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The Good Hawk

de Joseph Elliott

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Shadow Skye (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
7113316,445 (4.11)4
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.… (més)
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Agatha and Jaime make quite a duo in a mythic Scotland adventure. Agatha is a Hawk, a member of the clan who patrols the high walls of their island. She’s super proud of her job and works as hard as she can, though she still hears the whispers of clan members that say she only has that job because of the condition she was born with. Jaime is an Angler, a member of the clan who goes out to fish - but he hates the sea terribly. Even worse, he’s been chosen for a duty that the clan hasn’t even allowed in generations: marriage. The elders won’t say as to why they chose the arranged marriage to a girl in a neighboring clan, but there are always rumors.

After disaster strikes and the clan is kidnapped, Agatha and Jaime are the only ones left to travel across the haunted mainland of Scotia to Norveg with their captive deamhain - a prince of those who took their clan. With the help along the way from a clan of nomadic Highland bull riders and the animals who are drawn to Agatha’s incredible gift of communication, Agatha and Jaime must use their everything to save those they call family.

I devoured this book as quickly as I possibly could while still working and living everyday life. I was immediately drawn in by Agatha and her viewpoint of the world. Just how she approached any kind of roadblock, struggle, trouble in her way was a breath of fresh air. Sure, she might get mad, or hot and warm, but she tried her hardest to calm down and figure it out. Jaime was also a very captivating character. Poor guy was not built to be a seaman and the Elders make him an Angler. And, to top it off, his clan hasn’t had marriages in generations because they never saw the point, but now he has to?! None of that stops Jaime and he's on his way to save and rescue his friends and family.

I've been wanting to read more historical fiction books that weren't set in WWII (the time period I tend to gravitate towards), and by reading this, I can tell Joseph Elliott did his research in writing about historical, mythic Scotland.

I'm glad this is a trilogy and there is more to come from these characters. I've had this book on my shelf for a whole year and while I kind of rolled my eyes at myself for not reading it sooner, I waited long enough to read it that I now can read book two as soon as I can get my hands on it. ( )
  oldandnewbooksmell | Sep 24, 2021 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
Middle grade fantasy with a unique lead character ( she has downs syndrome), who can also communicate with animals.
Set on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, two children go on a journey to save their clan. This book had it all from dark moments to humor. ( )
  Marmie7 | May 31, 2021 |
The Good Hawk is a fantastical medieval children's book set on the Isle of Skye and Scotland, following two children as they take on a dangerous journey to save their clan. It's dark at times--there is death and battle--but also lots of brightness and friendship.

What I loved most is that a lead characters, Agatha, has Down's Syndrome. It's never explicitly stated, of course, as this is a fantasy tinged with history (an author's note makes the influence clear), but you know from the first paragraph that she thinks differently than everyone else and she knows she's different, too. She's resilient, smart, and as the title says, a "Good Hawk." She's devoted to her people, even if they aren't truly sure what to make of her. The other child is a boy, Jaime, who is kind and smart. When their clan is attacked and enslaved by raiders, the two follow in pursuit, braving dangers and making diverse friends along the way.

It's a fun book and a great start to a new series. As much as I enjoy the whole cast, I'm fully there for Agatha.
( )
  ladycato | Feb 4, 2021 |
While The Good Hawk was not my first book this year with a neurodiverse protagonist it was harder to follow Agatha’s narrative until you grow accustomed to it. Agatha has the very ability that I always wanted to have since I was little – to talk to and understand the animals around us. While Agatha is different from anyone in her clan that certainly does not make her less than in any way and to those who doubted her place within the clan, she goes above and beyond to prove that she does belong. She has a kind heart even though her temper can get the best of her and nearly dogged in her loyalty. Jaime is the best kind of person for her to befriend and the events throughout the novel highlight their relationship even as it grows.

