This book is an actual a soft and wholesome delight. 🥺
Last year I fell in love with Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger so I needed her next book SO BADLY. A Snake Falls To Earth is a gorgeous follow-up. It has a different feel than Elatsoe (the biggest factor being it feels much younger), but it cemented my love for the author’s voice and storytelling style. Sometimes you just want to read about soft kids who want to help people and take care of each other and 😭 cherish tight-knit friendships above all else.
A Snake Falls To Earth has two narrators in two different worlds. (1) is Nina, a Lipan Apache girl who is a storyteller at heart and loves connecting to her roots and believing in old myths and legends. She lives in our world and her family runs a bookstore and her grandmother’s land miiiiight be a crossing between two worlds. (2) is Oli is a cotton mouth snake in an alternate dimension, one of the animal people who can shift shapes at will. He’s newly left home and loves reading and has made some unusual friends as he camps in the forest, but when one of his friends gets very sick, he realises the answers lie in earth. Cue — universes COLLIDING. But gently. Because no loud noises here.
I loved both Nina and Oli’s stories but I was kind of more invested in Oli. He has a ton of “everyday adventures”, from catching voices in jars to meeting his coyote soon-to-be-besties to having a run in with a nonbinary eagle to getting his tail stepped on. It reminded me a lot of my childhood faves of Farthing Wood and Beatrix Potter. Just gentle, cottagecore vibes. He also gets more page time (I think?). While Nina’s part was still lovely, as she tries to translate a story from her late great-(great?!?!) indigenous grandma who spoke in a Lipan dialogue Nina didn’t know. Plus Nina’s half deals a bit more with climate change critiques and hurricanes.
It did feel very young, basically middle-grade voice and vibes. Mostly this is because none of the characters had flaws? Everyone was just really kind and curious, and the book kept reassuring the reader that nothing bad would happen, so even when we DID get some high stakes, it all smoothed out easily. So basically — read this if you need a break from stressful books 😂🙌🏻 but also just read it because it’s GOOD 😌✨. I appreciated the change of pace and the comfortable vibes.
Other things I liked
- Oli basically just avoid confrontation at ALL COSTS and his #1 hobby is napping in the sun…so like, maybe i too am a snake.
- I just loved the animal people shapeshifters 🥺
- the focus definitely is on friendship, and Oli’s bond with Risk and Rain (the coyote twins) is super lovely.
- there are lowkey monsters in the background
- Nina was so chill. 10/10 would like to be her friend.
- Nina says she is asexual on page, but Oli also seemed super ace to me! He was pretty much like “marriage seems ok i guess if you meet the right person but idk”. BLESS.
- lots of homage and love words Lipan Apache culture and the importance of verbal storytelling
If you’re looking for a book that is both wholesome and comforting, full of heart and storytelling and friendship and chaotic teens on adventures — this is it!! It was a lovely story and beautifully written.
I also listened to the audiobook from NetGalley and really loved the narrator too!
Title: A Snake Falls To Earth
Author: Darcie Little Badger
Date Published: November 9th 2021
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Purchase: Book Depository, Blackwells
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Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.
Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.
Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.
And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.
Darcie Little Badger introduced herself to the world with Elatsoe. In A Snake Falls to Earth, she draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed.