuss.
Date published: 2019-02-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I liked The Marrow Theives, it’s a decent book. I read this when I was in Grade 8, which may have been a little dumb on my part because it can become kind of dark at some parts. The book though, despite others opinions, was good. I liked the plot line and it had a good idea to it. The only thing is that it is kind of slow paced, in the sense that I wasn’t very motivated to read it at some points, but at other points in the story I couldn’t put the book down. Overall I think it’s a good book, one worth reading.
Date published: 2019-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a fantastic novel! The Marrow Thieves is a book every Canadian should read, young adult or not! It is jam-packed with fascinating characters and dystopian situations that will make your toes curl and your conceptions of Canadian culture shift. The representation is AMAZING and not a second goes by when you aren't desperate to know what will happen next. I won't spoil it, but I will say I was not emotionally prepared for the ending. Definite book hangover. Everyone should read.
Date published: 2018-12-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unapologetically Canadian Dystopia I never thought I would find a book that was unapologetically Canadian AND science fiction, but here we are. I really enjoyed the weaving of Canadian landscapes and history, with a truly horrifying dystopian future. Overall, the book is a fantastic read, Cherie Demaline's writing style is truly magnetic, her descriptions of details we so often pass by in every day life illuminate them in ways that really draw a reader in. The only reason this book doesn't get a 5/5 from me is that some points in the plot seemed like the could have been fleshed out a bit more given their significance. But if Demaline ever writes a sequel or anything else in this 'verse again, I'll definitely be picking it up!
Date published: 2018-12-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me. I couldn't get into this--and I feel terrible about it. I was expecting something along the lines of Wagamese (but less depressing), but instead I picked up a novel based on a dystopian future where the Indigenous of Canada are running from recruiters... all very obviously based on the Residential school system which of course is a serious topic, but it somehow made this not serious at all, which I doubt the author was going for. It made it a little childish for me, and the subject is so important that I was hoping to read something a little more reflective of life and the past and how it affects/has affected us all. Alas, it did not happen. I get where the author was going with it, but it wasn't my style and therefore didn't pull me in at all.
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not a fan of YA, but enjoyed this one I sped through this book and enjoyed the entire thing immensely. It had a captivating storyline, but one that also raises a lot of important questions regarding the relationship between the Canadian (and US) government and Indigenous Peoples, particularly concerning the steps that need to be taken to foster reconciliation and ensure the atrocities of the past are not "swept under the rug".
Date published: 2018-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fast paced This was a fast paced read that I very much enjoyed. I think it has important information and messages on the treatment of the Indigenous people of Canada that we should all take note of and learn from. Reason for not giving it a higher rating - the love interest. I found it boring and uninteresting. It wasn’t needed to push the story and it felt bland.
Date published: 2018-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a book we all should read! The Marrow Theives is set in a Science Fictional thriller genre, and it drives you as you read it but you might make the mistake of skipping over this book as a young adult book, DON’T! This is a book I wish they had when I was in school, but even so I am glad to read it now! This is a book with so much more than its surface. Thank you, Cherie, will be reading more of your work in the future. Thank you for placing the story of Canada and our people’s in the light you did!
Date published: 2018-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for young adults Beautifully written. Will read more by Cherie Dimaline.
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Canadian Author Read I loved this book by Cherie Dimaline. I thought her writing style was effortless and detailed. A great dystopian read that I would recommend to everyone. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW Presenting indigenous youth as superheroes who can change the world? This book does exactly that! Having met the author, I can see her energy shine through in this book. It's incredible! You must buy it!
Date published: 2018-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Difficult to put down! I bought this with hopes of a good summer read and I was not disappointed. It is an excellent story of love, hope, family, and perseverance. I was left with a reminder of who we are as a human race and how we should remember to embrace each other. I could not put the book down and found the author had a great ability to keep me engaged. An excellent choice!
Date published: 2018-07-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Haunting A chilling look into a future that is not so far fetched considering Canada's dark history with First Nations people. I can only hope that should the dystopian future portrayed in this novel ever come to pass that we will do better.
