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…


Izzie, year 8

11th January 2021 at 3:36 pm

I thought that The good hawk was a really good book to start the Southern Schools Book Awards. I really liked how the author included Down Syndrome and used it to present the main character, Agatha. I really enjoyed where the book was set and I think it really went well with the book. I would really recommend this to people who like adventure books.

Oliver, year 8

11th January 2021 at 3:33 pm

Personally I did not enjoy The Good Hawk as I felt that not much exciting happened. What did happen didn’t really excite me as other books would have. I felt that there were a few parts where I felt the book should have moved on to another subject but it just stayed on the same one for too long. I felt that the book was longer than it needed to be and therefore made me start to lose interest in what was going on. I wouldn’t recommend this book to people who aren’t too fond of reading as I don’t think that this book would excite them or be interesting to them. Overall I would rate this book a 4/10.


8th January 2021 at 2:02 pm

‘The Good Hawk’ was a great book with a fantastic plot, the reason I liked it so much is because of the perfect ratio of moods and feelings which spread with a wide variety; there was tension, excitement, Magic and the feeling that you always have to be on the look out.
I have read the other reviews and some of them say that they don’t like the fact that Lileas died so unexpectedly but I disagree, after I had read up to there I was intrigued and was glued to the book after because all the action started to kick off after that.
I also love how Elliot described things happening making it really apparent and easy for the reader to imagine what’s just happened, like when Agatha is in a fight with the terror beasts and needs to speak to all of them at once which uses up a lot of effort, and when Joseph Elliot describes the click that Agatha feels and her eyes rolling ups, it makes me feel like that would hurt… a lot! and I could almost hear the click in her head.
I also think that the dual narrative between Jamie and Agatha is another great way of telling stories, but The characters in it are phenomenal the fact that Agatha has Down Syndrome and still goes on a difficult long adventure it shows that Joseph Elliot believes that even if you have a disability if you work hard enough and don’t give up anything is possible, but the thing I most enjoyed was that Jamie at the start didn’t believe in himself and didn’t take opportunities that he could have but after he went on the physically hard journey but also mentally you could see that something in Jamie changed and the way the way the author wrote about him at the beginning compared to the end is a huge difference.

Izzy, yr 8

7th January 2021 at 2:54 pm

I thought that The Good Hawk was a really good book to start the Southern Schools Book Awards. I really liked how the author included Down Syndrome and used it to present the main character, Agatha. I really enjoyed where the book was set and I think it really went well with the book. I would really recommend this to people who like adventure books.

Amelia, year 8

1st December 2020 at 5:03 pm

I thought The Good Hawk was an amazing adventure. It was gripping, exciting and thrilling and I could not put the book down. My favourite part was when everyone was in the cave with the deamhains, which was very blood curdling and spine chilling. My favourite character was Cray for how brave he was and how nice he was to go out with them on a scary journey. I would recommend this book for 11+ and I would rate it 4 and a half stars. I thought it was an amazing book with mixed emotions. Terrifying cliff hangers gave you the jump scare and I hated when Lileas died because she was a nice person, trying to help them save their clan even though it was not her own. I did not like it when the evil queen died either because she had not seen anyone in ages and her parents had died so she had no family, which I could not imagine. It was nerve wracking, exciting, miserable and happy so overall I thought it was an amazing book.

Zoe, year 8

26th November 2020 at 6:33 pm

I really enjoyed the Good Hawk because of the change in atmosphere. Especially when Jamie and Agatha are walking through the woods and the author makes sure to give the woods a very eery vibe to it. The author makes sure to give the woods human-like features which makes the woods seem alive.

One other thing that the author made sure to add in that, whoever is narrating at the start of a new chapter, they have different mascots, for example, Agatha has a hawk because that is her job on the isle of Skye to look after and watch the coast but on the other hand Jamie is portrayed as a crane and the crane is a water bird and lives near water and Jamie’s job is as a fisherman.

I would also like to acknowledge the fact that the author has a main character that has Down Syndrome which is really inspiring because she had her mind set on something and she was going to accomplish that no matter what. I also think that it was weird that this is my first ever book where the main character has Down and I think this is unacceptable. I think that especially now that our society is changing that we as a nation need more books like this so people can read books like these.

I think overall I really enjoyed the Good Hawk and I hope to come across more books like these in the future because it makes me happy when I read books like these.

Minnie, year 8

26th November 2020 at 6:22 pm

I loved The Good Hawk. It had everything you want in a fiction book from mythical creatures to clans and warriors. I loved the fact that Agatha had a very defining personality. I would say that my favourite part of the book was when Agatha was hiding in the box listening to people say mean things about her, for me that was very interesting.

