4 our of 5 stars
Charli is a young woman who is witness to an act forbidden by outsiders to see. While taking a walk in the woods one day she sees four Earth Spirits transform from their animal form to human. When she is spotted, Charli finds herself taken captive. The Earth Spirits plan to keep her with them until they reach a type of witch doctor who is capable of erasing her memory.
But there’s a lot more going on than just what Charli is going through. Jumlin, an evil spirit is once again loose in the human realm and the Earth Spirits are awakened from their long sleep to stop him. But Jumlin has his eye on Charli and is planning to take her from his lifelong enemies. With her in his grasp, Jumlin knows he has a chance to win against the Earth Spirits.
Charli is a young adult and fighting the confusion most teenagers face as they struggle to become adults. Right before her family’s move, her boyfriend breaks off their relationship, but what hurts her most is learning he’s been cheating on her since before the breakup. The somewhat slow start to this novel was the most difficult for me to get through, but it did, in my opinion, nail the fluctuating feelings of a confused teenage girl. I’m a ‘get-to-the-bottom-of-the-problem-and-fix-it’ type of person, so sometimes I became irritated with Charli’s inability to make a decision and then stick with it. Others may very well find they empathize with her struggles.
I love the Native American quality that’s brought into the picture, the names and legends. I also found Charli’s connection, through the peace pipe her family plans to return, to the Lakota Natives intriguing. I’m left wanting to know more about these people, where the legends got their start, and maybe more important, what influence they will have on Charli’s future now. The building romance between Charli and one of the Earth Spirits, Matho Chante, is extremely entertaining. One can’t help but smile when they see how hard he fights against his growing attraction to Charli, and hers to him. When her old boyfriend enters the picture again, we can’t help but hope she’ll do the right thing and choose Matho. Or at least it’s what I hope.
As Charli begins to mature I found her a fun and interesting main character to follow along with. I found the Earth Spirits fascinating and can’t wait to learn more about them. If you like young adult novels, especially ones with shape shifters and a bit of the mystical quality, you’ll be sure to enjoy Dakota Captive by Alythia Brown. I know I did.