*WARNING* This review contains spoilers for the first two books in the series, The Tiger and the Wolf, and The Bear and the Serpent – if you haven’t read them yet, you should go and do that first. Really, buy them now.
The Hyena and the Hawk is the climax of the Echoes of the fall series and it’s a wild ride all the way through.
Having prevented civil war in the Sun River Nation, Maniye and her warband are heading back towards the north, where Loud Thunder has formed an army of all the tribes that call the Crown of the World home.
After one successful battle against the plague people, the army of the north are on the move. The hollow plague people have attacked the plains and made inroads there, with none prepared to stand against them. As Loud Thunder leads his army south, Asman heads the army of the Sun River Nation and leads them north. It will take all of the may tribes working together to stand against the might of the plague people.
Our heroes have greater numbers but they face weapons of unimaginable destruction and an enemy who does not even acknowledge their humanity. As if that didn’t make things dire enough, the plague people bring with them a fear that infects the minds of the true people, ripping their reason from them and leaving them trapped in their animal bodies.
At times during this book, the struggle seemed hopeless and I had no idea how Maniye and her friends could possibly overcome their enemy. I don’t want to say too much about the ending, but I really appreciated the echoes from the first book.
Again, some of the secondary characters got a chance to shine with their own POV chapters and I really enjoyed seeing some of the world from both Kailovela and Shuri’s perspectives. Adrian Tchaikovsky writes decent, well-rounded women who have complete personalities and do not exist just for the enjoyment of some man – a skill that is rarer than it should be.
Throughout the second and third books, I especially enjoyed Loud Thunder’s internal struggle with his feelings for Kailovela, his attempts to treat her better than his desire for her encouraged.
There’s a clear story of colonialism in this series with the empty plague people co,ing in and destroying a culture that they don’t even recognise as human, a culture with less technology, less advanced weaponry but a deeper connection to the earth and to their gods. It’s a reflection of the world we live in but one with a happier ending than that afforded in real life. In my opinion, the story was told deftly and with great care.
If you’ve read my reviews for the previous instalments in the series, you’ll know that I recommend buying them, but I’ll say it again. The Echoes of the Fall is a beautiful example of epic fantasy and I’m sad that it’s over.
Thankfully, Adrian Tchaikovsky is a prolific author so there’s still plenty more of his work to read.