Trapped in a world where the legends of Tewa mythology walk free, a young girl must solve an ancient mystery in order to return to her own world.
It is the beginning of summer, and twelve-year-old Maggie is angry about her family’s move from San Diego to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Lonely and resentful at her new circumstances, Maggie and her dog Jack explore their new neighborhood and soon find the shady trail leading up to the Rio Grande.
While playing by the river, Jack startles a strange young boy, Ash. Maggie is slowly drawn away from the real world of her family and into Ash’s land, one populated by myths and legends. Threatening all is Shriveled Corn Man, a powerful sorcerer in search of vengeance for wrongs long past.
Guided by the trickster Coyote and the cryptic Spider Old Woman, Maggie and Jack must travel across Ash’s world in order to free her new friend and his people.
What a pleasure Coyote’s Daughter was to read. Here is an example of why self-published authors should not be stigmatised and instead given a go. Straight away I was appreciating several elements of the story; being able to see how well written grammar and sentence structure wise it was within the first few pages, being introduced to the main character Maggie and being able to glean an idea of her personality while the story was carried forward as opposed to pausing the narrative to introduce the character, having surroundings described without being inundated with detail. All of this was enough to sell the story to me and get me hooked within the first five pages.
It does help that I’m a sucker for folklore and mythology, especially with Spanish folklore, combined with modern world perspective. I love how the fantasy setting isn’t what’s now a cliché, such as Pict and Celtic backgrounds, and what I appreciated even more was the story took place mostly at her house, on this trail, around and in Ash’s village, but didn’t feel as though the story was restricted because of it.
Maggie is a likeable character and yes she is unhappy about her family moving, but I picked up more loneliness compared to resentment. In fact, the impression I have of Maggie is of someone who is very thoughtful, worrying about how her parents were feeling, and able to move on from negative feelings brought about by the move. It probably helps the other characters she meets are just as likeable and readable.
The characters bring forth the idea of listening, considering, and using your wits to best the opponent or obstacle you’re facing, something of which I think is a good message for all young adults (and lets face it, adults too). This message is delivered via strong, established, believable characters with realistic behaviour, vivid descriptions, a strong plot, and all in all a story which can be enjoyed by a wide audience.
The only problem I had with Coyote’s Daughter was the shortness of it. The story was just the right length, but I wish it had of been longer. I would love to read more stories involving Weaver’s characters and related to Ash’s world.