'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 13 March 2020

Review: Swallow's Dance

Wendy Orr is famous for her novels Nim's Island and Rescue on Nim's Island, in which Nim is alone in the middle of the ocean.

Swallow's Dance is no less dramatic. Set in the Bronze Age near Santorini at the time of the great volcano eruption, Leira's world turns inside out as her entire village is decimated.

How do you hold onto hope when everything you know is crumbling to dust around you? How can you leave for the unknown when your heart wants to cling to all you hold dear?

Liera's journey is fraught with terrible possibilities.

We first meet Leira as she prepares to start her initiation as a priestess. Not only do we experience a recreation of long forgotten initiation rituals, we realise Leira is no ordinary girl.

Only the elite take such privileged roles in this society. This means her family are wealthy, her life is easy.

But when the earth quakes and dark clouds choke the sky, Leira must learn to survive without the comforts of her old home. Instead of relying on the servants who once catered for her every need, she must work out how to care for others.

Wendy Orr not only brings a strange forgotten land to dramatic life in Swallow's Dance, the language she uses to weave this world is hypnotic. There's a different rhythm to these words, unlike many modern stories. The beat draws you in.

Knowing entire civilisations were wiped out during this time adds to the urgency of Leira's story. There is no guarantee she will survive.

It's why I had to keep turning the pages.

Title: Swallow's Dance
Author: Wendy Orr
Publisher: Allen & Unwin , $16.99
Publication Date: 29 June 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760297879
For ages: 9 years +
Type: Middle Grade Historical Fiction