The world-building in The Good Hawk is fairly narrow but that’s honestly because both Agatha and Jaime have never ventured far from their home – until their forced to. What we do see is their world view widening while welcoming those who are foreign to them. The nomadic bull riders were an instant favorite and it was interesting to see just how different their customs were when compared with what Agatha and Jaime grew up with. The land is brutal, mysterious, and a little bit haunting – especially the mainland of Scotia. I believe that the history hinted at in this book will be broadened by the second book in the series The Broken Raven.

I thoroughly enjoyed this unique book and eagerly look forward to reading the second which I will also be reviewing soon. I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy neurodiverse characters, mild LGBTQ+ elements, found family, fantasy/historical fantasy, middle grade, and animals. *Rounded from 4.5 stars* ( )
  thereviewbooth | Dec 18, 2020 |
Literary Merit: Great
Characterization: Excellent
Recommended: Yes
Level: High School

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book, and honestly chose it because the cover looked cool and it had the word "hawk" in it (yes, really; my obsession for birds knows no limits). When I first started reading, I'll admit my heart sank a bit; I couldn't STAND the writing style of the first chapter, and thought it was a huge downgrade from the elegance of the last book I read. After choosing to stick with it anyways, I learned that Agatha, the brave and spunky female lead, has Down's Syndrome, and thus thinks differently from the other characters in the book. Almost immediately, my impression of the writing style went from apprehensive to amazed. Elliott made a brilliant choice in choosing to represent Agatha's inner monologue the way he does, and its made even better when you learn that he himself works with neurodivergent children. Agatha is a protagonist I have never seen in a YA novel, and I applaud Elliott for his inclusivity and innovation.

Anyways, enough of my gushing. Let me explain the plot of this book first. The Good Hawk focuses on the stories of two characters who could not be any more different. Agatha is a Hawk, sworn to protect her clan from attack at all costs. Unfortunately, Agatha is also treated differently by the rest of her clan because of a condition she was born with, making others see her as lesser and incapable. Jaime is an Angler, though he did not choose this path; he would much rather work with the Wasps, working with his hands to build and repair things.

When Jaime is told he has been betrothed to a girl from an enemy clan to forge an alliance, he fears the clan will turn on him, as marriage has been forbidden in their clan for many years. None of this matters, however, when their clan is brutally attacked and taken captive by fierce invaders known as the deamhan. Suddenly on the run, Agatha and Jaime must team up to rescue their clan, revealing many hidden secrets along the way.

I will preface the rest of this review by saying that I know absolutely nothing about Scottish and Gaelic folklore, so I won't be able to comment on the accuracy or authenticity of it. I will say, however, that what I got was absolutely breath-taking, and I would love to learn more. There are so many cool mythological elements to this story, from the mysterious sgàilean to Agatha's rare ability to communicate with animals. Everything about this universe is unique and magical, even the fearsome Bo Riders who bond with bulls at a young age.

Elliott even used both Scottish Gaelic and a fictionalized version of Old Norse, further adding to the richness of the story. While I wish Elliott had offered translations for these words, I understand that many of the uses of the language aren't meant to be understood by the main characters, and by extension the readers. Still, I'm a huge fan of learning new words and phrases, and I'm sad that I can't understand the other languages in this book.

Next, I have to talk about the real triumph to this story, which comes solely from its protagonist Agatha. I wasn't kidding when I said that I have NEVER seen a character with Down's Syndrome in YA, much less a protagonist with Down's Syndrome. While I hate that the characters never name it (likely because ancient societies wouldn't have had a name for it yet), I can easily imagine a young teen with Down's Syndrome reading this book and realizing that he or she is capable of doing and being whatever he or she wants to be, because Agatha is a kickass heroine who saves the day in the end.

This crucial representation of neurodivergency nearly brought a tear to my eye, and I'm so glad Elliott was brave enough to make Agatha the hero. I've seen characters with ADHD, cerebral palsy, anxiety, and many other conditions, but Agatha was a first for me. Her writing was brilliantly done, and what made it better for me was knowing that not only does Elliott himself work with neurodivergent kids, he also consulted experts from the Down's Syndrome Association to make sure he was representing it in a respectful and accurate way. Any author who takes the much-needed time to do this wins a lot of brownie points in my book, and I'm incredibly happy that neurodivergent teens have this story.

