Wednesday, January 22, 2014

An Eagle's Heart

A local author contacted me after a book review I wrote was published in the local paper.  He asked me if I was interested in reviewing a book he had written, called An Eagle's Heart.  I don't normally take requests like that, but after reading the reviews on Amazon, I was intrigued (especially after seeing that one commenter called An Eagle's Heart the heir to Douglas Adams's Watership Down).  And so I agreed to read the book.  The author, Scott Butcher, gave me a .pdf copy which I started reading on my tablet.  But I got annoyed at that, and ended up just buying the book from Amazon so I could read it on my Kindle.

An Eagle's Heart is mainly the story of several birds.  The Merlin Falcon, a killer of crows, is desperate to find food for him and his mate.  The Great Golden Eagle makes mention that there is prey to be had in the human's Stone Forest.  The two fly there to investigate whether or not this is true.  While in the Stone Forest, the Merlin Falcon kills a crow, an act the other crows will not stand for.  Their leader, Grandfather Crow, forces a Chickadee to either find the Merlin Falcon or else his life and the lives of his friends and family are forfeit.

All in all, I found Butcher's bird drama to be fantastic!  An Eagle's Heart never failed to keep my interest; I kept turning the pages, wanting to know what would happen next.  I was particularly impressed with Butcher's characterization of the birds; he managed to make a cast of unique characters who all behaved very true to their different species.  
My one issue with the book was the dialogue.  I know that the birds are supposed to be speaking in "early dialects that reflect respect and courtesy," which was largely fine; I didn't have an issue with the formality of their speech.  But I found a lot of the dialogue to be repetitive, rather long-winded, and unnatural-sounding.  This was a real shame, as it took away from an otherwise excellent book.

But overall, I really enjoyed An Eagle's Heart.  It's a great story that readers of all ages will enjoy.


Unknown said...

I was surprised you mentioned the 'Watership Down" reference in your review. I think that was my comment, because Butcher's characters reminded me of that amazing book. I think that is what kept me glued to the pages as well. It is so very nice to see such an honest and complete review of my fellow author's book. Well done Scott.

Danny Brown said...

I think the reviewer was referring to my Amazon review, Lockie, where I did mention that I took that from a comment on the blog announcement. :)

Danny Brown said...

Awesome review, and you nailed the tone and audience perfectly.

The dialogue aspect is an interesting one. Reading the preamble to the book made me curious as to how the dialogue would play out, since the author had shared the feedback he'd already received on his decision to use it.

I do wonder what it would have been like with "modern" dialect. Would the narrative had been as whimsical, or would it have made it more relevant (for want of a better word)?

Either way, loved the book, and can only hope there are more tales to come with these characters.