Title: Cuckoo’s Flight
Author: Wendy Orr
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Pajama Press
Release Date: March 30, 2021
A new gripping Bronze Age story from Wendy Orr, internationally acclaimed author of Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance
Clio can’t remember a time when she didn’t share a bond with the mare Grey Girl. On the whole island of Crete, she and her Trojan-born father are the only people who raise and ride horses—and she couldn’t live without it. Between the freedom of the pasture and the safety of her grandmother Leira’s pottery studio, Clio always has had everything she needed.
Then an accident stole Clio’s ability to ride, or even to walk without a crutch. The weather changed and summers grew drier. Now raiders are preying on nearby towns. As anxiety builds, a terrible pronouncement is issued by the palace: at the spring festival, a girl between the ages of twelve and fourteen will be chosen to save the town from disaster. She will be sacrificed as an offering to the mother goddess.
In Cuckoo’s Flight, internationally bestselling author Wendy Orr returns to the Bronze-Age setting of her critically acclaimed novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. With her signature blend of striking prose and emotionally taut verse, she immerses readers in a thrilling coming-of-age story as Clio battles the political power of the palace and her own feelings of inadequacy to save her town, her horses, and perhaps even herself.
In the Bronze Age, Clio lives with her family and grandmother who makes pottery. Clio has a bond with their horse Grey Girl, but after falling off her, Clio must walk with a crutch and can’t ride anymore. When raiders approach their town, everyone is on edge. The oracle announces that there will have to be a sacrifice of a young girl. Clio feels like she’s destined to be the sacrifice, but she does everything she can to save her village.
This story was set in the same world as Wendy Orr’s books Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. The stories are related but you don’t have to read the others to understand this one. I love the format that these books are written in. Most of the story is written in prose, but some parts are written in verse. The verses reminded me of Ancient Greek texts. The story is accessible for a modern reader, but it has the appearance of an Ancient Greek story.
This story had representation of a disability. Clio fell off a horse and damaged her hip. She had to walk with a crutch and she couldn’t ride a horse anymore. Her father built her a chariot so she could still travel with her horse. Though this story was set in a different time period and Clio had restrictions that a child today wouldn’t have with a disability, this story had great representation of a child with a disability that I haven’t seen often in children’s books.
This is a beautiful middle grade story.
Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr
Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr
Other books in the series:
Have you read Cuckoo’s Flight? What did you think of it?