It was probably one of the best book I have ever read!

Josiah, year 8

26th November 2020 at 6:21 pm

The Good Hawk was a great book. I like how the storyline evolves, as it goes on the book just seems to be getting better and better. I also like the fact that you never knew what was coming next which made it better as a reader as you always wanted to find out what was going to happen. An example of this was towards the end when the king of Norveg killed his son Knutr. I completely didn’t expect that to happen.

I also like the characters from this book and how they evolve. For example, Jaime: Jaime at the start of the book is very scared of a lot of things but over the course of the book he combats his fear. An example of this is when he leaves the light of the castle in Scotia to go out to where the Sgaileen are. This is incredibly brave as he doesn’t know that they won’t kill him.

Another character is Agatha: she is determined to prove everybody wrong and that although she has a disability she is just as important and can do just as much as the other members of her clan. Over the course of the book she proves she is the most important member of their clan.

Oscar, Year 9.

26th November 2020 at 1:02 pm

On the whole, I enjoyed reading ‘The Good Hawk’. I think that the story was interesting and engaging, and that it had a good plot. I liked the contrast between the narrations of the characters, as their points of view and thought processes are so different. Although I did like this book, it did have a few problems, mainly Lileas. My problem with Lileas is that her death seems rather meaningless. Her actual presence in the book is quite brief, and in that time she influences the general plot very little. When she is killed, her death has a remarkably small effects on the other characters. I would have expected her death to have serious repercussions on the mental state of the characters. Apart from a small outburst of grief from Jamie, she is generally forgotten about through the rest of the book. I feel her death would have been more effective and provided more of an impact, (at least for me), if she had been in the story longer and we had found out more about her before her death, as it would make it more shocking and effective. Even with this, I would definitely recommend this book to others as I found it a very engaging and an enjoyable read.


24th November 2020 at 2:13 pm

One of the reasons why I like the Good Hawk was the feeling of always being on the edge, and I really enjoyed the dual narrative perspective. My favourite part of the book was when Agatha met the Bo Riders and made the wolves go away by using her power(talking to animals) to scream in the wolves’ heads. I enjoyed the fight scene near the end when Jaime built up his courage, and Agatha being creative by using bats to help them win the fight. I enjoyed that the Clan of the Sky got reunited. The character I hated the most was Knutr! He is the antagonist. I found it a little bit sad when Iaius got decapitated by Knutr. But I think it is a good book and I would highly recommend it to readers who get involved with an adventurous thrilling book. But make sure you don’t read it before you go to bed!

Emily, year 8

24th November 2020 at 2:01 pm

The Good Hawk was a great book because it was entertaining all the way through. I also like it because one of the main characters has Down Syndrome which I thought made the book seem different because it was from a different perspective. I would recommend this book because it was a good read and I felt that many people would like the main character, Agatha.

Dorine, year 9

24th November 2020 at 2:00 pm

I think The Good Hawk is a really good book. I would recommend buying this book for either older children or young adults. It was a truly thrilling book, A few features of this book would be action, friendship and murder. There is so much character development even for ‘minor’ characters. I think my favourite character is Jaime, mainly because of how relatable I personally feel he is. In a lot of his situations, I feel if I was in his shoes I would have done something similar.

Lily, year 9

24th November 2020 at 1:59 pm

This book is not just a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat; embedded in the book is a deeper meaning, one which brings happiness, struggles of life and love all together. Agatha’s character reflects how hard for someone with disabilities life is. She experiences challenges every day from everyday tasks to rescuing her clan. You can see how hard she tries and how she feels when experiencing these challenges. You really empathise with her and put yourself in her shoes, which brings awareness of people with disabilities and the struggles that they face. Something even like having a small conversation which seems like nothing to you maybe be a humongous challenge for someone with physical or mental disabilities.

Amelia, year 8

18th November 2020 at 9:48 am

My views on The Good Hawk is that at the beginning it was quite a slow start and It took me a while to get into the book and in the end it took me 2 weeks to read it, only because at first I wasn’t enjoying it but as I got into it, it became really good and I couldn’t bring myself to put the book down.

My favourite character is the mad queen, the reason for that is because I felt really bad for her that she had been left locked away and told that her family would come back but at first I found her quite creepy because she came out of nowhere and just appeared and the fact she was 40 but like a child still. Whilst reading the book I felt very intrigued quite a lot of the time as I didn’t know what would happen next!

