The first book, THE WAYFINDER, was published in 2000 and a new edition came out last month (June, 2019) with a fantastic new cover. The second story, THE FALCONER, releases this month. A Heartland Tale is not a series in the traditional sense with an ending cliffhanger leading you into the next adventure. Instead we have two different stories—young Winchal Eldras is our protagonist in book one and his granddaughter, Britt, takes control in book two.
Here’s what to expect:
A great loss has frozen Win’s heart.
He cares for nothing.
But a plague is spreading like wildfire across the Heartland.
Win must use his Wayfinding skills to descend into the great Rift, for beyond it lies the Well of Life. Only its waters will heal the plague.
The Heartland depends on him. Can he put his loss behind him and fight for the Heartland?
MY THOUGHTS: The Heartland is the setting for this magical fantasy. Short chapters almost always end with a page turning scene. Our likeable hero, Win, is a Wayfinder. He can find almost anything whether it be a person, place, or thing. An internal force leads him in the right direction. But one unfortunate miscue has him doubting his bravery and abilities. He’s chosen for a trip into the Rift to hopefully save his homeland. The journey is perilous and he is joined by Lady Kala, a dog who is devoted to the Prince. The canine is not an easy one to travel with.
Wolves, crocodiles, and some other unworldly creatures add increased tension to the exhausting journey. The ending wraps up all the plot points in marvelous fashion. A big recommend for a summertime read. One could also use the story to read out loud in the classroom or at home. Find this book and you’ll be transported to a new world with an unforgettable Wayfinder.
Here’s a peek at book 2:
Britt’s only goal is to become a falconer.
She steals a gyrfalcon egg in hopes of raising a chick.
But the fierce Zendi, who’ve conquered the Heartland, appear on her doorstep.
She’s pulled into their conflict.
Their prophecies warn of a Wayfinder and a Bell.
She’s just an apprentice Wayfinder.
But she’s the only one who has a Finding for the missing Bell.
Can Britt and her falcon journey together across the Heartland, Find the Bell and save her people?
This is the story of a falconer, a courageous girl who strides out of the north country and into legend.
MY THOUGHTS: A much slower pace is not a problem here as everything leads Britt, the thirteen year old heroine, to a climatic finish. Despite some misgivings, Britt comes to realize she’ll have to take things into her own hands. She might lose everything including her life.
The world building is laid out in an engaging fashion. Britt’s internalization of her surroundings and predicament makes for fine story telling. The third person point of view stays close to Britt the entire way. It’s also nice to have female protagonist in our male dominated fantasy world.
Britt’s love of animals goes beyond the respect she shows for her beloved gyrfalcon, Tatty Mog. A connection is also made to Ravens and a grumpy pack mule named Stubborn. She and her falcon must also hunt wild animals, but she does so to survive.
As in book one, a map of the Heartland is displayed on two pages before the chapters begin. It’s a nice way to visualize where the tale will take place. I’m not sure if we’ll see another Heartland Tale, but I’m hoping another generation of this family springs forth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Published in nine languages, children’s book author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison has been published with Harcourt, Philomel/Penguin, Harpercollins, Arbordale, and Mims House. Her books received recognition for excellence with starred reviews in Kirkus, BCCB and PW. Twice her books have been honored as National Science Teacher’s Association Outstanding Science Trade books. The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman (Harcourt) received an Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature Honor Book award, was named a Notable Book in Language Arts, and has been reprinted in a Houghton Mifflin textbook.