The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina


Published: August 2015 by Walker Books Australia
Format reviewed: Paperback, 446 pages
Series: The Tribe #3
Genres: Speculative fiction, young adult
Source: Library
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015
Available: Abbey’s ~ Amazon ~ Booktopia ~ Kobo

Disclaimer: This review may contain spoilers for previous books.

A storm was stretching out across futures to swallow everything in nothing, and it was growing larger, which meant it was getting nearer… Georgie Spider has foretold the end of the world, and the only one who can stop it is Ashala Wolf. But Georgie has also foreseen Ashala’s death. As the world shifts around the Tribe, Ashala fights to protect those she loves from old enemies and new threats. And Georgie fights to save Ashala. Georgie Spider can see the future. But can she change it?

The Foretelling of Georgie Spider is the final book in Ambelin Kwaymullina’s series The Tribe. It picks up a short time after The Disappearance of Ember Crow. Ember and the Tribe are safe for now but her brother is still waiting to destroy them. He is aided by the sadistic former government official Neville Rose, who has a vendetta against Ashala Wolf, leader of the Tribe. The future is looking uncertain to seer Georgie Spider as she struggles envisiona way through the wide-spread disaster that is looming.

The book sticks to the narrative patterns set out in the rest of the series, creating a strong continuity. Returning readers will know what to expect.The book dives headlong into the action by starting at the ending and then delving into the characters’ memories to show how they arrived at that point. Although I enjoyed this approach in the previous books, there was a somewhat disingenuous note to it this time around that created some false expectations.

Like the previous book, The Foretelling of Georgie Spider is told in first person from two points of view–Georgie’s and Ashala’s. Ashala’s voice has been present from the very beginning of the series and provides an excellent anchor. However, it does tend to overwhelm Georgie’s voice; despite the title, this is really Ashala’s story more than Georgie’s. While this was a little disappointing, it was also handled well. Early on, Ashala herself recognises that something has been going on behind the scenes while she has been at the centre of all the action. The interweaving of viewpoints means we get to see how Georgie has been preparing the way for Ashala. I liked this because it shows that not all heroes have to be flashy and action-oriented.

Having said that, the action scenes were nicely handled and I especially enjoyed seeing some creative uses of the Illegals’ Abilities.

Therewas a lot going on in this book.Being the final book, it had to wrap up threads from the rest of the series even as it introduced new characters. While it would have been nice to get to know the new characters a little better, there was only so much space and overall I think the balance was as it should be. Honourable mention goes to Mr Puggles, the dog, as my favourite new character.

The series tackles diversity and humanitarian issues with maturity, unafraid to ask difficult questions. It holds particular relevance for Australia, given the Government’s current stance on human rights, and highlights some very unflattering aspects of Australian culture. However, it still manages to do so with sensitivity and hope. The Foretelling of Georgie Spider was a satisfying conclusion to a series I would highly recommend to both young adult and adult readers.



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