Thursday, March 21, 2024

Vanessa Lillie: Blood Sisters

Vanessa Lillie takes readers to rural Oklahoma where missing women are just a fact of life:

Syd Walker spends her days trying to protect what is left is left of the indigenous past and lands. She is an archeologist with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and it is her job to help those that are found return home. When Syd receives a call that that brings her back home to discovers not only is she there for her job with the BIA but that her sister Emma Lou has vanished. Syd is afraid that Emma Lou will become another body buried in the vast desert only to be discovered in time and Syd is going to do everything in her power to get find her and get her back. But there are lots of people that are not happy with Syd returning, some due to the fact that she works for the BIA and some don’t want her looking too hard into Emma Lou's disappearance. All that Syd know is that the truth needs to be unearthed one way or another.

I was really excited to read this book as I liked the idea of an archeologist working on uncovering bodies of the missing First Nation women, but for me this aspect of the premise was never really met except for the beginning of the book when we are first introduced to Syd as she is on a dig site. The book does start out strong with the prologue and why Syd needs to go back home, but then the pace gets sluggish and does not pick up till a lot later in the book. Due to the fact that the story really slows down, I found that I did not really want to pick up this book to read. I mean I finished it but there were times that I really struggled.

At the beginning I liked Syd as a character, not only do i find the aspect of archelogy fascinating I appreciated that Syd chose to work with BIA in order to help families receive the closure. There are several times throughout the book where I thought to myself that Syd needs to stick to archeology and not detective work. Syd would often go into situations unprepared and without thinking or even telling someone where she will be or have back up. I feel like this info would be in the rules 101 of the BIA. I think that Lillie could have had an additional character in this book to fill the detective role and have Syd and this individual work together.

I really liked Ghost Luna as a secondary Character, she never leaves Syd's side and servers as an ever reminder of how she failed Luna. Luna also seems to be more of a deceive at times, pointing Syd in the right direction.

There is no denying that First Nation women go missing and are murdered at a much higher rate than any other race certainly within Canada and i think it is the same in the United States. Often these women are never found, and never returned home in any capacity and while this story highlights this throughout the book this is mainly seen when Syd in speaking with people in her home community, the plot aspect of the book does not play out till the end. There was no link suggested to Sister's disappearance with other missing people even by halfway through the book. Sure, it is thought about but there is no real evidence to support this theory. Syd does not continue to engage in what she knows best and that archelogy work, instead she decides to be a detective instead.

I enjoyed the idea of this story, but I do not think that the profession that lily chose for Syd matched what she wanted to achieve in this book. I appreciate that Lily brought the missing and murdered First Nation women to the forefront of this book and is not a topic that I have seen often in fiction writing, but I just was not able to get into the story. 


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