Goodreads: Call Down the Hawk
Series: Dreamer #1
Carmen is hunting Dreamers, hoping to kill them all before one ends the world. Hennessy is forging art, hoping to find the one piece she cannot live without. Ronan is trying to find a way to make his relationship with Adam work. Their lives come together in this stunning start to a new series.
Call Down the Hawk is the first book I have read by Maggie Stiefvater, so I was a little confused going in. I had no idea that this series is a continuation of sorts of The Raven Cycle nor that, since it is, I would be expected to know already all about Dreamers and magic and all the kinds of things that go into worldbuilding in a fantasy series. Still, I stuck with the book and was eventually engrossed by the characters and the world–even though I still am not sure the book includes a well-defined story.
The Lynch brothers drew me into the world from the start. Ronan, of course, with his larger-than-life personality and devil-may-care attitude easily steals the show. Even though he is at times rough around the edges, he has a heart of gold, and it seems impossible not to root for him. Declan, however, proved to be a surprise. On the outside, he is unremarkable and boring. But, once you see past his facade, you understand that he is really as interesting as Ronan, though in his own way. Their lovable family is completed by Matthew, who begins as sort of an endearing puppy, but who experiences growth once his worldview is shaken. Their family dynamics and their love for each other tie the book together, keeping me reading even when I doubted Call the Hawk possessed any plot at all.
Oh, of course, readers know someone is after Dreamers. Eventually we learn why. But this storyline is largely kept separate from Ronan’s and from Hennessy’s, until the end. In the meantime, readers are really just learning about three separate lives: Carmen trying to find Dreamers, Hennessy forging art, Ronan…being Ronan? It becomes apparent why the official summary does not offer a concise distillation of the plot; there is none. Still, I do not expect fans of Stiefvater’s work will mind; they will be contented just to enter her world.
Stiefvater’s prose also deserves a mention as one of the most memorable aspects of the book. It does have a tendency towards excess repetition in an effort to be “lyrical” and “deep,” but, overall, manages to achieve the effect it seems to strive towards: a sense of gravity combined with beauty. I was hesitant of the style at first, but began to appreciate it by the end, though I still think some editing could have helped it feel a bit less overwrought at times.
Call Down the Hawk may not have a structured plotline, may not have a storyline heading anywhere well defined. It does, however, have a cast of sympathetic characters experiencing moments that add to the drama and the tension. And it has a wondrous world, where Dreamers can fashion dreams into reality. I may not know exactly what is happening or why, but I do know I would love to read the sequel.