The main characters in the book were Jaime and Agatha and Lileas and throughout reading the book I grew to feel quite attached to the characters, so I was quite sad when Lileas died.

My favourite part of the story was when Jaime and Agatha were with the clan they found on the island and the wild wolves attacked as I found it pushed me to keep reading to find out what happened. One other part of the story I liked was when Agatha and the mad queen or as she liked to call her the nice queen met because I felt as though they really bonded and despite their age difference they really connected.

So overall I loved the plot of the book and at first it didn’t make that much sense to me but as I got into it I grew to love the book and didn’t want it to end!

Jared, year 8

18th November 2020 at 9:48 am

The story is about two people called Agatha and Jamie. There clan gets betrayed by another clan and gets captured by Vikings. Agatha and Jamie must make the impossible journey through Scotia (Scotland) to Norveg (Norway).

The climax of the story is when the clan and the Vikings are in a battle but the odds tip on the clan side as they have the Daemhain. It ended as Agatha sacrificed herself to the Princess, but the Princess died but dramatically Agatha survived. They made their way around Scotia, all the way back to their old home.

The main characters were Agatha and Jamie. The whole way Agatha was determined to prove people wrong about her Down Syndrome and does. Jamie started scared of the sea to sailing overseas and he became much braver.

It was good seeing it from a perspective of someone with a condition like Agatha. It really puts you in their shoes. It was good that way.

My favourite moment was when Agatha was really excited on a bull with the bull riders.

I would rate the book 8/10 and I would recommend it to a 11/13 year old.

Isla, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 3:25 pm

The main plot of the story is two teenagers travelling on boat, cow and foot across countries forbidden to go near to save their clan. I found that the book was unusual because of the names of the tribes. The story is set over about two weeks, but the people do tell stories and myths about their homeland or tribes from long ago.

It had a very strong start to the story with one of the main characters setting fire to a boat, personally I enjoy a strong start to a book because I find that it immediately makes me intrigued to find out what happens next. One event would take place fluidly to the next. The writer would stop the characters at each destination on their route to save their clan and describe their surroundings. For example Jamie and Agatha stopped on route from Scotia to Norveg at Nathara’s castle.

The two main characters in the good Hawk are Agatha and Jamie. Agatha is 15 nearly 16 and has Down Syndrome this means that she looks slightly different and sometimes can mis-pronounce words. Even though Agatha has Down Syndrome she does not let this stop her, she is a strong-minded girl who always pushes her way into things in both good and bad ways, and her temper is short. Agatha can talk to animals in the book and this adds a huge part to the story. Jamie is 16 nearly 17. He starts as a timid character but comes into his own at the end by battling sea sickness and being brave and saving his clan.

The author has excellent characterisation. The description of the people in the book was very real and well developed and I had a good mental image in my head of who they were and their personality traits. My favourite character was Agatha because of her perseverance throughout the book. The relationship that Jamie and Agatha have is very close friends.

The story is written in 1st person but the writer changes perspective of the two main characters and the mad queen. The settings were beautifully described for example ‘Sgailean pour down the walls like a black waterfall.’ Here the writer uses a simile which is a great way to describe Sgailean. I really enjoyed this book because the story line is gripping, making me read on. Honestly, I wouldn’t have changed nothing about this book.

The writer wanted to tell this story for the children that he worked with. Joseph Elliott worked at a school for disabled children and this is where he met a child with Down Syndrome, that is why one of his main characters (Agatha) has it. So, I think he wrote this book to show that children no matter what, can persevere to do something great. I would definitely recommend this book to other people because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Amelia, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 3:19 pm

When I started reading The Good Hawk I was confused on the setting and what was happening, but as the book went on, the picture became clearer. I like how the book has a Chapter each for the main characters (Agatha and Jamie). I like this because you can get both their points of view and their emotions. I also like it because Agatha has a different way of thinking than Jamie does, so you can see where she is coming from and her feelings against Jamie, and his feelings against Agatha. My favourite character is probably Jamie because he knows a lot and is kind and caring to Agatha and to his new wife. Especially when Agatha is not being very kind and loyal to her. Jamie sets the standards because he tells Agatha where to row and he also knows how to catch food and sail a boat. Jamie is intelligent and that is handy because when they have to sail with this ‘Man’ who is tied to the boat, Jamie doesn’t panic and he knows to stay calm and what to do, this is good because if he didn’t know as much as he does it could be very hard for them to survive like they did. I also like Agatha because she has a different way of thinking to Jamie. Agatha has Down Syndrome, which means a lot of people treat her unfairly and differently, but I like her because that she does not get put down by this. She keeps fighting and doesn’t let anyone make her feel under the weather and unwanted. Agatha has a special power to speak to animals, this is helpful in the book because she can protect herself and others from many dangerous, vicious animals coming her/their way. With her power she managed to protect all those people at the camp, from those vicious wolves.

