After an extremely-vivid dream involving a seemingly-evil murder of crows, Mackenzie wakes with a start to find that she has the severed head of a crow in her hand.
Trying to shake off the fear from the dream, Mackenzie is shocked at what she is seeing. After a few breathless moments, the head is gone. Was it really there, and if so, what does it mean?
Rattled from the dream, Mackenzie is even more shaken the next day when she discovers crows seem to be watching and following her through the city streets. As if the dream itself weren’t disturbing enough.
She confides in her one close friend in the city, hoping they will be able to help her make some sense of what is happening to her. Unfortunately, the nightmares persist. Mackenzie is losing sleep and her health takes a blow. She needs to do something.
She needs to figure this out. She can’t go on like this. She decides she needs to go home. Her gut tells her that the answers are there, but the idea of returning to her rural prairie town fills Mackenzie with apprehension. Having fled home after the death of her beloved kokum, Mackenzie now feels estranged from her close-knit family.
It doesn’t help that when her sister, Sabrina, passed away suddenly, Mackenzie, unable to face it, didn’t even go home for the funeral. She carries a lot of guilt because of that.
Once home, she’s enveloped quickly back into the fray. It’s like a warm, though tentative hug. The reunion goes better than she expected.
Mackenzie finds herself slowly gaining strength from her family, it’s a physical reminder of who she is and where she came from. She has such loving, supportive and wise women in her life. Her Mom and Aunties, even her cousins, surround her with energy.
Her dreams do continue and seem to be escalating, however, she now has someone to share them with. She’s confiding in her family and together it feels like they may be able to actually figure it out.
Mackenzie spends a lot of time with her cousin, Kassidy, and sister, Tracey, trying to decipher the meaning behind the nightmares. It’s clear they’re connected to a night they shared at the lake, where the girls, along with the now deceased, Sabrina, took an ill-fated walk home from a party.
But how can that long-ago night possibly be connected?
‘This is serious. These dreams, the crows. It’s all telling you something. You need to listen.’
Y’all, I fell completely in love with Jessica Johns’ debut novel, Bad Cree. It’s an exceptionally well-constructed, slow burn Supernatural Horror novel, full of inspired imagery and thought-provoking themes.
There’s no way I will be able to adequately explain my love for this, but I’ll give it my best shot.
From the very first pages I was pulled into this story. Johns goes dark and quickly. Mackenzie’s dreams are at the forefront at the start of this novel and I was digging the tone.
I really enjoyed Johns’ style of storytelling. The writing is blunt, to the point and perfectly descriptive without beating it to death. I appreciated how incredible the imagery was without being so flowery that the plot got buried.
I also really enjoyed the mystery at the heart of the story. Trying to find out how the current situation was related to the past was so enthralling.
Additionally, I loved watching Mackenzie’s journey as she reunited with her family and began opening up to them. She really needed to get to a place where she was okay asking for help and that touched me.
I felt everything she was going through. I felt those feelings, hesitations, grief, guilt, etc. It was all so well done. It was super believable and relatable.
Another thing I really appreciated about this story is that there is no romance. This is a story of family and culture, of history and growth, and it didn’t need a pointless romance shoved in to gain popularity points.
It’s also a very female-focused story, which was so refreshing. All the main characters in this story are either female, or nonbinary. To have an entire novel focused on familial relationships, and nothing else, is pretty rare and I loved how it was done here.
I highlighted so many passages in this book. I absolutely adored this from start-to-finish. The family in this story is total life goals. The Indigenous experience and lore weaved throughout made it captivating and eye-opening.
I could seriously go on for many more paragraphs, but at this point, I think you probably get it: I LOVED THIS STORY. 10-out-of-10 recommend!!
Thank you so very much to the publisher, Doubleday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review.
I am definitely buying a hard copy of this one for my shelves!! Bad Cree is releasing on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. This should be on every Horror Lovers TBR!!