Review #104 // The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (The Tribe #1) – Ambelin Kwaymullina

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (The Tribe #1)

Ashala Wolf, leader of a group of Illegals known as the Tribe, has been captured. She must undergo the Machine, a type of torture device used by Neville Rose, who is intent on capturing all Illegals. The Machine can read memories from the unwilling, just like Ashala.

Why this book?: I’ve been hearing a lot of really good things about it, and saw that my library had an e-book that I could borrow.

I was taken by complete surprise when I started The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. To be honest, I was expecting just another YA dystopia with the not-like-other-girls main lead, and with how long this one is, I was expecting to DNF when the book was forcibly returned to the library database.

I was also completely wrong.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is like a dystopian X-Men with a bunch of teens. The world building was much more in-depth than that though, referencing things like the Balance, the Reckoning, and the Accords. While the narrative mentioned events like these, it never bothered to go into them, letting you decide on what happened, while focusing on the story. I personally really enjoy this, because why would I care about what happened centuries ago? The focus on the plot really helped me stay interested, and soon enough I found that I had read a good 50% in a day.

I loved all of the characters, although some of them took awhile to appreciate. Ashala was not one of those stereotypical dystopian protagonists, and I loved how Kwaymullina let her have a ‘special’ ability, but not the most outragous one she could think of. Other characters had really amazing abilities, but a lot of them were unique, while some were rare, etc. There were Firestarters, and people who could fly, and read memories, and predict the future. The universe was so unique, supposedly an agglomeration of the world into one continent.  It was mostly based off of Australia, though, and you could really see it in the story!

The diversity was also amazing. Although there were no queer characters, the amount of indigenous and people of color in the story was truly wonderful. Ashala is native, while Georgie has dark skin. So many other characters were described with dark skin, and, because of the world building, there was literally no racism. I loved how Kwaymullina tackled the ‘no-racism’ part of the story too, because there literally was no racism, not even microaggresions as far as I could tell. Kwaymulina wrote with extreme sensitivity, as well as strength, giving the story a ferocious character that you’ll fall in love with.

My biggest problem with The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf was the timeline. Since I don’t want to give away too much, I’ll just say that the beginning is very confusing, and very misleading. It was very hard to get past the slowness of the beginning, and what was worse is that you’re basically dropped in the middle of a scene with little to no explanation, and have to wait for a while to get somewhat of an understanding. If you split the book in half, though, the first half is what you need to get past. The second half explains everything, and makes the wait so much better. While the story was at first slow and very confusing, I ultimately really enjoyed how this one went.

Final Rating: ★★★★☆


The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf was a complete and utter surprise to me, and it should not be missed. While it was really slow in the beginning as well as extremely confusing, when the pieces are finally put together, it is an amazing read.

Would I Recommend?

I enjoyed it so much, and cannot recommend it enough. A YA diversity with a decent protagonist, originality, AND diversity? I need the next book. Please. I ordered it on my library’s e-book database, but there’s no guarantee that they will get it.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (The Tribe #1)

Additional Information:

Published: July 1st, 2012

Publisher: Candlewick Publishing

Page Count: 383

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction/Dystopia

Synopsis: via Goodreads

Ashala Wolf has been captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose. A man who is intent on destroying Ashala’s Tribe — the runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood. Injured and vulnerable and with her Sleepwalker ability blocked, Ashala is forced to succumb to the machine that will pull secrets from her mind.

And right beside her is Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move.

Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

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