Overall I think the book has great tips and turns, and has plenty of things that happen that the readers definitely weren’t expecting. It’s a great adventure story and I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to people who like Fantasy fiction.

Neriah, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 3:18 pm

The Good Hawk is a very hard book to get through but when you get into it, the main plot starts to thicken. Unravelling, the mystery extends and you become more involved in the story line, watching the protagonists on their journey to victory. Personally I struggled to get into this book but I would recommend it to anyone who can stick with a book and be patient for the more intriguing and adventurous parts.

Matthew, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:51 am

The Good Hawk was a great book. I like how the storyline evolves: as it goes on the book just seems to be getting better and better. I also like the fact that you never knew what was coming next, which made it better as a reader as you always wanted to find out what was going to happen. An example of this was towards the end when the king of Norveg killed his son Knutr. I completely didn’t expect that to happen.

I also like the characters from this book and how they evolve. For example, Jaime at the start of the book is very scared of a lot of things but over the course of the book he combats his fear. An example of this is when he leaves the light of the castle in Scotia to go out to where the Sgaileen are. This is incredibly brave as he doesn’t know for sure that they won’t kill him.

Another character is Agatha; she is determined to prove everybody wrong and that although she has a disability she is just as important and can do just as much as the other members of her clan. Over the course of the book she proves she is the most important member of their clan.

Finlay, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:50 am

The Good Hawk is a great book about 2 children (Jamie and Agatha) trying to save their clan after being captured by a Scottish clan in the north, they make a long journey across Scotia to try and get back their clan. Along the way, they experience highs and very low lows including, losing friends, being captured and near death experiences. They learn lots of lessons on their adventure.

The characters are very different to usual, they have unique characteristics and stories that we find out throughout the book.

Agatha is one of the 2 main characters, she has Down Syndrome and has a very special power which is that she can talk to animals, this is very helpful at multiple stages of the book where it gets them out of a lot of trouble.

Jamie is the other main character, he is very determined to get his clan back and will not give up until he finds them, Jamie has a very emotional journey as he has to overcome his fears which eventually lead to him losing one of his closest friends to their rogue prisoner. Jamie fears the sea and his anxiety.

I really enjoyed reading this book over lockdown and I would like a 2nd part!

Francesca, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:50 am

The Good Hawk is a very exciting book once you get to the faster moving part. At the beginning it is quite slow and is hard to keep on reading but once you get past the first few chapters, it becomes very thrilling. So, I would recommend The Good Hawk.

Florence, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:49 am

I would recommend this book to people who like Vikings and the history of Scotland/Scotia but along with a little adventure. It was written in a way of suspense and surprise meaning at many points something unexpected happens, something no-one could have ever imagined. The way Joseph Elliott makes the highland bulls sound like big heroic monsters makes them sound more useful than they really are. The story is full of adventure and mystery and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I finished the book I never wanted to put it down and I’m sure others will like it too.

William, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:47 am

I liked the character of Agatha. This was because after a while you really get into her and get the feel for the character. On the other hand at the start of the book it is quite hard to empathise with Agatha as she has a disability called Down Syndrome. This is normally bad if you can’t get into a book as you will just throw the book away. But if you carry on it will be a very good book and quite easy to understand.

I think setting the scene in Scotland is a great idea as usually in Scotland it has high mountain ranges and the land is not flat. This would help the tribes as when I imagine Medieval tribes I think of snowy cold spruce villages not in the middle of a modern city.

In conclusion I think this book is great for good readers as the scenery and tribes is a great story for teenagers like me!

Xavier, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:46 am

I didn’t like the book because I didn’t find it very fun to read, I thought it was very slow and it took a while for the action to start.

Lara, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:45 am

The Good Hawk is one of my very favourite books! At the start I was unsure about it, as I thought it was a bit boring, however once I got into it I could not get out. It sucked me in and I could not put it down! I really liked the setting of the book, I could imagine it and it was absolutely beautiful. In my mind I pictured massive cliffs hanging over the ocean and the damp mud roads.

I thought Agatha and Jaime really stood out from the other characters! The progression of Jamie’s character was truly amazing! Joseph Elliot really made Agatha a very likeable character, she was always looking on the bright side and was much more cheerful than most people in her clan. I think the way Agatha could talk to animals really added to her character and definitely played an important role in the plot.

