THE FALCONER by Darcy Pattison

THE FALCONER

A Heartland Tale
From the "Heartland Tale" series, volume 2
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This second volume of a YA series focuses on a teenage girl, her gyrfalcon, and a promise made to her grandfather.

At the age of 11, Brittney Eldras stole a gyrfalcon egg from a nest. She raised the bird to be her friend in her lonely home valley of the Heartland. Two years later, Britt has lost her parents in an avalanche. She and her gyrfalcon, Tatty Mog, are partners in life, hunting, and growing up together. One day, her grandfather Winchal Eldras, who is a Wayfinder and able to locate anything, claims that he no longer hears the Finder’s Bell. It should be in the city of G’il Rim, to the south. Granfa, as Britt calls him, passes the Finding on to her, beginning her apprenticeship. She must now venture to G’il Rim and search for the Bell. Increasing her challenges are the Zendi, conquerors who hold the Heartland in an economic death grip. They’re a society that worships albinism and has outlawed any but themselves from owning a gyrfalcon. Britt must also beware the Zendi’s intense superstitions and a prophecy revolving around the deaths of seven court ravens. Should the ravens die, war would recommence in the Heartland. In this sequel, Pattison (Pollen, 2019, etc.) delivers a charismatic YA fantasy that features striking worldbuilding centered on the bond between people and animals. She includes veterinary facts, including details about bumble foot, which occurs when a bird cuts itself with an overlong talon and becomes infected. There are also the Tazi hounds, “a breed of royal and telepathic dogs,” like Lady Jetje. The Zendi prince, Oran Ziggmaccus, is a fabulous villain whose code keeps him from cheating at cards yet he has no problem whipping whomever offends him. These elements (and many more) come together in a visionary palette over which the author executes fine control. In one subtly ominous scene, “albinos enter the middle door” of a shrine while “everyone else goes to a side door.” As the drama crescendos, a key component from the previous volume comes into play. A gorgeous finale illustrates the depths of humanity’s companionship with animals.

An impressive fantasy sequel featuring a brave apprentice.

Pub Date: July 9th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-62944-123-8
Page count: 232pp
Publisher: Mims House
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2019




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