If you dream a fiction and wake up with that fiction in your hands, it becomes fact. And for Maggie Steifvater’s Call Down the Hawk, such a sentiment rings especially true for her protagonists, who dwell in dreams that bleed into reality—a beguiling power befitting of such a beguiling novel.
Any one of Lynch family descent has a penchant for danger, and after their father and mother’s death, the three Lynch brothers—Declan, Ronan, and Matthew—know this fact acutely. As a result, they don certain personas like protective armor, taking necessary precautions to avoid the dangers of their magical world: from Declan’s dullness and mundanity; Matthew’s unflinching upbeat cheerfulness; and Ronan’s tough appearance and scare tactics. Yet, for Ronan, his best efforts to avoid trouble prove futile because it finds him in his dreams.
As a Dreamer, Ronan possesses an uncanny ability to makes his dreams reality, literally; he can draw elements of his dreams into the real world, no matter how harmless or horrible. That’s nothing new for Ronan, but the mysterious voice in his dreams is. Known only as Bryde, the voice sends Ronan on a chase for another Dreamer and toward an evil with enough power to obliterate the whole world.
Alongside Ronan and his brothers, the book fluctuates between two other storylines: Jordan, a girl drawn into the real world by a Dreamer, and Carmen Farooq-Lane, a normal girl tasked with overseeing a Visionary—magical individuals with the power of premonition. Separately, each story line captivates, yet culminated together, the interwoven plot enthralls.
Albeit frequently alternating between each character’s story, the shifts complement the tale’s overall impact, for the intrigue surrounding each story arc keeps you hooked. Each perspective, each character and their sliver of a much larger story, is not only fascinating, but also sheds light into other sectors of the plot as well. While the characters predominately remain independent of one another, meeting only towards the latter portion of the novel, their stories overlap and supplement one another.
However, though this transition of characters is largely enjoyable, I will say that, at times, it did seem to dilute the pacing to some degree. It focused very acutely on fully fleshing out each character and their turn of events, which I liked, yet it slowed down the overall pace a bit.
As for characters and worldbuilding in general, a noteworthy aspect of Call Down the Hawk is that it’s a spin-off of Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series, meaning that many previous characters make a reappearance, and the story’s built upon her previously-crafted magical world. For fans of The Raven Cycle, revisiting this fictional world and its characters will be a real treat, elevating an already-pleasurable reading experience. However, this book can also be enjoyed by those who haven’t read her prior novels.
Enchanting with its multifaceted plot, well-developed characters, and rich creative magic, Call Down the Hawk is a booklover’s dream.