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SWORDBIRD by Nancy Yi Fan

SWORDBIRD

From the Swordbird series, volume 1

By Nancy Yi Fan

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-06-113099-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

Turnatt, a corrupt hawk, sets out to take over the Stone Run Forest and all its feathered denizens by drafting crows and ravens to do his dirty work and by using those recruits to enslave and divide the forest’s bird communities. With the help of an escaped slave, the jays, cardinals, robins and a hot-air balloon full of traveling birds mount a spirited opposition to the forces of evil in their world. This avian fantasy is an engaging and propulsive read, but as often happens with debut novels, style is not the strong point. Fantasy elements are both derivative and inconsistent, making the narrative into an extended fairytale with a few realistic birdlike trappings. Occasional stilted dialogue, unadorned prose and a derivative plot detract from the unusual use of birds as the focus of the story. Fan, currently a seventh grader in China, began Swordbird when she was ten years old—an extraordinary accomplishment for a young author. It will appeal to fans of the Mistmantle Chronicles and other animal fantasies—then lead them onward to Redwall Abbey. (Fantasy. 9-12)