12 September 2011

Review 37: Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis

Sky Hawk is the story of Callum who discovers an osprey on the land near his familys farmhouse in Scotland alongside the granddaughter of the local recluse, Iona. The first half of the novel deals with Callum's attempts to keep the osprey a secret and dealing with comments at school from his classmates over his friendship with Iona.

I read this book on the recommendation of a colleague and because of the rave reviews when it was published. Unfortunately I found this a book of two halves. I found the first half incredibly difficult to get through, I read it occasional page by occasional page as despite reviews claiming it was unputdownable I struggled to get involved at all. However, around halfway through the book there is a big event and from then on the book is exciting, moving and charming.
The first half of the book follows Callum and Iona as they find the osprey and forge a friendship based on trying to protect her and stop the news of her discovery getting out. I must admit,  know very little about wildlife in general, let alone ospreys so perhaps I'm just not a sympathetic ear to this story. I found it rather dull and to be frank, just didn't care enough about the bird to get emotionally invested in the story. I also found Callum  a little uninspiring and Iona rather intense.

However, as I mentioned, half way through the story everything changes - it feels like you're reading a totally different story. Iris, the osprey, migrates to Africa with her tracking device and when Callum realises that the signal has stayed still for days he sets out to try and find someone in Africa who can try and find Iris. This begins a fast paced and likeable story when Callum realises there is more than Iris who needs helping. There is an exciting climax where Callum, his family and friends, and the whole village work together.

I'm not really the target audience for this book but I often enjoy young adult books and books with male protagonists and/or rural settings. However books about animals have never been my thing. Indeed as a child I always found the film Homeward Bound boring and just don't have that animal love that many people seem to. So a few thing just came together in the beginning of this novel which put me off which may not put others, particularly children off but the second half came a good way in redeeming it.

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