Agatha is far from a useless damsel in distress; her bravery and unique gifts are what save her clan at the end of the novel, thus helping to lessen the stigma against those who are neurodivergent in real life. The other characters look down on and underestimate Agatha in the beginning, but soon learn how crucial her insight is to the group. They go from humoring her to truly respecting and appreciating her for who she is, and it's an incredibly touching character arc that makes me love her even more. She's an excellent heroine, and I hope this book opens the floodgates for more neurodivergent characters in the future, especially in lead roles.

That being said, I take slight issue with the fact that this book is marked as "middle grade." While there is no sexual content or overt cursing, there is a LOT of graphic violence, and I wouldn't feel comfortable with a middle schooler reading this, especially if he or she is sensitive to gore. For example, early on in the book one of the elders guts a rabbit in front of the children, forcing the fourteen year old boy and nine year old girl (who are, by the way, being forced into an arranged marriage) to eat halves of the rabbit's heart raw. This bit felt more like a Game of Thrones episode than a middle grade novel, and the violence only gets worse from there. This story involves heads being impaled on spikes, the throats of children being cut, and the brutal murder of many characters, so it's not for the faint of heart. I would, however, be fine with a high school student reading this, as I'm sure they've seen and read worse in other media by this point.

The violence, however, is really the only issue I had with this book, and even that is only an issue with younger readers. Teens will likely be able to handle this just fine. The rest of the novel is full of interesting, dynamic characters and a suspenseful, creative plot. Even the side characters are amazing, with Cray and Nathara being two of my favorites. Cray is a strong, fearsome Bo Rider who is confirmed LGBT when he mentions losing his male partner, and we get to see two different perspectives on LGBT people in this universe. In Jaime and Agatha's clan, this would be seen as forbidden, but in Cray's clan this is perfectly acceptable, and it made me happy to see an honest discussion between two characters on opposite sides of the fence. It is even implied throughout that Jaime might be attracted to Cray, which would make him bisexual and further LGBT representation. I suppose we'll have to see in future books!

Nathara's story is even more interesting, as she is the forgotten queen of Scotia. Thought to be dead along with everyone else on the main continent, Nathara surprises the party when she appears looking almost like a ghost, a fully grown woman who has gone mad from spending her life alone in a tower. Her and Agatha bond almost instantly, and Nathara proves herself incredibly useful when the others learn she can control the sgàilean, which her father created to fight the war against Ingland. Every character introduced in this story brings something new to the group, and I love how Elliott weaves their stories together to create a pretty formidable fighting unit.

While there is a lot more I want Elliott to explore in future books (the other clans, King Edmund, the magic, the lore, etc.), this was an excellent opening book to the trilogy. It helped establish the characters without spilling chapters and chapters of boring exposition, and really encouraged readers to piece things together as it went along. Many of the foreign words can be learned easily through context (for example, a bothan is a small dwelling made of stone), and there is enough explanation that it's fairly easy to settle into the mechanics of this clan and the world they inhabit. This is a fine needle to thread, and I think Elliott did it excellently.

The characters are compelling and diverse, and written in a style that helps further reflect their characters to the reader. Agatha's thoughts are very simple and straightforward, while Nathara speaks in stilted verse to represent her stilted emotional and mental growth. The magic, too, is extremely interesting, and I can't wait to see what will be done with Agatha's ability and the sgàilean in future books. My hope is that he will branch out and really dig into the lore in this world, as I would love to know more about the clans and their beliefs. I may not have known a single thing about this book when I picked it up, but I'm extremely glad I chose to read it. Cheers to Joseph Elliott on his debut novel; may he have much more success in the future! ( )
1 vota SWONroyal | Aug 23, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Joseph Elliottautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Balbusso, AnnaAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Balbusso, ElenaAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Furlong, GaryNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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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.

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