Review: Cuckoo’s Flight

Continuing in the same fantasy world as her two previous novels – Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance, Cuckoo’s Flight’s main attraction is the shared prose and verse style that Wendy Orr employs to create vivid images that bring every scene to life. 

The powerful, generous-hearted, disabled protagonist, Clio, powers the story.

Full of resilience and courage, compassion and kindness, and on the cusp of womanhood, Clio refuses to allow her disability to define who she is or steal from her, what she is capable of becoming.

Bronze Age Crete is an era of tightly held traditions and customs, priestesses, oracles and sacrifices – animal and human. Close to the sea, sailors, traders, potters, and other technicians live guided by the tides and the Moon.

Envy and greed play a large role in this story. Juxtaposed beautifully against these negative emotions, are the unchanging bonds that tie the women and girls together. 

Frequently, compassion, trust and friendships are tested but never severed.

Preparations draw closer for the annual sacrifices demanded by the Great Mother to keep the town safe. Leira, Clio’s grandmother, creates a priestess image to offer up in place of a live sacrifice. Then she dies. Clio must safeguard this offering in her place.

When Clio’s best friend Delia is chosen as the sacrifice, Clio, regardless of her limitations, will move heaven and earth to save her. This seems small in comparison to what awaits the town.

With her father and the men away on a trading mission, raiders decide to attack in order to steal and enslave the women and children.

But Clio is determined to fight till the end to save her town. Driving the chariot her father built for her, she goes at the Lady’s bidding, to take messages and bring help by offering trust and purpose to the poorer, purple people who have lived till then, as slaves in poverty.

Cuckoo’s Flight is multi-layered with sub-stories entering and exiting. Fast-paced drama, action and emotion, build tension, especially in the descriptive battle scenes.

Orr has immersed herself completely in the places she writes about to build authentic settings and exciting characters,

This brilliant novel claims the reader’s attention from the first page and doesn’t release it till the last word.

Title: Cuckoo’s Flight
Author: Wendy Orr
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $16.99
Publication Date: 2 March 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760524913
For ages: 9 – 13
Type: Junior Fiction

May 19, 2021 at 12:30PM Anastasia Gonis