Cuckoo’s Flight

Pajama Pr. Mar. 2021. 288p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781772781908.
Gr 4-8–Clio has always had a connection with horses, and although she was injured in an accident and can no longer ride, her love of the animals never fades. In the pasture one afternoon she spots a ship that appears to be raiders, and soon her village is in an uproar over the impending attack. To make matters worse, the palace professed that a girl between the ages of 12 and 14 must be sacrificed at the spring festival to protect the land. Clio finds herself helpless, trying to protect her horses and filled with anxiety that she will be sacrificed. Yet she works to overcome her fears and help save her family, her city, and her animals. Orr mixes prose and poetry masterfully throughout the tale. The story is fast paced but has moments of contemplation, and Orr’s skill as a writer show, especially in her poetry. The characters are well rounded, especially Clio and her friendship with the young Mika. Although sometimes heartrending, the story ends on a hopeful note of change and enlightenment. This Bronze Age historical fiction is a follow-up to Orr’s Swallow’s Dance and revisits the main character Leira, now a grandmother hoping to save her granddaughter. While it’s not necessary to have read the first book, those who have will enjoy reuniting with familiar characters.
VERDICT Fans of historical fiction, or even horse stories, will appreciate this fast-paced tale.

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