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Swallow's Dance

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I wonder if the first day of Learning is always like this - do the girls on the hill always feel the ground tremble under their feet? Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home - and her family - in pieces. And the goddess hasn't finished with the island yet. With her family, Leira flees I wonder if the first day of Learning is always like this - do the girls on the hill always feel the ground tremble under their feet? Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home - and her family - in pieces. And the goddess hasn't finished with the island yet. With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira has only the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety.


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I wonder if the first day of Learning is always like this - do the girls on the hill always feel the ground tremble under their feet? Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home - and her family - in pieces. And the goddess hasn't finished with the island yet. With her family, Leira flees I wonder if the first day of Learning is always like this - do the girls on the hill always feel the ground tremble under their feet? Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home - and her family - in pieces. And the goddess hasn't finished with the island yet. With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira has only the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety.

51 review for Swallow's Dance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Blue

    Before I start talking about the book, I need to say that as an Australian, I wasn't aware of Wendy Orr who moved to Australia at the age of 21. When I received this parcel from Allen & Unwin and this book was inside, I was stoked. I have always been a massive supporter of Aussie authors and I cannot get enough of them, whether they are self published or not. Overall, I found that this book wasn't for me. There were a lot of elements that I liked about the book but unfortunately it wasn't eno Before I start talking about the book, I need to say that as an Australian, I wasn't aware of Wendy Orr who moved to Australia at the age of 21. When I received this parcel from Allen & Unwin and this book was inside, I was stoked. I have always been a massive supporter of Aussie authors and I cannot get enough of them, whether they are self published or not. Overall, I found that this book wasn't for me. There were a lot of elements that I liked about the book but unfortunately it wasn't enough to keep me enticed. Which is disappointing as I was looking at other works written by Wendy Orr but now I am not in a rush to go out and purchase her other books. Though one day I will, I hope to find her other books more enthralling. I loved that young girls and women are empowered in this book. Usually in historical works, woman are usually just the barer of children. They have no say, they have no power and usually kept in the background and quiet. In Swallow's Dance, woman have a powerful place on earth and it truly is inspiring to see. What I also loved is the effort Orr went through with the research/ idea of this book. At the start of the book you find a little author's note where Orr goes into details about a archaeological dig on the island of Santorini or as it was formally known as Thera, where a small village was discovered with their valuables still inside. When the volcano erupted those that were not injured had the chance to escape, the rest were buried for centuries. Basing a novel on what was found under the earth is truly fascinating and I found Orr's imagination with this story is fascinating. The plot of the story itself was ingenious and had so much promise to it. However, I believe that this story would have been better told from third person rather then first. I am not a massive fan of first person, for me it generally leaves the reader spending to much time in the characters mind rather than following the character through out the story. What was a massive disappointment in this book was our main character Leira spent most of time questioning herself, even in hectic situations where you would think instinct would take over. I mean who really stands still when a volcano is exploding and really start question their next moves. Me? I wouldn't think twice about grabbing my family and running like hell. Unfortunately another fact about this book that let me down was the fact I couldn't relate to any of the characters. There would have been no remorse or tears if the characters died or suffered. They didn't draw me in, even when their survival was at risk. Overall the plot and the history behind this book were amazing however, the characters and the writing style just didn't work for me. Though I will still keep an eye out for her other works.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Story Eater

