This advanced reader’s copy was provided by Orion Publishing Group through Netgalley for an honest review. Thank you very much for the opportunity to read this book.
Rebecca Zahabi is a mixed heritage writer based in the UK. She is best known for her debut novel The Collarbound, the first of three books in the Tales from the Edge trilogy – I reviewed Collarbound here.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to review an ARC of the second book in the series – The Hawkling, and so opted to pick up the first book, which to its credit I could not put down.
The sequel picks up immediately after the end of the first book where the rebels on the other side of the pass are massing, refugees are arriving in the city sparking worry in the Nest and the mages are still playing their game of politics. One Highmage who seeks power has a captured Lightborn, she is now a slave to do as ordered, but the rebels are aware of the Lightborns and are ready.
The Hawkling continues the story of Isha & Tatters and slowly builds up to a fantastic climax like the previous installment, meaning that it’s not constant action which leaves Zahabi with some interesting ways to keep the reader engaged through intricate character development and some more pieces of the puzzle in the characters’ arcs. I don’t feel like you notice the slower pace as the characters are as engaging as the plot is compelling. I really enjoyed how Zahabi delved deep into Tatter’s past and gives you his motivations as it brings forth his secrets and you begin to understand why he is the way he is. Isha is thoroughly fleshed out and feels very real as well, learning more about her past and how she fits into the world she now finds herself in. She has to build new alliances to save the people she cares about and is learning how to navigate the Nest politics. These characters work really well together and it was good to see Isha and Tatters develop their uneasy alliance. I also found the Kher story intriguing and loved how Arushi tries to live in both the world of her people and work for the mages at the Nest. She and Isha have a strained relationship and I found myself admiring the way that Zahabi managed to bring this to life and explore it fully, it made for very compelling reading.
The Hawkling is typical of what you’d expect from a second instalment in what is building to be a fantastic trilogy and I found I couldn’t put it down. My only frustration is that there isn’t any more of it and that we have to wait another year for the next instalment. Zahabi’s mastery of the written word really shines in her ability to bring her characters alive and to leave me both frustrated and elated at the end of the novel!
My experience reading The Hawkling has been an incredible one, albeit very intense as I managed to polish it off in a single day – the only breaks being taken for a good cup of tea! I eagerly await the next instalment in the series and look forward to a good re-read before the next release.
If you like character-driven fantasy with very interesting magic systems and world, this is the book for you.