Book Review: The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliott

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 368 pages

Published: January 21, 2020

Publisher: Walker Books US

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy


The Good Hawk is unlike any YA fantasy I ever read. We find our two main protagonists, Agatha and Jamie embarking on an exciting and dangerous adventure to save their Scottish clan when their village is invaded and attacked by an enemy clan. They travel to the haunted parts of Scotia to the dangerous Norveg. With the help of a clan with Highland bull riders, Agatha and Jamie take this chance to save the family they only ever known, but at the same time, learn more about themselves and what it truly means to be a hero.

With humor and compassion, Elliott offers a much needed unique voice to the YA fantasy world. I had a hard time putting this book down. It was just so enthralling and compelling with every turned page. I don’t read a lot of fantasy books, not like I use to read when I was younger. So when I encountered a fantasy that left me enchanted and wants me to read more in the series, then I will be singing praises from the mountaintop. The world-building was mythical but it felt like I was really in Scotia. Elliott did such a great job in building this fantasy world that leaves a reader wanting more.

This is more than an adventure story. It takes more than bravery and brawn to be a hero. Within their clan, both Agatha and Jamie are taught to repress their emotions or some feelings are a form of weakness. But with their escapades, Agatha’s and Jamie’s story becomes a tale of friendship and courage. They learn to embrace the emotions they have. It doesn’t weaken them, it is part of their personality and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Embracing who you truly are is what makes a real hero is a great motto both middle grade and teen readers can live by. With all the fear and terror that’s in this story, this book is still a heartwarming story that will stay with your heart.

You will fall in love with Agatha from the very first page. Agatha has down syndrome but this book doesn’t focus on that. While others look down her, but she is one of the strongest clan members, apart from Jamie. Her determination and fierce personality make her one of the strongest female protagonists I’ve ever encountered. Jamie is no slouch, either. It was great to see how confident he grew as the novel progressed. He wasn’t always sure of himself, but that’s okay. It doesn’t diminish how brave he is. Because of these great personalities and characterizations. Elliot created great voices that will entice any reader.

Both gripping and compelling, The Good Hawk is the start of an adventure that you just don’t want to end. With its twists and turns, this fantasy novel will leave you captivated and in awe with it’s mystical Scottish Highlands background, beautiful storytelling and relatable characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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