Date published: 2018-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Science fiction intimately connected to the past and present This novel is SO GOOD. The author handles the intersection of science fiction, dystopian fiction, and historical / current experiences of Indigenous with finesse, weaving a story that I read in two days. The main character is one of the few that I've read that feels 'normal' without feeling flat. I'm fond of the Canadian setting, and while I wouldn't say that it isn't integral to the novel (the history and connection to the land matters in this book), I do think that the text would be enjoyed by any folks interested in science fiction. The description of the book sounds a little YA-ey, but if that isn't usually your jam, don't let it put you off: Dimaline brings so much to the table that you'll be thinking about it for ages afterwards.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A brilliant Indigenous Sci-Fi! This was a great book club read! Very well written, with some very lovable characters who go through some heart wrenching events. There were also so many poignant lines throughout the book that reflected the sadness that is the loss of one's language/culture. I wished Dimaline had gone further into explaining the workings of the mythology of dreaming, but sadly it was glossed over and never fully fleshed out. Regardless, as a whole, this book was a simply a pleasure to read.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best book I read last year. I thought the premise was a bit heavy handed, but I decided to give the book a chance. I'm so happy that I did. This book is so well written and effecting. It's beautiful and sad and thought provoking. The author uses the premise to explore really important issues and deep human experiences. Lives up to the hype and more.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Prepare yourself This book will take you on a complete rollercoaster of emotion. Set in a dystopian future, this Canadian climate fiction novel is extraordinarily well written. It’s haunting to be told a story set in places you’re intimately familiar with. Raw and full of a few surprising twists, this will leave you wishing for more. In fact, the only reason I’m rating it four stars is because I wish there was more.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not What I Expected I didn't really know what this book was about before reading it; I just knew it was on Canada Reads and won a Governor General's award. I liked the book, but I found that the message was a little too heavy-handed for my taste. Overall I would say that it's worth reading because it highlights important issues that are facing Canada.
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Please, More Indigenous Sci-Fi Recommended by Lee Maracle. If it has never occurred to you that you need some Indigenous North American post-apocalyptic speculative fiction in your life, you will may come to that realization while reading this book. The author gave these characters such strong voices, and this story made my heart ache. This story is also in the vein of a classic woodland travel journey, which may remind you of previous North American classics with a similar geographical setting. I so needed this book, and it made me feel so comfortable, while challenging some of my misconceptions at the same time.
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Interesting dystopian tale that integrates some Indigenous history. Has a Station Eleven feel to it. Has the potential to become an even greater story if it was elaborated on more, but perhaps this was the goal, to leave you with food for thought for the past and for the future.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Marrow Thieves WOW... is all I can say. Beautifully written and the surprise at the end left me shocked!
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read A beautifully written, timely, and though-provoking book with highly relatable characters. Would be an eye-opening and engaging read for young adults.
Date published: 2018-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book I Have Read All Year!! This is a very well done futuristic novel which brings into view the historical impacts of residential schooling, and celebrates Indigenous values as well as collective action. This is a must read for all Canadians.
Date published: 2018-05-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting idea! It was a little hard to get into at first, the style of writing is very geared towards young-adults, but the idea is creative and the characters are interesting so I did eventually get reeled in.
Date published: 2018-05-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Emotional read Beautiful, raw, full of the real world, you will not be able to read this book and NOT cry!
Date published: 2018-05-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A must-read for everyone! This book was emotional, suspenseful, and thought-provoking. A well-deserved contender on the Canada Reads shortlist for 2018. I loved the depth of the main character and felt that each of the other characters were well-defined. I did, however, feel that the ending was too abrupt and would have like some more detail there; but, overall, a great story!
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Book For All Read this book for class and is eye opening. Though it is fictional, it discusses serious issues like the residential schools and global warming. This book is a must read for teenagers, young adults and adults.
Date published: 2018-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read I didn't want to put it down - and I may never look at my dreams the same way again
Date published: 2018-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not Just for Young Adults Dimaline's Marrow Thieves is one of the best things I've read recently. It is entertaining, educative and beautifully written. This IS the "one book to open your eyes"...