    The author of Nim’s Island brings readers another island adventure tale about a young girl on an island in the Mediterranean who shares her tale with readers of growing, love, loss, and grief as only the very young can say it. The narrative deftly shifts from prose to poetry and back in a long story-dirge that reminds the world of an island lost to ash and fire long ago. Perhaps one of the most beautiful middle grade/young adult novels I have ever read, Swallow’s Dance is a book I will require m The author of Nim’s Island brings readers another island adventure tale about a young girl on an island in the Mediterranean who shares her tale with readers of growing, love, loss, and grief as only the very young can say it. The narrative deftly shifts from prose to poetry and back in a long story-dirge that reminds the world of an island lost to ash and fire long ago. Perhaps one of the most beautiful middle grade/young adult novels I have ever read, Swallow’s Dance is a book I will require my students to read while they study Ancient Greece and the civilizations around the Mediterranean. This book will supplement any history curriculum and will make a fine leisure read as well. Young readers will not walk away from this book with only a story-the triumph of Leira will linger on their hearts well into adulthood, as many of the great books we adult readers read as children stick with us even in our older age. Wendy Orr also expands the literary style of the typical middle grade novel to encompass more than just prose writing. Lyrical writing and poetic narrative are becoming more popular, as some recently published novels, such as Inside Out and Back Again are written entirely in verse and tell a story, akin to the epic poetry of old. Though the writing style of narrative verse is not for everyone, it could be if it were introduced in the middle grade reading years, as much of the literature of history is written in verse ( The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey, Beowulf, etc.). This is a read children should definitely not miss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Swallow's Dance is the fictionalized story inspired by the real events of a hurricane that occurred in 1625 BCE on the island of Thera (now known as Santorini) that resulted in a huge tsunami on Crete and the speculation of whether the people of Thera were able to flee to Crete before the city was buried. Like Dragonfly Song, Swallow's Dance is told through a combination of prose and free verse. It's a wonderful mix of survival and a coming of age story. Leira is a resilient young girl who endur Swallow's Dance is the fictionalized story inspired by the real events of a hurricane that occurred in 1625 BCE on the island of Thera (now known as Santorini) that resulted in a huge tsunami on Crete and the speculation of whether the people of Thera were able to flee to Crete before the city was buried. Like Dragonfly Song, Swallow's Dance is told through a combination of prose and free verse. It's a wonderful mix of survival and a coming of age story. Leira is a resilient young girl who endures so many hardships once she arrives in Crete. One of her early concerns is that she will never be able to complete her learning to become a woman. An idea that resurfaces throughout the story. She's a maiden trying to trade among the sharks. At the same time, she is trying desperately to care for a mother who has sustained a horrible head injury that has resulted in Aphasia. At one point, she's even forced to give up her identity and turn her back on her people. Despite everything that she endures, she is still strong, fierce and strives to improve her living situation, to one day be free. You can't help rooting for Leira as she vows to honor her people and claim who she is. One of my favorite lines from the story is when Leira takes her mother to a wise woman for healing. It's a sad moment because Leira has just started to realize the gravity of her mother's injuries and that she doesn't know who Leira is. The wise woman believes that an evil ghost has taken her mother's spirit away and in order to return her to who she was, they must surround her with their own memories through song to lead her spirit back to her body so she tells Leira to " Sing her life. Sing of the life and love that only you know, the secrets that tell her spirit that she is its home." **An ARC paperback was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    Swallow’s Dance by Wendy Orr Grade: DNF Release Date: October 1, 2018 An eGalley was provided by Pajama Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Summary: Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home - and her family - in pieces. And the earth goddess hasn't finished with the island yet. With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire wo Swallow’s Dance by Wendy Orr Grade: DNF Release Date: October 1, 2018 An eGalley was provided by Pajama Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Summary: Leira is about to start her initiation as a priestess when her world is turned upside down. A violent earthquake leaves her home - and her family - in pieces. And the earth goddess hasn't finished with the island yet. With her family, Leira flees across the sea to Crete, expecting sanctuary. But a volcanic eruption throws the entire world into darkness. After the resulting tsunami, society descends into chaos; the status and privilege of being noble-born are reduced to nothing. With her injured mother and elderly nurse, Leira must find the strength and resourcefulness within herself to find safety. My Thoughts: I went into this book wanting to like it, as the description was intriguing to me—Bronze Age setting, priestess-in-training protagonist, coming of age. I must not have done enough research on the book, however, because I was unaware that the book would switch around from prose to free verse. I personally have difficulty getting into books told in verse, but I pushed through it because I hoped that the prose would be interesting enough to keep me engaged. I ended up giving up at 50% of the way through—the main character and her family had interesting enough stories, but I never felt like I could connect with them enough to keep myself interested. I wanted to care, and I found that I couldn’t. Verdict: This book wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean that no one else will like it! Still give it a shot, especially if you enjoyed other books by this author and also like books in verse.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    I loved this book! It stayed with me for a long time. There are many significant themes that shine throughout the story. Thank you to Wendy Orr and Pajama Press for the opportunity to read this captivating novel!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Brotherton

    Reading was not a waste of time but I didn't feel hooked from the beginning. It was more like something I had to finish because I started it. Even halfway through the book I was trying to identify the point of the story. The main character didn't seem to grow. She was strong and did what was needed to survive but I didn't see how that changed her internally. The writing style was good although the mix of novel writing with poetry formatting was slightly strange. The writing didn't seem to warran Reading was not a waste of time but I didn't feel hooked from the beginning. It was more like something I had to finish because I started it. Even halfway through the book I was trying to identify the point of the story. The main character didn't seem to grow. She was strong and did what was needed to survive but I didn't see how that changed her internally. The writing style was good although the mix of novel writing with poetry formatting was slightly strange. The writing didn't seem to warrant the change in formatting. It was too random and left me expecting more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Butler

    Quite a dark book set during and after a volcanic eruption in the Bronze Age and the scenes describing the aftermath was very well imagined. The main character Leira, certainly has her work cut out, with the loss of her home, village, then older brother- dad and other brother then leave her in a strange town with her mother, who hasn’t been the same since the eruption, and elderly slave, who is Leiras de facto grandma. Certainly a story of survival.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I thought it was going to be more interesting. , but no. I really don;t care for books in verse much either. I gave it a shot, but couldn't finish it. I am sure some YA is going to enjoy this story. But, as I am not in that category, it wasn't for me. Sorry. I received a Kindle ARC from Netgalley in exchange fair fair review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Critterbee❇

    *eARC Netgalley*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Laferriere

    Just reviewed for SLJ. Review to come after publication.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Breanna

    1.5 stars. The format/writing style is awful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh

    Review to come on my blog later this month.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I really, really loved Dragonfly Song so I had high expectations of this, and at first I was a bit unsure. The beginning doesn't pack the same emotional wallop as Dragonfly. But boy, the ending sure does. The sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the story are so vividly built - Orr is an excellent writer. I loved it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Philippa Comiskey

  15. 5 out of 5

    MBG

  16. 4 out of 5

    Araminta

  17. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  18. 4 out of 5

    Harriet

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nella

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darrelle

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria Wang

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  24. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Burns

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jillian (PidginPea's Book Nook)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Louis

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Robo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Walker

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (Diva Booknerd)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dimity Powell

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kris Dersch

  32. 5 out of 5

    Kate O'Donnell

  33. 4 out of 5

    Fikunayomi

  34. 4 out of 5

    Spb Library

  35. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  36. 4 out of 5

    Figgy

  37. 5 out of 5

    Fahan Senior Library

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

  39. 5 out of 5

    Tanya Sehgal

  40. 5 out of 5

    Summer

  41. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  42. 4 out of 5

    Keah Rochelle

  43. 4 out of 5

    Book lover;)

  44. 4 out of 5

    Ferne Merrylees

  45. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  46. 5 out of 5

    Phe

  47. 5 out of 5

    Fillie Fanatic

  48. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Kelly

  49. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  50. 4 out of 5

    Lara Cooper-chadwick

  51. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

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