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Bear Daughter

by Judith Berman

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13114157,506 (4.02)14
When a twelve-year-old wakes up as a human girl-instead of a bear-one cloudy morning, she embarks on a thrilling journey through both mortal and immortal worlds...to mend her past, face her fears, and save all of the realms in which she treads.

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Bear Daughter is an inspiring Fantasy novel, which follows a young bear cub turned girl named Cloud. Now a human child, Cloud must learn human manners and avoid the wrath of her mother's husband, Rumble. I did love the various character names and how they all tied in with the theme of nature.

Aged thirteen and threatened with imminent death, Cloud is chased from the home she came to know, to seek a better life for herself elsewhere. As she travels, she finds herself plagued by dark dreams that will lead her to fulfill her long awaited destiny.

I loved the comparison between mortal and immortal people in this world. The juxtaposition of flawless creatures of surreal beauty with dark intentions had me hooked and unable to put the book down. Strong themes included those of identity, loss of self and others, in addition to mortality.

The plot was fast moving, with great structure to the author's writing. Cloud's emotional state was well explored and helped me to better identify with her character. This magical world was one that I instantly felt a pull toward. So many mysteries await the read in its pages.

The one small issue I had with the book was the ending of part four, where we are introduced to a character at random after a major time leap. This was initially confusing, but by the end of the section, all of my confusion was put to rest. I just wish the sudden change in scenario had been made clear from the start of that particular segment.

Many elements of Bear Daughter are drawn from rich indigenous oral literature of the North American Northwest Coast. The events of the novel stem from a group of traditions from the aforementioned area, that are collectively known as the Bear Mother Story. Author Judith Berman found themselves greatly affected by learning of such traditions and responded by writing this masterpiece.

I loved this book and would happily recommend it to everyone I know. I shall be buying my partner their own copy. 5/5 stars. ( )
  Daxmunro | Dec 31, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
At the beginning it was interesting, but after page after page nothing seemed to happen (except being privy to the protagonist's soul-searching) I began to tire.

It could have been a good adventure book with some more action, or a good introspective book without it, but it fails on both accounts.

Nice place and primitive behaviour descriptions reflecting an excellent groundwork but lacking soul (IMHO), thus the rating. ( )
  zjordi | Aug 9, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is an epic. It is visionary. Many times throughout reading it I am reminded of Neil Gaiman's writing style. And at the end Berman explains the path she takes to find her story. It leaves you thinking. ( )
  whybehave2002 | May 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Cloud goes to sleep a bear and awakes to discover she has transformed into a human girl. A sweet children's fairytale you might think, well you could not be more wrong. She has to flee from the town ruled by her human mothers husband fearing for her life. So begins a journey through spirit worlds full of mythical creatures animal and human, as she bravely battles to survive.
Be warned there is also graphic violence.
I will be honest I cannot say I understood all the nuances of the story, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed it. This book is very well written descriptive, engaging imaginative, intriguing and very entertaining, and I very much recommend it. ( )
  Gudasnu | May 1, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Bear Daughter is a Native American (West Coast) mythology story about Cloud. She one day wakes up as a twelve year old girl after being a bear for the first part of her life (though she remembers very little of this). She is kicked out of her step father's house and not allowed to see her mother. Her father was part of the first people, though killed by her step father. To discover who she is and her task in life, Cloud goes through many trials.

I really enjoyed this book. It is written as a traditional Native American myth and it captured me from the start. Good storyline with unexpected twists and turns, and I could identify with Cloud. ( )
  Shoosty | Feb 25, 2017 |
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To the orcas who found my sister and me in our rowboat that day in Shellaligan Pass: thank you, swimmers, that we met.
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When Cloud was twelve years old, she woke up one morning to discover she had become a girl.
“It’s never too late to step off a path and look for a different route.”
As far as what are you to me—” The dangerous edge slipped into his voice. “Yes, I hunt what I want. I want you. I want you to desire me the way I desire you. I want your happiness so I can be happy with you. What do you want me to give you? I want you to have it!”
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When a twelve-year-old wakes up as a human girl-instead of a bear-one cloudy morning, she embarks on a thrilling journey through both mortal and immortal worlds...to mend her past, face her fears, and save all of the realms in which she treads.

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