The Falconer's Apprentice by Malve von Hassell

The Falconer's Apprentice by Malve von Hassell
Published by: Namelos
Publication date: February 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age
Pages: 224

Reviewer's note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you are interested in seeing this book on Amazon, click the link on the book cover. 

The Plot: The Falconer's Apprentice is the engaging coming-of-age story of an orphaned youth, Andreas. An impulsive decision to spare the life of a beautiful falcon, Adela, sets him on a course to find his destiny. Andreas and Adela fall in with Richard, a trader who specializes in falcons and his daughter Gemma, on their journey from Northern Germany to Southern Italy. Along the route Andreas encounters counts, kings and emperors, simple country folk, jugglers and healers. As Andreas experiences the world around him, his life is changed and he realizes his ultimate destiny. 

The Characters: The main characters; Andreas, Richard and Gemma, are well drawn. Andreas is an intelligent youth with limited options. Richard, subtly tutors him and opens his eyes to the world at large. The author includes several historical figures including the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II and his son Enzo of Sardinia. I appreciated learning more about these men and their life. 

The History: I enjoyed the historical setting for this book, mid-13th century Europe. The character Richard instructs, not only Andreas, but the reader as well. I found myself pulled into their world and appreciated the authentic feel of the story. Including such tidbits as the story of the pasta known as tortellini was a bonus. 

The Writing: The writing is very good with lots of great descriptive language. The pace is however, very slow. This is a story to savor, not to zip through.  I did not spot any grammatical errors. Kudos to a great editor. 

Overall opinion: I must admit that when I began this book, I was not aware that its target audience was children (age 11-15). As an adult reader, I enjoyed the slow-paced tour of medieval Europe from Germany through the Alps and down into Italy. I felt like I was sitting beside Gemma in her colorful caravan, while being pulled along a dusty track by two plodding mules. I had time to look around and see the countryside as it gently passed. Are there kids out there who will take the time to appreciate this book, free of wizards, dragons or vampires? I hope so. 

Recommendation: Any reader, young or old, who enjoys history will appreciate this delightful book. 

My Rating: I give this book ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars

My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend


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