By Lucy Harris
You know those books that start out one way, and you’re anticipating something very distinct from them, and then they just totally change it all up? I’m kind of excited to say that this is one of those books! I read a lot, and although I haven’t read everything, you can definitely see a structure. Now it’s not like I started leafing through this book and all of a sudden, my mind is blown and I’m testing my very existence. But I did like that things turned out much differently than I expected. First of all, I loved the concept. I don't normally drift to fantasy books, but when I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I wanted to read it right away.
In the first installment of a series, Davies conquers his readers' mind’s eye by following Cuauhtémoc and his airborne escapades through 16th-century Mayan civilization just as Europeans were dawning despoil of the Mayan Empire. This story takes place in a time when the world seemed to be proliferating at an almost exponential rate. It occurs in South America in a land known as Maya. The main character, Cuauhtémoc (which means descending eagle), is born into the world as the fulfillment of a prophecy. The storyline follows his life from birth through birdman-school. The book narrates his adventures, experiences, and his brawls with pirate raiders as well as some of his own people. By the time he’s 10, Cuauhtémoc’s accomplishments, confident carriage, and well-reasoned and orderly mind lead him away from his grandfather’s wishes and toward his own ineluctable fate as a birdman—a flying messenger for the Maya. All throughout, he goes on to find a solution to many of the village’s dilemma with intelligible logic, while obtaining allies and friends who support his every move. Through his observation of eagles, Cuauhtémoc knows the ups and downs of flying, and after joining up with the school for birdmen—he easily becomes one of their most skillful and gifted members.
Davies really outshines with his authentic narrative, his characterizations, and his understandable dialogue on this book. What I really like about it is that each of Cuauhtemoc’s adventures bestows a moral that highlights respect and loyalty, another quality significant to young readers. I enjoyed this book and blazed through it in a couple of sittings. I really enjoyed the inventiveness of this book. Seriously, guys, this book plays with your head. It's so gorgeously written, so complex and detailed and still so vague. I recommend this book to anyone. It is a must have, must read for your collection.