Lozen is a young, female warrior trying to keep her family alive in a post-apocalyptic world in which electricity no longer works, and monsters and myths once again roam the earth. She has the strength of grown men, amazingly fast reflexes, combat training, skills with various weaponry, and burgeoning mental telepathy. But Lozen’s most powerful tool is her compassion for all living things, passed down from her ancestors, the Apache and Chiricahua tribes of Southwest America.
In Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac, the world consists of corporate-controlled nations where the elite have cyborg implants and genetic modifications to maintain their rule of a greedy planet. Then the Silver Cloud settles into the atmosphere, knocking out all electricity, bringing technology to archaic levels. Out of the chaos, small tightly controlled groups of people huddle in strongholds like abandoned prisons, unfortunately still ruled by some of those genetically modified elite. Lozen’s skills as a tracker and killer of the many monsters makes her valuable.
Lozen’s family and a couple dozen people were surviving on their own in the new wild world until they were discovered, then murdered or captured by a stronghold leader. Lozen’s family is held hostage and she is named Killer of Enemies for this stronghold. Her task to destroy all the local monsters. She is not alone, though. There are secret friends within the stronghold, and a mysterious voice in her mind that may or may not be someone she can trust.
I breezed through this YA fiction in a day, going along for the ride with Lozen as she tackles larger and more dangerous monsters: Genetically enhanced mutant animals that were freed from their “zoos” once the electricity vanished. She is not just physically capable, but intelligent and resourceful as well. What sets her apart from just a bland killing machine are strong ties to her native ancestors who also hunted in the desert. Stories passed down through the generations help our heroine remember history, using it for her cunning plans. The book is filled with characters and stories from different native tribes, and I enjoyed reading about a culture I am not familiar with coupled with a strong young woman in a crazy modern world.
(On an amusing note, I participate in a role-playing game with friends, pretending to be a large, Scottish warrior named Guy. In Killer of Enemies, there is a large, Scottish warrior named Guy. No kidding. I immediately warmed up to the story once he showed up.)
I recommend Killer of Enemies for ages 13 and up. From page one there are intense, bloody battles with creatures, and the spiritual side of the book may be lost on younger readers. It’s an exciting read with a message of family and survival.
GeekMom received a complimentary copy for reviewing purposes.