I’m giving Shadows Cast By Stars, by Catherine Knutsson, 4.5/5 stars.
Honestly, the book kissed perfection, with it’s beautifully embraced native mythology, shot through with dystopian fantasy, and critical feminism. The story takes place in a future version of North America, where a plague a has struck, and the only people in the world who are immune are those known as the “Others”, or as we know them, Natives. Because of their immunity, these people are hunted down by the government in a world destroyed by disease and disaster. If only we could defend that as something the Canadian government would never do, but truly, it seems more likely than not, given our history with residential schools. The story follows the life of Cassandra, a Métis girl who lives with her twin brother and father who quickly have to move from the populated mainland to the Island. The Island, protected by the Boundary, is one of the last safe places left for Others, but even there Cass’ family isn’t welcome, and are ostracised for being different. Because she was raised in a different world, she is outspoken, strong-willed, and defiant in a society where women have been taught to be protect by male soldiers, and submissive to their will. Facing threats from the government, her community, and the spirit world, Cassandra struggles to find the life she has always wanted for herself and her family.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves mythology, action, and profound insight into issues that are very much relevant today. Catherine Knutsson’s debut novel is a masterpiece, simply put.