About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sky Dancer by Witi Ihimaera

Sky Dancer (Penguin, 2003)

This book was such a challenge for me. Normally a fat book puts me off reading. I guess that's why I like Young Adult Fiction because they're usually thin books that don't take over a week to read. The other thing that tripped me up for the first 100 pages was the number of characters, all birds, whose personal name or species began with the letter k. Once I got over these two hurdles though I was captivated.
   Ihimaera has such a relaxed natural style that it's easy for the story to sweep you along. 
   The novel is about a young woman called Skylark who has Maori heritage. She takes her mother away for a holiday to a remote country town where they stay with two old Maori women. The old women are sisters and sworn protectors of the birds of the land. Skylark is drawn into helping the old women to fight a pitched battle with the sea birds.
   The bad guys in this story are the sea shags and gulls, terns and albatross, and every other sea species who in Maori folklore were jealous of the landbirds, coveting the sweet eelfish that the landbirds ate.  Skylark is a fiesty character and is a lot of fun, a terrific heroine. Her side kick Arnie has sections of cliched dialogue which is a bit annoying but in harmony with the character so it's easily forgiven. But by far the most memeorable character is old Hoki with her withered foot, who sacrifices almost everything to save the day.
   Ihimaera has managed to link myth with a contemporary plot to produce a rollicking good yarn. An enjoyable read.


  1. Dear Beth:

    Thanks for discovering my blog. Now I've discovered yours. I am beginning a new research project on Pacific seabirds so I guess I'll have to pick up this book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. There are plenty of birds in the story. I hope you like it. I am enjoying your blog very much.