Release date: January 21st, 2020
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.
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.