Hello dear ones 🙂 How are you all doing? I want to start by saying that if anyone needs to talk during the current climate, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me – we all need to support each other through this. We’re in it for the long haul ❤ Honestly, it feels weird to even be writing a blog post at this time but I suppose we need to try and keep things as normal as possible, don’t we? So today, I’m reviewing The Good Hawk which was sent to me by Walker Books UK. And guys, this book is pretty special.
In a mythic Scotland, two unlikely heroes must make a dangerous journey to save their people.
Agatha is a Hawk, brave and fierce, who protects her people by patrolling the high walls of their island home. She is proud of her job, though some in her clan whisper that it is meant to keep her out of the way because of the condition she was born with.
Jaime, thoughtful and anxious, is an Angler, but he hates the sea. Worse, he’s been chosen for a duty that the clan hasn’t required for generations: to marry. The elders won’t say why they have promised him to a girl in a neighboring clan, but there are rumors of approaching danger.
When disaster strikes and the clan is kidnapped, it is up to Agatha and Jaime to travel across the haunted mainland of Scotia to Norveg, with help along the way from a clan of nomadic Highland bull riders and the many animals who are drawn to Agatha’s extraordinary gift of communication.
Thrilling and dark yet rich with humor and compassion, this is the first book in the Shadow Skye trilogy, written by a wonderful new voice in fantasy and introducing a welcome new kind of hero.
The first thing that struck me about this book was the writing style. Agatha’s narrative voice was perfectly captured. There was an element that reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (and please don’t think that’s me generalising in a negative way). The author made it clear that Agatha had her differences without coming across as patronising. And I instantly loved this book for that.
You see, Agatha has Down’s Syndrome. And it saddens me to say this is the first book I’ve ever read with Down’s rep. It was done so sensitively and didn’t feel at all out of place in this fantasy story. We need more of this!
Don’t get me wrong, some of the comments that other characters make about Agatha are heart-breaking but I can understand why they were there. But man, I was rooting so hard for her and couldn’t wait to see her succeed and show them all what she was made of! She is a strong and sassy heroine (without intending to be) and you can’t help but love her.
I also loved the anxiety representation that the author showed in our other protagonist, Jaime. Seeing a character in a fantasy novel having a panic attack (and one that was realistic at that) gave me such a weird sense of joy. I loved that I could relate to this character and that both Jaime and Agatha felt like real, ordinary people. Those are the best kinds of heroes.
There was also a wonderful cast of side characters, including some very adorable animal companions. And the interactions between them all made for some genuinely funny moments.
I suppose I should talk about more than just the characters though, right? Well the world building in this book was absolutely perfect. I was living for this magical version of Scotland. I felt like I was on this journey with Agatha and Jaime, and I am honestly so excited for the next instalment in this series.
This was genuinely such a heart-warming and special book. I am so grateful to the author for all that he chose to represent in his story and to Walker Books for publishing it and sending me a free copy! This is truly a magical story for all ages.
Have you ever read a book with a character who has Down’s Syndrome? If so, please let me know in the comments because I don’t know of any others! x