The Bo Riders and Bulls were most definitely my favourite characters. I love the way they treated everyone as equals, unlike in Jaime’s and Agatha’s clan. I found Nathara’s character so interesting the way she communicated in childish poems was really fascinating. How the Shadow things raised her as their own was really ingenious.

Overall, I think the book is easy to follow and very enjoyable to read!

Iggy, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:45 am

I would rate this book a 6 in a scale of 1 to 10. I thought this book was brave in its use of a main character with Down Syndrome and I thought the idea was creative and innovative but overall, I did not particularly enjoy the book, but I did respect it.

If there was one thing I really enjoyed it was the characters and their development. I thought Jaime was a very relatable character and I really enjoyed the fact that his character was inspired by the author. I thought this gave the character an extra layer of reality and relatability that made him stand out. I also think that the realism gave the character development of him becoming the hero a lot more meaning.

The other character in the book is Agatha she is a clan member with Down Syndrome who works through her disability to find a new ability. She struggles with her disability at first causing a little bit of trouble and almost get exiled. But later finding herself and being a huge asset to the adventure.

Heng Man, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:44 am

The Good Hawk has become one of my favourite books. My favourite part was when Agatha finds out that the king threw his son off the cliff. It changed some of the purposes of the journey. The purpose of the whole journey was to save Agatha and Jamie’s clan, but they met the Norwegian prince and he said that he would help them and they could exchange him for their clan. I also loved when at the end Queen Nathara lost her locket and it gets left as a cliff hanger. I also loved when Agatha discovered she could communicate with animals and how the tribe suddenly liked her as if she’s like a goddess.

Emmy, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:44 am

This book is a fantasy fiction book. I would really recommend this book to 12-14 year olds because it is quite a lot to take in and has lots of twists. I loved it!

I really enjoyed this book because it was full of so many twists and different opinions about life and what different people believe. When the two clans meet I can tell that Jamie is shocked by how they look after their bulls and cows the same as their own people and how they don’t mind who you marry, when in Jamie and Agatha’s clan, their elders choose who they should marry.

My favourite character is really hard to choose but I would probably say Agatha. This is because she is really different and unique as she can speak to animals and also because of how sensitive but also how jealous she can be. She loves climbing which she is really good at. She also has Down’s Syndrome.

My favourite part of the book was when Jamie was stuck on a rock surrounded by werewolves all alone. This is my favourite part because you don’t know what is going to happen next and it’s all exciting. Soon Cray (from a different clan) rescued him and he told him to jump on his bull, but it was too big a jump, then it ends and on to the next chapter… so you have no idea what has happened and if he is okay, and did he get eaten?! In the next chapter Agatha is swept away on someone’s bull trying to flee the werewolves away from the baby tent. They had a good plan where they were going to have a stampede as soon as they got to the top of the hill… there were hundreds upon hundreds of werewolves waiting for them at the top of the hill. It was havoc. Agathe could speak to the animals in her head, she got their attention by screaming silently, and all the animals were in distress, but it was too much for her head and it hurt so she soon fainted, only to be woken up by Jamie!

I also enjoyed the way the author wrote chapters from different characters giving different perspectives

Chong Man, Ardingly

13th November 2020 at 8:43 am

I think the Good Hawk was a very interesting book, it had an unexpected and exciting plot. However at the beginning it was hard to understand what was going on, like when it was talking about how she was a hawk and I didn’t know at first what it was but later on I found out that it was a job that they had in their tribe. I liked the characters and their personalities especially Agatha and Jamie, they worked well together and Agatha was a very determined girl, how she tries hard to prove her worth to everyone, that she can do things and she is right. Jamie on the other hand is more scared of everything but later on he develops into a brave and daring boy like when in the castle he was brave enough to go to the creature to test out his theory. My favourite part was when they meet the queen in the castle because she was quite unique and it was interesting when she thought Jamie was her brother, how he discovers she could kind of control the creatures and it was the creatures that helped her survive and bring her food.

Dan, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:37 am

The Good Hawk was a very good book, I liked it because it really hooked you in and caught you off guard with some unexpected moments like when the king of Norveg killed his son. Although I found the start hard to get into, with a bit of determination and patience the book was flowing in no time with bits of excitement on every page and it made the wait worth it.