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautifully-Written Book Canada Reads sparked my interest in The Marrow Thieves and hearing Jully Black talk about it on the panel made me realize how important a book like this is for both Canadian and Indigenous youth. This book mimics the history and story of the residential schools in a futuristic setting and puts you in the characters' shoes as they flee from the recruiters. Cherie Dimaline did an amazing job with this book.
Date published: 2018-04-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the characters! The characters were so relatable, that I found myself laughing and crying along with them. A must read.
Date published: 2018-04-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting view of a dystopian world through the eye of the Indigenous who cherish mother earth. I liked the story and the way it melded a future world with Indigenous culture. The concept of loosing the ability to dream is deep for then we could loose everything.
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Important This is an INCREDIBLY important book, especially for the YA audience. However, I was left wanting more from the second half and the ending.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyone Should Read This The themes running through this novel are timely and important. This dystopia critiques colonization, the power of money, capitalism and our treatment of the environment. Adult readers should be aware that they are reading a YA novel. This is a fantastic YA novel. It is not meant to be adult fiction. Do not read it as such.
Date published: 2018-04-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good for teens Disclaimer: Every so often I try to read YA fiction and I go into it with as open a mind as possible. I did not love this book. I can see younger audiences enjoying it. The end of the journey was exciting and fast paced but I found the first half pretty slow.
Date published: 2018-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyone should read this book As soon as I saw that The Marrow Thieves was a 2018 Canada Reads selection, I knew I had to read it. And now that I have, I’m convinced it was robbed of first place. This book describes a near future that is scary and downright horrifying with its plausibility. Fresh water has become extremely scarce, sparking wars across North America. Earthquakes and rising seas crumble the coastlines, burying entire states and provinces. And the majority of the population has lost the ability to dream. Big deal, right? But without dreams, people start going crazy. The world truly looks like it’s on the brink of total destruction. But there is hope - First Nations people can still dream. In fact, it’s rooted in their oral traditions. And that’s when things go from bad to absolute hell. Because civilization’s answer is to round up First Nations people, trap them in ‘schools’ and suck the ability to dream right out of their bone marrow. The obliteration of one race to save another. The erasure of a culture through abuse and murder. Sound familiar? The story follows Frenchie, a boy on the brink of adulthood, and his ‘family’ - a ragtag group of people on the run from those tasked to find and capture the dreamers. Each person’s backstory is layered and complex, with entire chapters devoted to each individual ‘coming-to’ story. This character development really made me emotionally invested, with heart wrenching results. The plot moves along with a laid back gait, relying more on emotion than action. But it doesn’t suffer for it - the pacing works for the story Dimaline is trying to tell. It ends without solid resolution, but with a sliver of hope for the future - I kind of loved that. It made me wonder what was next for the characters I had grown to love. And made me wish for more pages to immerse myself in.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Importance of memories and dreams in avoiding mistakes of the past I really enjoyed this novel. The idea of the future repeating the past with a reframing of the atrocities of residential schools in a new, dystopian light. Then the realization that the first arrival of Europeans was a similar dystopian experience in the history of First Nations peoples - gets you in the gut and then you're running for your life right along with the characters. I loved the author's writing style. It was easy to slide right into the main character's head and follow his emotions - fear, apprehension, relief, love, grief, excitement, sorrow, jealousy. I got so caught up in the emotions that I became tearful a couple of times - I usually don't react that strongly when reading. For me, this is one of those books that I actually got lost in and forgot I was reading. I love when that happens and that's why it gets 5 stars from me.
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from this book was emotional I had a rollercoaster of emotions, if you're looking for a book to take you on an emotional rollercoaster this is it!
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Alternately heartbreaking and hopeful I think this book is going to stay with me for a while. The setting and the plot were interesting, but what stood for me was how much I recognized in the characters and their longing and struggle for traditional language and knowledge. Even with the hopeful ending I was left with a profound sense of loss.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good read An interesting story about indigenous people with engaging characters, beautiful prose and empathetic dialogue.
