The Good Hawk

The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliott

Agatha patrols the sea wall with pride, despite those in her clan who question her right to be there, because of the condition she was born with.

Jaime is a reluctant Angler, full of self-doubt and afraid of the sea.

When disaster strikes, the pair must embark on a terrifying journey to a land where forgotten magic and dark secrets lurk in every shadow…


Ralph, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:51 am

I particularly liked how Agatha had a gift of speaking to animals and that her and Jaime encountered many things such as other clans and creatures on the way. I did not like that the clans were
not friendly to each other and were raised and brought up so differently.

I will give the book a 6/10 because it was mostly quite entertaining but some things
were a bit boring.

Thomas P, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:45 am

I had mixed feelings about this book. I struggled to keep engaged with its predictable story and I found that I was not particularly invested in the characters, as none of them seemed likeable to me as I found them annoying and boring. I found Agatha’s chapters hard to read, as the style of trying to imitate a child with Down’s syndrome was like reading a babies book, and I often found myself drifting away from the story and into my own thoughts while reading these sections, as I found them incredibly mundane to read (very simple vocabulary and boring grammar).

Contrary to my thoughts above, I thought that the plot was imaginative, but very predictable. I liked the idea of some children left to fend for themselves, going to save their “family” (clan), but I think that the author should have let some characters die, and let others live (if you have read the book, you may know who I am referring to). I would have found a larger character’s death more gripping and impactful than a character that I only knew for the first couple of chapters. Also, I feel like the author should have allowed the characters to develop even more, instead of letting some powerful beasts complete the goal for them, allow the main character Jaime to develop and become brave enough to fight his nemesis himself.

All in all, I do not recommend this book, as I feel that it is too violent for a younger (age 5-10) audience, but too simple and tedious for an older one.

Thomas B, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:45 am

The Good Hawk is a book about a grand journey across deserted Scotland from the points of view of the two main characters Jaime and Agatha.

It is a fantasy story that remains believable due to its vast and convincing world that has lots of detail. The world is like any other great setting: it feels real and allows the journey to feel like a large quest over vast distances. With captivating people to fill this world the story has a wide variety of settings and tone depending on the clan, people, or country’s actions.

As mentioned earlier the points of view are from the alternating perspectives of Jaime and Agatha, the two main characters. You soon get attached to these characters- not only because of their strengths but also because of their flaws. They show emotions that force you to empathise with them such as fear, wonder and joy. Jaime is an angler who is sea sick and afraid of the water while Agatha is a Hawk ( a look out ) that has Down’s syndrome and a stubborn mentality which is incorporated into her character so well that you don’t notice it: it’s just there like if the character had brown hair or any other trait.

The action in the story is gripping and genuinely interesting with unexpected twists that keep you on the edge of your seat when reading.

I would recommend this to anybody over the age of ten as it might be a bit frightening for younger readers but would be a good and interesting read to anybody else that might want to try it.

Olwen, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:25 am

The Good Hawk is a fantasy book set in the dark ages in Scotia (Scotland) and is about a clan who are captured by Vikings. Agatha and Jamie are the only ones left. The book takes you on an adventure through Scotia all the way to Norveg (Norway)and it is so thrilling you are always anticipating what happens next, so many unexpected twists that make it such an exciting read. Agatha and Jamie are teenagers making them more relatable to younger audiences. They, like most teenagers, struggle with fitting in and normal teenage things. This really helps make the book easier to connect with and with the added adventure and fantasy makes a very good book.

Marthinius, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:23 am

I recently came across The Good Hawk, what a brilliant read! It was interesting in the way that it was written from the characters’ perspectives. For example, when it was Agatha speaking, it was written as her thoughts were from someone with Down’s syndrome. It is written in a dual/ tri narrative, mainly swapping between Agatha and Jamie, and occasionally swapping to Nathara. This made it fun to read because we get the perspective from all three of those characters. A pleasant and enjoyable book which integrates fantasy into places in the real world, unlike other books based on unrealistic planets and characters. With such an enjoyable and engaging book, it is hard to pick my favourite part. I would definitely recommend this book, in my opinion children and adults alike would enjoy reading it.

James, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:23 am

This book is in the first person and was written extremely well by Joseph Elliot. However, despite the rich language and impressive writing style, this book did not interest me that much, despite being a great book. This book would be great for anyone seeking a story of adventure and friendship. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in magic/ legends, but also to anyone with a craving for thrilling adventures. The book is amazing at hooking the reader and keeping them interested in the storyline. It is a hilarious and thrilling book, and I would strongly recommend it to any young thrill seekers looking for an enticing story.

Jacob, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:22 am

The Good Hawk is a very good book but there were a few things that I disliked. That being said, there were many things I liked about the book and its story.

My favourite moment of the book was when the prisoners broke free and the tribe was released. I liked how much of a bond there was between the characters at this moment in the story and the triumph after so much suffering was like the light at the end of a tunnel. This is because The Good Hawk uniquely and effectively makes you feel like one of the characters so when they are happy, you are happy.

I would also like to mention that the book was a very good and rather unique fantasy novel. It included real parts of history whilst adding some fantasy elements to it as well. I also think that the fantasy was done well because it was not as though everybody could do magic which made the book seem more realistic but there was still some magic which made it more wonderful. I also liked the element of ancient Scottish culture, something that is often overlooked.

I disliked the amount of explanation that the book included, it seemed like everything was over described and excess information was given. For example it took more than a few chapters to describe Agatha recovering from her injuries with the terror beasts and Jaime finding his way to the castle, two parts of the book that I found quite uninteresting, it seems silly to add so much detail to something quite uneventful.

I also found people who we had got to know quite well and who were close to the main characters died (Lileas, Nathara and most of the elders) which came as quite a shock to me, which made the book better because it was unpredictable. That being said, the main characters had lots of plot armour and were extremely lucky. For example, they found their way from the Isle of Skye to mainland Scotland even though the effective captain of the boat they are travelling in gets seasick. They also happen to find a tribe that supplies then with supplies and shows them the way to their boat and, coincidentally, the shadow things come back and save them at the last moment, Agatha survives because she is covered in Nathara’s blood and Maisteas Eilanor happens to survive, too. That all seems unrealistically lucky to me.
I found, too, that lots of the characters were useless and since we had got to know them so well, it was a disappointment when they played no big part in the story or died. For example, Lileas was a largely irrelevant character and died quite fast which was disappointing because I thought she might play a big role in saving the clan. Nathara was also a very irrelevant character and, whilst she was a different personality, was killed very fast, too, which just made her seem like a pointless character.

Whilst I do criticize this book on some aspects of it, I also think that there were many good things about it and that it was well structured and thought out.

Firstly, I found that the descriptions, if a little annoying at times because of their lengths, added depth to the story and explained more than many do, setting it that little bit higher than other books. The descriptions created loving and loathing towards characters and described their personality very well to the point where you could have felt like you were in the book with them.

This leads neatly onto my next point which is that the characters are portrayed well. In the book, you can imagine them speaking to you and you feel like you are on their adventure, which is aided by the vast and in depth descriptions telling you all there is to know about a character, a key point that books often miss out. It is a book where you really connect with the characters.

In the book, your emotions are on a constant roller coaster, as characters triumph or die or fail, you are always in their shoes and you share their emotions, too. This roller coaster of emotions adds to the thrill of the book and makes it more exciting and enjoyable.

Another thing that I found Joseph Elliott does incredibly is build up tension, much like the roller coaster of emotions, you are constantly engaged in the book because of how unpredictable it can be. You never know if the protagonists will live or die because of how ruthlessly other main characters die which always keeps you on your toes. Tension is conveyed incredibly using powerful techniques and effective descriptions.

Overall, I enjoyed The Good Hawk because of the way it allows you to connect to the characters and how tension always keeps you in the action. Whilst there are a few things that I dislike about the book, they are outweighed by the immensity of personality and the sense of feeling in the moment. I would highly recommend this book.

Isaac, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:21 am

I disliked The Good Hawk because of the way that the chapters from Agatha’s point of view are not descriptive enough and the sentences are too short and make it feel as if the author is trying to create tension. The characters are very jealous of others as they are utterly hopeless.
This book is written differently to other books, this is because of the dual narrative – which gives two points of view and a fresh way of thinking and the fact that it looks into the mind of a person with Down Syndrome and how they think. This makes the story more enjoyable as you get to see from the perspective of someone that must go through things most of us never will.
My favourite part of the story was when they were attacked by the sgalean (the shadows) as it brings tension and comes out of nowhere making you heart race and I like the feeling of being on edge in a book. But overall, the story is only OK, this is mainly due to the fact there is not much description to their long journey. This disappoints me and I hoped they would meet more people along the way to Norweg .