In the book my favourite character was Agatha this is because of her determination to prove her worth and everyone else wrong. She is a truly inspiring character because she does not let her disability hold her back and she does everything possible to pursue her dreams. In some ways I also thought that her disability made her stronger emotionally mentally and physically; I think this was because it gave her a confidence boost when people put her down because it showed her how easily she could prove them wrong and how wrong they really were.

I also really liked the character of Jamie. Although he wasn’t, in my opinion, as inspiring as Agatha he still showed many inspiring moments that show why he is such a big character in the book, for example when having a fear of the ocean you wouldn’t expect to be given a job on a fishing boat but Jamie was and although sometimes it got the better of him in terms of sea sickness he still fought valiantly and faced his fears when his ship was set on fire by Agatha and he was forced to jump right into his biggest fear without a seconds hesitation this is why he was still truly inspiring and a major character in the Good Hawk book.

Isabella, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:34 am

I like how The Good Hawk was written in first person and each chapter from a different perspective of each person. It makes me feel like I’m in the book and it helps me understand how they feel and what’s going on. I think it was a really good story, and my type of story as it was an adventure. I love adventure books and fantasy books, it was like a book that is set in our world but different and magical. I really liked it. My favourite moment in the story was towards the end when Agatha was willing to risk herself to save her people that were captured by the Viking tribe. She exposed herself to the shadow creatures hoping that her people would stay safe. I would recommend this book to any kids a bit older around 12, because it’s an advanced book with a really good story!

Oscar T, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:30 am

My opinion on the weaknesses in the book.

In the novel, they used Scottish Gaelic which for me was hard to understand and made the book not as enjoyable to read. This interrupted the flow of the book and made it hard to follow. Also, the language used by Agatha was also hard to read because she had Down Syndrome so she would stutter and wouldn’t speak some sentences properly for example she said “I am trying to be quickly”.

My opinion on the strengths of the novel.

However, during the novel I enjoyed reading the parts where Agatha could talk to animals in her mind and make them like her and get them to do things she wanted them to do. I thought it was very clever and made me enjoy the book a lot more. As well, I quite enjoyed reading about Milkwort the vole (who lived in Agatha’s breast pocket) because it was exciting to see what he could do and what he was going to do next, like when he ran away from Agatha and came back later to her.

The book had a dual narrative, some short chapters and was split into three sections- Skye, Scotia and Norveg.

It made the book a bit confusing at times with the 3 sections as you did not know where the other clans were coming from each time they appeared.

I really liked having a dual narrative because the two points of view bring me more interest into the story line.

The book showed that Agatha was a normal person, but when you read more into the book you could see that Agatha was a bit different to the others, so overall the book shows that just because someone is different to you doesn’t mean that you should treat them differently and that they could achieve the same as an ordinary person.

Links to other similar books/movies.

I haven’t seen Game of Thrones but I’ve heard that this is similar to this book because there are clans fighting each other and quite science-fiction so if you like the Game of Thrones I would recommend this book to you.


I would recommend this book to people between 12-16 years old and would rate the book 3 out of 5 stars, the reason being is that it took me a while to understand and get into the book as the language confused me when reading as the author wrote in the book a lot of Scottish Gaelic.

Hope, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:29 am

When I first started reading the Good Hawk, I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it or not. After a while, I began to feel like I was in the actual book with Jaime, Agatha and all of the other characters, I couldn’t put it down. There was death, surprise, plot twists and I loved every minute of it.

Theo, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:29 am

I have read The Good Hawk and found it fascinating, empowering the idea that what you look like or what you’ve been through isn’t nearly as important as who you are. The chapters of the books were taken in turn by 3 different characters of the book; Agatha, Jaime and Nathara where they shared their various story of their life and their viewpoint. My personal favourite part of the story was actually one of the saddest, when Queen Nathara is killed. This is because at the start of meeting her I found her very curious and a bit strange but over the story I grew to her and understood she was just very confused but a really kind and caring person. So just as I was warming to her after all the effort she put in to help, she was killed. I did enjoy reading this book as it was thrilling and shows anyone can do anything if they are a good person. I recommend this book to anyone who believes they are not good enough or they don’t look nice, because anyone can be a hero.

Barney, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:25 am

I think it is a great book, in the book you don’t know what is going to happen next. This made the book exciting and addictive, one example of this is when the king of Norveg kills his son, this was very unexpected!

I also liked the characters in the book, for example at the start of the book Jamie is quite scared and reluctant to do things but as you get deeper into the book you find out that his confidence grows.

Also it is unusual for a main character in a book to be disabled. I think this should be the case more often because we learn to appreciate that everyone has good points and is different in every way and we should respect that. It also shows in the book that Agatha is so determined to be the best she can at her job and doesn’t respond to set backs. I thought it was very cool when she could speak to the animals to help protect herself.

