Cynthia Voigt has been writing Young Adult (YA) novels since her first book in the Tillerman series, Homecoming, was published in 1981. In the 30 years since then, she has published over 30 books and has been nominated and won several writing awards. I recommend all of her books: her characters are beautifully realized and her settings are so clearly rendered that I feel as if I know them. Her girl characters, in particular, are complicated, tough, smart, caring, and insightful.
Girl heroes are in their heyday in young adult literature (great news for girls!) but this has meant that there are not nearly as many contemporary books available for and about boys. Cynthia Voigt’s young adult novel The Wings of a Falcon is a fantastic exception. The novel is the perfect adventure tale and it takes place in Voigt’s Kingdom series (a series which includes Jackaroo, On Fortune’s Wheel, and Elske—all three great adventures starring strong girls). This novel is probably the darkest and the most complicated of the series. The powerful story is the tale of an orphan boy who through his bravery, intelligence, and occasional ruthlessness becomes King. He begins the novel unnamed but later names himself Oriel. He is accompanied on his adventure by his best friend Griff—as loyal, kind, and sensitive as Oriel is brave and ruthless. Together, the pair face raiding Wolfers, rival armies, snow covered mountains, and other dangers.
Like all hero tales, the story ultimately concerns the development of character and the bonds of friendship. Recommended for all, and most especially for any boys looking for a great boy hero tale.