Cuckoo’s Flight by Wendy Orr. Pajama Press, 2021. 9781772781908
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Historical fiction
What did you like about the book? Clio lives with her family of potters in Bronze Age Crete. Supplying the local living goddess with vessels and figurines is an honor, but Clio doesn’t have the talent of her mother or grandmother, and would much rather be out in the meadow with her beloved mare, Gray Girl. She feels like a failure there, too, as an accident has made her lame in one leg and she cannot actually ride horses any longer. Then a chance sighting of a raiders’ ship throws the village into chaos, and Clio must decide if she can trust Mika, an impoverished girl from the fishers’ settlement nearby, to care for Gray Girl. The chaos is heightened by an impending human sacrifice as supplication to the gods for protection from the raiders, and Clio fears it will be her, as she feels she is no good to anyone.
Orr’s signature combination of prose interspersed with poetic passages allows the reader to feel intensely what Clio feels. The setting of ancient Crete vibrantly resonates with the acute senses of a young girl coming of age in a turbulent time. Allusions to history and mythology are juxtaposed with the daily challenges and indignities of living with a disability. There is genuine suspense, as internecine fighting and fear of the coming invasion accelerate. This is #3 in the Minoan Wings series, and is a wonderful, immersive experience of coming of age in an ancient civilization. It can be enjoyed without having read the previous titles.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 10-14, especially historical fiction fans and those who enjoyed Orr’s previous books.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and middle school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: May 24, 2021