The one thing I didn’t like about the book is that a lot of it was written in Gaelic, this meant sometimes it could be difficult to understand, and sometimes could be confusing, one bit that was also confusing is that there were 3 different perspectives and sometimes I could get muddled up.

But overall I think that it is a great book and I would recommend it to people in years 8-9. I would rate it a 3.5/5

Scarlett, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:24 am

I found this book quite unusual as there were many different features, such as the tribes and myths that are told. The story is set over about 2 weeks. The genre is an adventure story, it had a strong start as Agatha, one of the main characters, sets fire to a boat.

There are 2 main characters in this story, Agatha and Jamie. Agatha is a 15 year old girl who has Down Syndrome, she is slightly different to everyone else but I think that this makes her unique and makes her more interesting. Even though she has Down Syndrome she is very strong minded and is determined to get her way. Agatha can also talk to animals in this book. Jamie is the second main character, he is 16. He also has a strong personality but is a timid character, although near the end he becomes courageous and saves his clan.

This book is written in 1st person and the writer changes perspective of the characters, Agatha and Jamie, in each chapter. I think that this was a good way of writing as it helped me understand each character’s point of view.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy adventure books, and books with some mystery in them. This is a good book as it shows an example of someone who has a disability (Down Syndrome) but shows that she doesn’t care if she’s different and she embraces the fact that she has a strong personality and is a great character. I enjoyed reading this book although it wasn’t the type of book I would usually read. I did find some aspects of it hard to understand but I would recommend this book to readers.

Iris, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:17 am

I found The Good Hawk interesting because it had lots of different characters and settings that make the book a lot more interesting. I also liked the book because it was very gripping making you want to continue reading and find out what happens next. However fairy tale story books are not really my favourite genre of books. Overall I really liked this book and would definitely recommend it to my friends and family.

Darcey, Ardingly

6th November 2020 at 10:16 am

I found The Good Hawk a very engaging story because there was always something going on. It was gripping and full of action. I always wanted to read on and on, especially as the book progressed. The only thing that I didn’t really enjoy about the book is that I found the chapters slightly hard to read when Agatha was narrating because I had to keep re-reading sentences. But I found it really interesting how the author decided to represent people with Down Syndrome because I haven’t read or heard about a book that does the same and it felt very inclusive. I didn’t really connect to one character in particular but I loved how the characters interacted with each other and how they really cared for each other. My favourite part of the book was right at the very end when Agatha learned to channel her anger out of her and managed to speak to the animals again. I think it really represented how she has grown throughout the book. The different ways the different clans thought and acted showed great diversity and I felt that it represented how that some people might be accepted in one place but not another.

I think that the book would be suitable for people of secondary school age so about 12+ because there is death and I think that people under that age would find the book hard to read. Overall I really enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it.

Anna E, Ardingly

24th October 2020 at 5:26 pm

Elliot’s novel is based on the Isle of Skye in medieval times, when there were clans (tribes.) Our heroine, Agatha, and hero, Jamie, have a peaceful life on Skye until their clan is betrayed and the Norwegians take them all as slaves apart from Agatha and Jamie who were on the sea at the time. The two must now make the journey to Norveg (Norway) in search of their clan. They must cross desolate and mysterious Scotia and sail across the North Sea. But after all their efforts will they find their clan?
I really enjoyed The Good Hawk Because I liked the adventure and escapism from the real world even though the author dealt with modern issues that occur today. My favourite character was Agatha because she was cleverer than her clan thought and very brave. She is looked down upon because she is different from the other children in her clan. But she does not let that stop her and make her feel down.
Anyone who likes adventure, a gripping read and escapism from the real world should read this book.

Emma, Ardingly

24th October 2020 at 5:25 pm

The Good Hawk is not necessarily a book I would choose to read myself but I am glad I did. At the beginning of the book it did not really capture me but, when I got a little bit further in the book and the plot started to unroll, it became interesting and exciting. I found the way this book was written really interesting because it makes you wonder when and where the book was written. I found it really cool how they used different clans and sort of metaphors to describe the Vikings and different clans. My favourite moment in the story was when Agatha and Jamie met the bull riders. I like their characters and how their clan will accept anyone. I would recommend this book to people who like history, adventures or learning to overcome something.

