Jan 072022
Locus: I’ve seen Darcie Little Badger’s A Snake Falls to Earth described as young-adult fantasy and young-adult science fiction, but it’s really young-adult Indigenous futurism.

In a novel full of remarkable things, one of the most remarkable is the narrative itself….The way Little Badger jumped between Oli and Nina, between first and third person, between mainstream and traditional narratives, is really quite something. It should feel jarring and disjointed, but it doesn’t. It flows seamlessly while also letting the structure act almost like a third main character.

Even the endings – Oli’s, Nina’s, and the book as a whole – show the depth of Little Badger’s vast talent. Throughout A Snake Falls to Earth, Nina and Oli encounter inexplicable things or mysterious animal people, but they never let their curiosity intrude on another person’s life. They recognize that they don’t need to have the answers to all their questions in order to be able to empathize, make wise decisions, or behave in a socially responsible manner. They can be respectful without analyzing or critiquing. Sometimes we can just let things be as they are without demanding “why” and “how.” These are not plot holes or loose threads but a clever, powerful way to bring Little Badger”s cultural storytelling traditions into a Western medium.

If Elatsoe was a ten out of ten, then A Snake Falls to Earth is a solid 11. This book could have been twice as long and I still would have begged for more. Although aimed at a young-adult audience, it has the kind of easy appeal and heartfelt tone that will entice younger kids and older adults as well. Anyone reading or buying YA needs to add this to their shelves immediately.