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quick read Would recommend if you're looking for a quick read
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting The Marrow Thieves is a very interesting book, with extremely intelligent concepts and ideals that many would find challenging, enjoyable, or shockingly honest. Unfortunately, while an easy enough read, the author fails to write a subtle in-depth of her characters and chooses to tell their stories in an overly conventional way. While this emerging author has beautiful imagery embedded in her prose, she seems to have trouble with sentence placement, and her writing, while very good, does not live up to her complex ideas. Overall, I quite enjoyed this read, and I would recommend it to many friends and teachers alike. A compelling book.
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Dark but Important Story Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book way more than I expected to – I don’t read YA too often, and am often disappointed by dystopian stories. Cherie Dimaline takes a unique approach to the genre, blending familiar themes with unfamiliar territory. In her futuristic world, First Nations people are being hunted for their bone marrow, the place where dreams reside. The Marrow Thieves challenges readers to think about the history and injustices of Indigenous people in Canada. Frenchie is on the run. Recruiters are searching for Indigenous people with plans to capture them and harvest their bone marrow as a solution for those unable to dream. He soon joins forces with other Indigenous people on the run; elders, youths, and a girl named Rose. The group traverses the woods, searching for food and shelter, dodging the recruiters, and seeking lost loved ones. This book is dark. It’s about the loss of culture, colonialism, residential schools, cultural appropriation, and survival. Frenchie is forced into acts he never though himself possible of, changing how he views himself and the situation he is in. There are some beautiful moments as well – such as Rose’s excitement upon smelling sweetgrass, and unexpected reunions that we weren’t sure would occur. The ending doesn’t feel complete, which leads me to believe there could be a follow up in the works that I would gladly pick up. This would be a fantastic book for Canadian classrooms! Once again, Canada Reads has brought a book to my attention that I would have otherwise looked over.
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strong A book about indigenous culture. Politically charged. Strong characters. Powerful narrative.
Date published: 2018-03-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just ok It was confusing to follow and never went very in depth
Date published: 2018-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cultures in the future Usually we always want to change things in the past but we don't look in the future. THis is an amazing book about the indigenous people, that also has some romance, adventure and many other characteristics that make it one of the best books I've read
Date published: 2018-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great YA This is a wonderfully creative, and politically charged story about strong characters from a variety of demographics. It has a powerful message, and is action packed. A great novel to provide a perspective and political commentary on what could be.
Date published: 2018-03-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An entertaining book that encompasses important issues This book is full of positive representation, which makes it well worth reading and spreading the word about. While the plot isn't perfect (lacking depth in creating an understanding of the post-apocalyptic world and its rules, a bit forced in places) I found that the cultural representation and seamless weaving of important social issues more than made up for any plot issues for me.The characters are well developed, and the relationships between them will make you care deeply for them. I think it's a wonderful book for young Canadians. Well worth a read.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome So totally amazing book. Well written. Would so recommend.
Date published: 2018-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great easy read! I was excited to read this book - and while it took me a little bit to get into it, it did not disappoint. I wish it went a little bit more in depth and spent more time talking about the dreaming, but still a great read at the end of the day!
