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Ghost Hawk: 10/30/15
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper I purchased on an impulse, on the knowledge that I have enjoyed many of Cooper's books in the past. I wish I had taken more time before making this decision.
Little Hawk is sent out into the winter forest to fast and find his manitou. If he survives the season and has a vision he will return to the village a man. When he returns, though, most of the village is dead from a disease introduced by the nearby white village.
On the flip side, there's little John Wakely, a Puritan colonist. He too has recently lost his father but he knows the local natives are friendly. So he and Little Hawk are destined to become BFFs.
Before I even got to the Puritan part of the story, I hated the book. Cooper at her best still only manages clunky dialogue. Her children are rarely genuine sounding but they're usually in the middle of some fantastical adventure that it doesn't matter if the dialog is a little dry.
Here though, the story's presented as historical fiction. Clearly even with the research she did, she's out of her element, which is shown in the stilted, overly formal voice she gives for Little Hawk. He never thinks in contractions. If one word will do to describe something, he'll use three. Nearly every sentence in Little Hawk's section are written as a three part list of actions, separated by commas, with an extra bit of a reaction separated by an em-dash. It's about as exciting as reading a book report or a laundry list.
The inclusion of John and the other Puritans shows just how token Little Hawk and the rest of his people are to this book. The prospect of having to suffer through another story of misunderstood Puritans just trying to survive in their newfound eden was more than I could bear.