Saturday, January 13, 2018

REVIEW: Hawk's Spell by Sonia Taylor Brock

One thing I love about reading is how I can open up a book and disappear to another world, visit a different country, experience another time, a new culture, and meet whole hosts of new people. I can be anyone. It is an escape from the daily grind. It is a vacation without ever having to walk out my front door. Some days, it is everything.

Now, I mentioned new places and cultures... right? And new people?

I have never physically been to Louisiana. I’ve read a lot, and I do mean quite a few books that are set in Louisiana, and in the bayou too. But not one of them has made me feel quite so immersed in bayou-life or people as the books of The Swamp Witch series have. So today I’m going to take a few minutes and talk about the third book (or fourth depending on how you’re counting) in that series.

Hawk’s Spell
by Sonia Taylor Brock

The first thing you need to know about this book is that you really do need to read the previous books in the series to be able to pick up and understand this story. I really feel that without the “back story” from The Inheritance of a Swamp Witch and A Witch’s Welcome, you simply can’t follow the vast array of characters and the threads of stories that are being told.

The second thing that you need to know is that the writing style of this book, and the whole series, is quite different from anything you will have ever likely seen before. Certainly, I have never read anything quite like it. It’s not just the perspective or point-of-view that’s different, though it is, but the writing style (it’s almost but not really like reading a newspaper report) and the language too. The author writes much of the dialogue phonetically so that as you read you hear in your mind the Cajun Patois – that signature Cajun accent and dialect when the character is speaking Cajun. It honestly adds so much color to the story and gives simple depth to the characters themselves.

Now on to the story itself... I was intrigued by Hawk, or Robert Brown-Wing Eschte, right off. The Thunder-Hawk is of a mythos you don’t, or I haven’t, seen a lot of before, and I was honestly interested in finding out how the author would build and develop his character. An fascinating prospect at any time but most especially at a point when everything in his life is tossed into chaos. There is a certain something, and I still haven’t figured out exactly what it is, that made Hawk stand out in my mind amongst all the characters of the series and this book. And it wasn’t just because he turns into a bi-plane sized hawk either. (eek, spoiler, #sorrynotsorry! LOL!)

In a very real sense, Hawk’s Spell is about this bird-man, and his family, dealing with a deep personal loss. Individually they all need to learn how to cope with that loss and also how to move on from it. But as you may expect, within the world of The Swamp Witch nothing is as straight-forward, nor as simple or as complex as you’d think. In that realm, loss is not always a loss, and there can be an extremely fine line between life and death.

Learning more about Hawk’s history and following along with his struggles with grief, and the long road to acceptance he must traverse, made Hawk’s Spell a truly moving story to read. It had moments that made me laugh out loud at the humor but, most importantly in my opinion, it touched my heart. Much as the other books in the series also managed to include many aspects of fancy, intrigue, myth, and madness, Hawk’s story had just enough of everything to keep me hooked from beginning to end.

If you’re looking for a series to read, especially if you’re open to the various differences that make this particular series special, then I wholeheartedly recommend the books of The Swamp Witch series.

In the meantime, I’ll be patiently waiting for Jean Lafitte’s story which, as mentioned yesterday in Sonia’s author interview, is slated for release this Spring (2018).


And don’t forget friends & readers -  enter to win all 4 of the books currently available in The Swamp Witch series (in paperback) and some lucky swag from the author. The contest is only open until midnight January 18th, with the winner being announced on Friday January 19th.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!!!

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