Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Rating: 5 stars
Loving fictional characters is bittersweet. You are so full of joy as you devour their stories, then stand devastated if they either die in-story or that story ends. When I finished reading The Raven Cycle, the devastation struck me hard. I impatiently waited to find out if more from these characters would be released, and was both relieved and delighted at the news that Call Down the Hawk would be published. I did my best to keep my reservations, attempted to keep my hopes down, because surely nothing could be as great as The Raven Cycle had been.
It's a good thing that the lies I told myself did not pan out, because not only was I unable to keep that hope from rising, but Call Down the Hawk was just as amazing as I knew it would be.
Maggie Stiefvater is a master at creating people that readers will not only fall in love with, but be desperate to have them be a part of their real lives. And I call them people, not characters, because that is what she is capable of. They drive her stories, make them even bigger than they are, and make the plot explode into action.
Here's the crux of the matter: the story has been done before by other authors. The particulars are her own, but the idea of a group of people going after those who are different and wanting to kill them for X reason? That has been done so many times, in so many ways, and we know this. But the important thing is that it is done differently here. And the genius this specific tale brightly exists, because, again, Stiefvater's characters make it stand out.
Taking in the leads, Ronan, Declan and Matthew are such variations of themselves. They have their own personalities—even lovely dream Matthew—their own triggers, their joys and secrets. You put them together, and they are a pleasure to behold when in action. Remembering them from the previous series, to now, makes their development stand out even more. Ronan is no longer just that angry teen who lets no one in, Matthew has a lot more to offer other than an adorable cheery and seemingly empty disposition, and Declan... Declan surprised me to no end in this novel. Seeing that mask come down and let us begin to glimpse what lies behind it was surprising and delightful, a tease, a need for more.
Jordan/Hennessy is a punch to the face. There's no other way to describe that duo with the burst of their personalities. You can tell from the beginning that out of all the girls, they will be the ones you remember—which is later made very obvious from the actions that take place. They're two sides of the same coin while retaining their own intricate pieces. Which is captivating, and goes to show what Hennessy (and a dreamer) is capable of as the creator of Jordan, another dreamed self made come to life. Their roles into this new series, along with the cameos of Adam (whose romance with Ronan is such a beautiful and intense thing to behold)—and indirectly, Gansey, made my heart full to bursting.
It's not to say that the antagonistic side of this story holds less importance, but I think there's a purpose in making the “good guys” in the story stand out in this first installment. We're given the cast, and made to have a strong connection with the ones that we will obviously be hoping make it out in the end. We're meant to dislike the Moderators coming after the “Zeds,” as they're referred to, destroying their dreams and saving a world that is supposed to die if those dreamers are allowed to survive.
There's something symbolic and very real to that, I think, if you pay close attention past the plot laid out before you. Something that hits rather close to home.
We're in stasis now, taken away by the enigmatic and seemingly powerful Bryde, with so many pieces dangled about and needing to be solved. Beyond the new Fenian and the likeness of Aurora, beyond the dangers awaiting our heroes, beyond the need to destroy driving the “bad guys” while they ironically attempt to save...the end of the world awaits. We still don't know who will be the match that lights that fire, but I cannot wait go on that ride and see it all burn.