Evelyn S, Ardingly

24th October 2020 at 5:24 pm

This gripping tale kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and I couldn’t put it down! I loved how one of the protagonists has Down Syndrome because it shows that even if you have a disability you can still be incredibly brave. I think this book is very well written and it was easy to imagine what was going on in my head as everything was described beautifully. The Bo Riders and Highland bulls where definitely my favourite characters because of how they treated each other in comparison to Clan-a tuath, who only did what the elders wanted and taught them to do. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that sometimes when reading it, I couldn’t tell whose chapter I was on, Agatha’s or Jaimie’s. I could go a whole chapter from Jamie’s point of view and think it was Agatha. And this didn’t only happen with those two characters, it seemed like everyone was written in the same way and the only thing separating them was their role in the plot. But this is just my opinion. Overall, The Good Hawk is one of my favourite books ever and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Lucia, Mayfield School

24th October 2020 at 5:22 pm

Lucia, Mayfield School

The Good Hawk

I have really, really enjoyed this book. It is gripping, exciting and thrilling. At first I found it quite confusing because it swaps between characters, however, after a while you get used to it and it is very enjoyable. I would really recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and a bit of fantasy. I feel like it has a hint of reality, fantasy, the future and the past all in the same book, which I really like and it makes the book very interesting.

Neil, Ardingly

24th October 2020 at 9:56 am

The Good Hawk (written by Joseph Elliott) is a gripping story, set in mythic Scotland, during the Dark Ages, when Norsemen constantly raided and invaded British shores. The main character is Agatha, a girl from Clan-a-Tuath, and lookout for any invasion by sea, for her town, on the Isle of Skye. Her friend is an Angler boy, called Jamie, he hates the sea, despite his job being a fisherman, and suffers from anxiety.

The book is split into chapters, from the perspectives of different characters.

Agatha has Down Syndrome, making people believe she isn’t capable of doing all the jobs others can do. She is resilient, loyal, brave and kind, never giving up. Agatha’s special ability is to be able to communicate with animals. Her pet is a vole, called Milkwort.

A way into the book, her Clan is attacked by Vikings and their town is sacked and their people enslaved and shipped off to Norway. Agatha and Jamie, escape the carnage and embark on an adventure across plague-ridden, mainland Scotland, meeting new characters along the way (such as the Bo Riders). They face evil spirits and ‘Shadows’, and of course the ruthless Norwegian Viking warriors, under their chief Cnutr. Their aim, to free their enslaved Clan from the Vikings in Norway.

The Story is set in real history (however, it has a good number of historical inaccuracies: For instance, there was no plague in Scotland at this time), But as the book clearly states it is a fantasy, it doesn’t matter too much.

It includes four different languages, Scottish Gaelic, spoken by the Clan elders, some Ancient Pictish, a form of Old Norse, spoken by the invaders and English. The landscape, the Isle of Skye and Scotland, was picked by Joseph Elliott, because he visited Scotland many times and he liked the country. The dramatic back-drop definitely adds to the story.

Charlie, Ardingly

24th October 2020 at 9:55 am


Personally, I do not really like fantasy books, but this changed my mind because it was intriguing, exciting and interesting. Something that I liked about the book was that it had two different views on what was going on. It had Agatha and Jaime’s view on what was happening, and sometimes they would disagree with what was going on so you would always get two views on what was happening. So I liked the way it was written in the first person.

I think at some points in the book I got very confused with what was going on, for example when Agatha was punched by one Maistir Ross I thought she was dead when she wasn’t, but apart from that it was very good and had a good story line and after a while all of it was starting to patch up together and make more sense. Which ended up leading into a good story. One of the things that I enjoyed was the fact that Agatha has Down Syndrome and sometimes gets bullied and mocked for her disability but she deals with it well and comes back stronger and proves her doubters wrong. My favourite moment in the story was Agatha meeting the bull riders and they find out she has a special power because even though she’s got a disability she has an ability no one else has. It almost gives her confidence now that she knows she has a magical ability and some people do appreciate her. I would recommend this book because it really got me gripped into the story and I wanted to know what happens next, but I would suggest it to a younger age category. Because at some points in the book I thought it would be better for a younger age category I still think this age category would enjoy it but I think it would be better for a younger age category

Matilda, Ardingly

24th October 2020 at 9:55 am


I thought this book was a fun adventure to go on and enter this world of fantasy and invention. My favourite parts were when they found the bulls and Agatha beat Crayton (one of the best bull fighters) and when Naratha came out of her house for the first time since she was about 5. My favourite character was Agatha as she always thought of the positive in everything and she was so sweet even if she was trying her hardest and she wasn’t succeeding, she was still positive in everything she did.

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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