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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Dreamtime Mysteries Trilogy by Jenni Barnett is three volumes in one that incorporate all the elements that Rex, an anthropology student exploring his Aboriginal heritage and ancestral history, learns for his thesis. He visits a native territory with an ancient scar tree, and, resting beneath the tree, he witnesses the natural surroundings seemingly awaken, and the tree, Gran Yan, imparts stories about the Booran tribe of Yaraan Grove. Merging adventure with cultural heritage, Rex progresses toward his degree by revisiting the sacred site to uncover more about previous generations. His three-part study culminates with the impact of colonization and, through his late grandfather's family records, Rex both completes his thesis and resolves so, so much more. The books Native Companions, Along the Waterways, and Return to Eternity are all included in Barnett's omnibus.
I was drawn to the Dreamtime Mysteries Trilogy by Jenni Barnett because I felt that I would be able to relate to Rex. I am a reader who is also the first generation to grow up in the shadow of British colonization, whereas my parents grew up directly under it. The reality is that there was too much hidden away for far too long for people of color to fully understand their backgrounds. This is why work like Barnett's is so important, even if it is the rendering of someone from another continent. I felt that Barnett's writing style was true to the language it was representing, and the exchanges of dialogue came across as authentic. The conversational nature of most of the narrative kept me engaged, and in many ways, I was under that tree with Rex, listening to Gran Yan. Barnett's trilogy is beautiful and immersive, and a treasure for readers who are looking for something deep and meaningful. Very highly recommended.