The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina is a dystopian young adult book set 300 years after the world ended in an environmental cataclysm. In this world, people with “abilities” (some sort of magical skill that they are born with) are considered a threat to “the balance” (an idea that is said to preserve harmony between people and the environment). Because of that, they don’t give citizenship to people with abilities. Instead, they can get exemptions (if their ability is useful to the government). But, some people with abilities don’t even apply for exemptions. Instead, they live freely, hiding from the government. Ashala is the leader of a group of Illegals (people without citizenship) that live in a forest called the Firstwood. This group calls themselves The Tribe. But, Ashala gets captured by the government and brought to Detention Center 3, where she is interrogated and tortured by a mysterious machine. She is discovering secrets about herself and the world around her and is creating a plot to overthrow Neville Rose, head of Detention Center 3.
Although this book is dystopian, it does not have the traditional plot of a dystopian book. I enjoy most dystopian books, but they are usually fairly predictable. This book was not. It was full of plot twists and unexpected elements, so much so that it became a little confusing at times. I could that I sometimes had to backtrack and reread a section so that I could fully understand it.
Overall, I would recommend this book, since it is interesting and unique, with the warning that it can be a little confusing at times. I would probably give it 3.5 stars. I am planning on reading the sequels, The disappearance of Ember Crow and The Foretelling of Georgie Spider (reviews to come).