Date published: 2018-02-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fell Short of My Expectations Seems like I have been here before. Diving into a novel with High expectations based the acclaim it has received and awards it has won. Cherie Dimaline’s “The Marrow Thieves” has four seals on the front cover for awards it has won and is on the current bestseller list. Yet, I felt let down as I read it. It joins the bevy of dystopian novels appearing these days with a premise that is intriguing. In a world crippled by global warming and running out of fresh water, people have lost the ability to dream – except the Indigenous people of North America whose capacity to dream is literally in the marrow of their bones. The powers that are in control have rolled back the clock and reinstituted residential schools for the Indigenous people. “Recruiters” hunt down Indigenous people on the run and transport them to the schools where they are sacrificed to extract their bone marrow. So what is my problem with the novel? The scenario I described sits in the background and is present more by inference that anything else. The entire novel centers on a group of Indigenous people on the run heading north in Ontario, Canada. They have occasional encounters with “recruiters” and others on the run like they are. The story is told from the perspective of teenage Frenchie who, for my tastes, fall shorts as the character that drives the narrative. Yes, we learn the backstories of the main characters. And yes, one character does arise as a mythic hero. But it all seems rather anticlimactic to me. I kept hoping Dimaline would go more deeply into the mythology of dreaming, but it never happened. Let me be clear. I am not saying that “The Marrow Thieves” is not a bad novel. In my humble opinion, it just is not anything special. However, pretty much everyone else seems to love it. So maybe it is just me being out of step with the majority once again. I am getting used to occupying that niche.
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I absolutely loved it. This was so much fun to read. It just makes you ponder over a lot of things.
Date published: 2018-02-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Great way to learn a bit about indigenous people even if it is in a futuristic world.
Date published: 2018-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! unique, touching, astoundingly written. An Indigenous perspective with global appeal
Date published: 2018-02-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not my style... I just couldn't get on the same page with this author's perspective....Not my style...perhaps for others.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wow... Not interesting. Sorry. If you write fiction, make sure it sounds real. This story sounds so fake.
Date published: 2018-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing dystopian view of the genocide of Canada's/NA's indigenous nations people. A must read. Not only is it well written and a wonderful read, it also gives you a perspective of the continued genocide the indigenous nations people experience today, and their resilience to fight it continuously.
Date published: 2018-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfection I am an adult that only liked YA when they are incredibly well written. This book is that and more. It deserves to be on the CBC Canada Reads short list, for sure! Many important themes suitable for adult audiences as well as YA. Powerful.
Date published: 2018-02-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from not for me This book had great potential, but it wasn't executed properly.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dystopia Included on Canada Reads Long List This is an amazing dystopian young adult fiction that takes a new look at the impact of residential schools and race relations on turtle island. Dimaline keeps you in suspense with gripping plot turns and still manages to present a story of hope.
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Emotionally-Charged Scify-Thriller! “The Marrow Thieves” is an intriguing science fiction thriller set in a North that’s been ravaged by disease, earthquakes and flooding after “the Melt”. Dreamless and without hope the people left in North America have succumbed to widespread madness so scientists and the Church have turned to its Indigenous people who can still dream creating a second wave of residential schools where harvesting their marrow for the cure means certain death. Driven to flee the Recruiters who hunt for unwilling donors sixteen-year-old Francis (aka Frenchie) with two Elders and six other kids struggle to survive while looking for loved ones as well as a safe haven far from those that want to steal their lives. Well-developed and emotionally -charged the plot resonates with the history of colonization in Canada and its impact on the Indigenous people as well as a warning about the effect of Global Warming especially in the North. Fast-paced the intensity and suspense build especially when the group is faced with two traitors willing to sell them to the Recruiters, an unexpected death and the sacrifice of an Elder. Amid all the conflict Cherie Dimaline weaves in a romance between Frenchie and the vocal, moody but capable Rose only to have their feelings tested at a refuge when he exhibits jealousy, and must make a decision about his future. Even the love between Miig and Isaac tugs at your heartstrings as Miig remembers the heartbreak that left him carrying around a vial of marrow. Yet amid all the tragedy, betrayal and heartbreak, there is a sense of triumph as a key is discovered that could save them all. The author brings to life characters that are realistic, complex and daring, infusing the plot with tension, passion, and high- energy like Frenchie who’s shattered by the loss of his brother and mother only to discover a family in the party he travels with. Quiet and awkward at times with others he develops throughout the story displaying a fighting spirit, devotion and resourcefulness in protecting those he cares for. Miigwan their leader is cautious, stern but wise while Minerva, the dark, round and grey-haired Elder is stubborn, determined and self-sacrificing. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Marrow Thieves” and won’t hesitate to look for other books by Cherie Dimaline in future
Date published: 2017-11-11