Book Review: Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Good morning! I hope you have all been doing well. It’s been a rollercoaster of a weekend for us! We had our second vaccine, which completely floored us. And we went to Universal Studios, which was completely terrifying (at supposed much lower capacity, it was incredibly busy, and we felt a bit lied to… but it’s our own fault also!). Anyway, I’m sunburnt and exhausted! I missed all of you dearly, so I hope you enjoy my review of Elatsoe!

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Title: Elatsoe
Author: Darcie Little Badger
Publisher: Levine Querido
Publication date: August 25, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal, Magical Realism

An inspiring story of family legacy and the magic and monsters of legends

At a glance: In a world very similar to our own, Elatsoe can raise animals from the dead, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. When her cousin dies, Elatsoe dreams of his spirit and decides to investigate his death on her own.

  • 💜 Nomance
  • ✒️ Debut Author
  • 🔮 Magical Realism
  • 🏆 Multiple SFF Awards Finalist

Read this if… you love cool monsters and special powers. If you are looking to learn about the Lipan Apache, or if you love supernatural fantasy and magical realism. Especially if you have ever had a dog in your life.

Diversity Representation: Lipan Apache author & cast, Ace main character

Content Warnings: death, murder, grief, racism, car accident, previous animal death, colonization, medical testing/sacrificing

Book Review

Charming, delightful, sweet, magical, beautiful, light, and powerful

I absolutely loved Elatsoe. I was really fortunate to be able to read (almost all of) this before submitting my vote for the IGNYTE Awards. This story completely charmed me right from the beginning. It is light and powerful all at the same time, truly something to be proud of. I knew this book would be good, but I didn’t realize quite how much I’d fall in love with it.

Quick Summary: Elatsoe, or Ellie, lives in a world very similar to our own, but much more heavily ruled and shaped by magic. Passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family, Elatsoe has the power to raise the spirits of dead animals, and is always accompanied by her loyal ghost dog, Kirby. Just after she hears her cousin has died in a car accident, he comes to her in her dreams and tells her that there is more to his death than it appears. Ellie and her father immediately set off on a quest to see if they can uncover some of the secrets.

The absolute best part about this book was the Lipan Apache representation. Of course this is something that is near to Darcie’s heart, but the way it portrayed was nothing short of beautiful. I got chills multiple times when she was describing the power and the beauty of her people and her ancestors. I loved how the world was so influenced by this. It was woven in so beautifully in every detail. From the fear of speaking her cousins name after his death to casting out enemies from their homeland, every small piece gave me chills. I learned so much and I am so grateful to have learned it while having so much fun like this!

Another piece that was beautiful in this story was the family focus. I absolutely loved how strong the family bond was in this story. When Ellie tells her family about her cousin coming to her in her dreams, they believe her immediately. No questioning whether she was just having a bad time, they just trust her. The trust her family puts in her is something I feel like I am not able to see in books that often and I absolutely loved it. The jokes, the banter, the trust, and the love was all so pure and so easy to see it warmed my heart.

Of course, one of the best parts was Ellie’s beloved companion Kirby. Kirby is a ghost dog that Elatsoe raised from the dead. I’m a huge sucker for all books with a cute companion and Elatsoe doesn’t fall short on that front. I absolutely adored Ellie’s relationship to Kirby, it was so sweet, and so pure. We all wish we could raise the ghost of our past beloved pets, and so it was so delightful to be able to see that happen in a book. Kirby felt like a shout out to all the people who have ever loved a dog and lost a dog.

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Summing it all up

Elatsoe is such a delightful story that weaves in Lipan Apache tribe so well I was so impressed the entire time. It was sweet and light but it was immensely powerful all at the same time. I am so glad that I read this book, it is absolutely stunning.

About Darcie Little Badger

Darcie Little Badger is a Lipan Apache writer with a PhD in oceanography. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Elatsoe, was featured in Time Magazine as one of the best 100 fantasy novels of all time and is a Nebula, Ignyte, Locus and Lodestar finalist. Her second fantasy novel, A Snake Falls to Earth, is coming in October 2021. Darcie’s short fiction, nonfiction and comics have appeared in multiple places, including Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1, Nightmare Magazine, Strange Horizons, and The Dark. She is currently engaged to a veterinarian named T.


Let’s Chat!

✨ Are you really excited to meet Kirby?
✨ Have you read any other nominees for the Nebulas, IGNYTE, Locus or Lodestar?
✨ Do you think you will pick up Elatsoe? You should!

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Looking for more diverse reads?

Check out the rest of my blog! I’m dedicated to sharing books with you that include diversity, so feel comfortable that any books on Bookish Brews will include some diversity.

If you liked this review or thought you might like this book, check out some of my other reviews for books with similar beautiful, slightly supernatural, mythology & folklore moods:


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Elatsoe looks incredible, and it’s nominated for SO MANY awards! I have to read it!

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*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher for free and am leaving this review voluntarily*
*This post has affiliate links, if you purchase a product through these links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you*