SONGS OF POWER by Hilari Bell


Age Range: 10 - 12
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A futuristic society that requires fish to feed its populace begins an underwater habitat designed to increase sunlight on the seafloor in order to produce plankton. Unknown saboteurs suddenly threaten the existence of the habitat and all humankind by destroying one-third of the habitat’s sunlight. Young Imina uses her grandmother’s shaman magic to narrow in on the culprit; her friend Ivan uses logic and technology, i.e., computers. The villains are not the obvious choice—the Unificationists, who created a crop virus that made the underwater habitat necessary—but rather, angry whales. They are trying to disharmonize the habitat’s motors to drive human beings away and prevent additional whales from being hunted. A truce must be swiftly attained or humans will starve. Imina’s ability to use mental telepathy and “speak” with the whales saves the habitat and reminds the reader of the importance of preserving the sea and its creatures. This unlikely combination of science fiction, Inuit lore, and ecology also brings a much-needed wake-up call about being a thoughtful steward of the earth’s resources. It would be hard to miss the final message: human technology alone will not bring about desired results if environmental harmony isn’t also considered in the equation. Imina’s determination to become a skilled shaman and claim her Inuit name will strike a nerve with all young women coming into their own. All in all, a delightful first novel. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7868-0561-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2000


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