Title: Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves, Book Two: Canyon of Doom
Author: Jodi Lea Stewart
Genre: YA / Adventure-Mystery
When Silki and her best friend Birdie find a metal disk in Canyon Daacha, they know it’s special, but they have no idea it will wreak havoc on the reservation. In Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves, Book Two: Canyon of Doom, Silki can’t shake the mystery and danger in the air, and it all starts when someone steals her and Birdie’s medallion, and she’s determined to find out who.
The second installment of the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves trilogy brings us back to the Navajo reservation where Silki lives. We explore her relationships with her family as she grows to understand more about herself, them, and their history.
The diverse characters are truly the stars of the novel, and the deep-dive into their relationships are powerful. Silki’s distant relationship with her mother, the strained one with her cousin, and the newly confusing one with her father are complex, emotional, but still inclusive enough to fit any young readers’ experience struggling to connect with loved ones.
Silki is overwhelmed when she is caught in the crossfire of a series of tumultuous events following the medallion’s disappearance. Silki’s family struggles to understand how traumatizing the events have been for her, and, unfortunately, readers may feel the same.
Though the events are dramatic and clearly important to Silki, they, along with mainly taking place at the start of the novel, are the fastest and shortest scenes in the book, not leaving much room to make a long-lasting impression on readers. These events would have been more impactful if they were lengthier, and more immersive, with various sensory descriptions.
In the same vein, the plot feels a bit slow-paced at times since the author focuses on fleshing out the characters and their relationships, and though they are a highlight of the novel, it did, at times, distract from the major action-packed events at the beginning of the novel.
One of the novel’s highlights are the inclusion of aspects of Native American culture, such as the Navajo language, food, dance, and, of course, Silki’s scarves. Paired with fantastical descriptions of the serene landscape, from the gritty dirt to its vast canyons, the novel’s atmosphere is filled with texture and color that are vivid and vibrant.
Silki’s in awe when she’s told some mythologies that have been passed down through her family’s history on the land. The myths are revelatory and romantic and make Silki even more intrigued of the unknown in the place and people she thought she knew so well.
Though the myths themselves are well-written, they are introduced a bit unnaturally by the characters and they could have made more of an impact on readers had they been told in a different way or method.
The novel’s ending combines action with emotion and reveals characters’ true colors and true faces and rounds out the novel on a high note. Readers will feel satisfied with the ending but will also be emotionally committed and connected to the characters to come back for more.
Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves, Book Two: Canyon of Doom is the perfect adventure story for young readers. Stewart perfectly captures the Young Adult voice with the always empathetic, intelligent, and intuitive narrator, Silki. Readers will effortlessly follow along on this entertaining, thrilling ride that is filled with legends, family secrets, and mysterious men with unknown intentions.
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