MG Adventure/Survival Story Review: Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson
Falcon Wild Author: Terry Lynn Johnson Format: Hardcover Publisher: Charlesbridge Number of Pages: 197 Published: September 19th, 2017
Source: A copy of Falcon Wild was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. More books by Terry Lynn Johnson with links to my reviews: Ice Dogs & Sled Dog School
Opening lines: " Stark senses my fear and pulls at the jesses around her feet. I stroke her breast feathers to calm us both." Karma loves helping her dad at the sanctuary providing demonstrations of their birds of prey, one day she hopes to start an apprenticeship to be a Falconer. Karma also loves Stark, a gyrfalcon which she has a special attachment with after finding her on the side of the road and helping nurse her back to health. During one of their demonstrations, Karma is inadvertently injured by Stark but blames herself for getting distracted. Then Karma gets the shocking news that Stark's owner has been located in Canada and she has to be returned. To try and make the terrible news easier, Karma's dad offers to drive Karma and her brother across Montana to Canada to return the bird. Reluctantly, Karma agrees and they set out on their road trip, only stopping when Karma convinces her dad to offer a lift to a boy her age who's hitchhiking. Cooper turns out to be elusive about his reasons for needing the ride and only stays until they reach their next turn off. As the family continues on their way they notice their cell phone has mysteriously disappeared and then they suddenly blow a tire causing the vehicle to flip, trapping their dad and accidentally Stark is released from her cage. Karma is devastated but realizes that without a cell phone, she has to go for help, so she starts walking down the path they were heading before the accident. Unfortunately, she too gets trapped in a pit, until Cooper suddenly appears saying he saw Stark circling overhead and offers to help her out. Karma reluctantly teams up with Cooper and they continue to try and locate the highway, encountering many obstacles along the way. Johnson is wonderful at writing riveting survival stories, the kind of stories that instantly grab your attention with characters that you can't help but root for. I also love her settings with previous books being in Alaska and Falcon Wild set in the backcountry of Montana with all the hardships that nature can possibly throw in your way to overcome. Everything from hunger, wild bears, harsh terrain and unpredictable weather to an infection that is getting steadily worse. Always with this sense of urgency. Johnson also brings her passion for animal conservation and personal knowledge to the story through the details Karma shares with Cooper about her work raising and caring for birds of prey, falconry and her love for Stark. It's immensely interesting and educational, not overly done and highlights the sort of bond that can exist between humans and animals. At first, I didn't like Cooper as he's the one suspected in stealing the cell phone, but as he gets to know Karma and starts to share his own backstory, he also started to grow on me and their budding friendship was pretty sweet. Karma and Stark are definitely the stars and I'm happy they were able to stay together. Overall, this is another excellent survival story from Terry Lynn Johnson and now I'm looking forward to checking out her Survivor Diaries series as well.