Eva-May, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:21 am

I found The Good Hawk a good book because it changed from perspective to perspective and I found that extremely interesting and it made me want to carry on reading. My favourite part was with the Bull Riders, I liked those parts because the bull riders were nice, my favourite character was Crayton.
I would definitely recommend this book to someone, as I really enjoyed it, I would probably recommend it to my friends.

Ethan, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:15 am

I think that The Good Hawk was written in a very interesting way because it was written from the perspectives of two different people, and the chapters where Agatha narrates were simpler than when Jamie narrated, linking in well with their characters and building a better understanding of them.

In my opinion the story is good because it is a somewhat fantasy book but also has a real aspect to it as well. I think the story line is good but, in my opinion, slightly rushed and a longer book would make the story more enjoyable and intense. Even though I thought that the story was rushed I found it to be a good story with a great plot and well-made characters.

My favourite part of the story was when Agatha and Cray fought upon the bulls in a battle to knock each other off.

I might recommend this book as getting into it made me enjoy it more than I thought I would. The age group I would recommend this book to is people of 12-15 years of age.

Esme, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:14 am

I enjoyed this book. I liked that it was quite fast moving and I wanted to read every sentence to find out what happened. The storyline was clever and interesting. It made you happy, sad, surprised and angry. I liked that although it had a happy ending it also had sad parts to it, losing people on the way etc. I thought that the way in which it was written was really clever. I enjoyed that Agatha and Jamie both worried about different things and that their headspaces were different. You could almost immediately tell who the chapter was narrated by, just simply by the way in which the sentences were phrased.

My favourite part of the story was when they met Queen Nathara and the shadow-things. It was interesting and sad to see how she had aged all those years by herself. It makes us think about real life and what can happen. That was exciting and I did not want to put the book down. I also really liked the cliff-hanger at the end, it makes you guess and want to read the second book to find out what happens next.

I would definitely recommend this book to other people. Some parts can be slightly gory, so maybe +12. If you like fantasy or medieval books, then this one is perfect. It has the magical side to it and combat and swords.

Tilly, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:10 am

Good Hawk review:
The book The Good Hawk is a very interesting book set in Scotland about two people, one of them called Agatha who is a Hawk, and they go and save people. Agatha is the main character who is a brave and fierce person that really likes challenges. There is another character called Jamie and he is a very kind character and they both like a challenge. Both characters are very caring and brave at the same time because they could die in this journey, but they persevere, and they never give up. Agatha has Down’s Syndrome and it is quite hard for her, but it does not stop her from saving people. This book is very interesting and you cannot stop reading it.

Leila, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:08 am

The Good Hawk was a book that I didn’t really enjoy. I didn’t like it for a few reasons; it was dull, poorly written and the plot was hard to grip on to. At the beginning I thought it was quite boring and nothing interesting was really happening. It took quite a while for it to start to get interesting. However, some people wouldn’t mind the slow start because they have thought the rest of the story was exciting with few surprises (which there were). A few times, when I was reading it, I found myself re-reading it because it didn’t make sense. For example, at around 88% there was a sentence that said ‘One of the Deamain hits his elbow into her head and she goes knocked out so she can’t talk anymore’ The ‘goes knocked out’ to me just doesn’t make any sense and the ‘can’t talk anymore’ is just stating the obvious. Throughout the book it just treated the reader like a young child – in my opinion.

Harrison, Ardingly

16th October 2020 at 9:02 am

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Good Hawk, I was very fond of the way the story progressed and liked the way the book switched between the main characters’ points of view. It is one of the only books I have ever read where the main character has Down’s Syndrome. I like how all the characters have insecurities and troubles that they battle throughout the story. My favourite character was Jaime, as I feel I can relate to him in some ways, as I worry about lots of things too! I am very fond of history and so I liked the historical languages and references in the book. I would give this book 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed reading it and will look out for the sequel when it drops next year.

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