By Susan Cooper, published by Bodley Head (Random House).
Goodreads Synopsis: On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.
John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.
The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.
My Review: *READ THIS BEFORE MY REVIEW! 🙂 Contains a SPOILER about a main event in the book. However, if you read synopsis/book title carefully, you’ll probably have figured it out!*
Ghost Hawk was a book that stands out from most in its unique genre. As soon as I picked it up, I truly was quite hooked on the story!
The story follows Little Hawk, primarily. He’s going into the forest to endure a few months of lonely survival to become a man for his tribe. However, when he comes back, he’s shocked to find that his village isn’t the same as how he left it. Following that, Little Hawk is murdered by an Englishman. John, an English boy, watches the murder, and also witnesses the tension between the English and Native Americans, who he has grown to love since Ten.
Okay, maybe I explained this badly. Just… Read it and it will all make perfect sense! I promise you! Despite my very bad pitching there, Ghost Hawk was an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. Despite a couple of things about characters, I enjoyed it hugely and I’ll definitely be recommending it to fans of Historical fiction books, ghost books, or anybody who’s looking for a very individual read.
I absolutely adored the concept of the book, and the plot. Written in three parts, the story was broken down into what seemed like smaller novels, because the events differed dramatically in each one. The first part, I think, was my favourite: I really loved the story of survival in the world of Little Hawk- and, not reading the synopsis too carefully, had thought that that the book was just about his survival trip! Well, I was incredibly wrong, as at the end of part one, Little Hawk is murdered, trying to save the father of John.
One of the saddest, most shocking moments in a book I’ve read this year? Yes.
The rest of the story was based around John, mostly. I loved to watch him grow up throughout the book. The writing was absolutely beautiful; poetic, even, and from the perspective of ‘Ghost Hawk’ looking down on John. The writing most definitely captured the setting and characters really well. I felt like I was actually in the tribal camps, or being Ghost Hawk as he watched John live the rest of his life.
I think that I preferred Little Hawk’s character to John’s. I connected with him much more- especially in the first part of the book. He seemed a lot more real to me, and I don’t really know why, actually! He had a really interesting background. I think that maybe I liked him more because he had such an interesting background, that Susan Cooper has put in every little detail into, making sure that the tribal aspect of his life was accurate. John had a great background too, though, and I did really enjoy watching him grow up, too. I was very shocked by the ending for his character. Utterly unpredictable. All I’ll do here, instead of spoil it, is quote that line in the book that was repeated a couple of times: Lord, what fools these mortals be! Sums up the story pretty well, for reasons I wont add here! 🙂
Overall, Ghost Hawk was a really beautifully written book. I enjoyed the plot, with all of its unique and unbelievable twists that left this book quite literally glued to my hands. It had a really original idea, and was so fun to read. I loved the tribal roots of the story, and the ending for Ghost Hawk was one of those moments where you’ll want to just curl up with a box of Kleenex, really! I think the only problem I really had with it was that there were a lot of different characters in this book and I found it hard to keep track of the names at points with my rubbish memory. Aside from that? Amazing. Go grab a copy now, though be prepared for a pretty emotional book!
I received a copy of Ghost Hawk from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.