Title: The Flight of a Starling
Author: Lisa Heathfield
Publisher: Egmont Publishing
Publication Date: 29th June 2017
Pages: 320 pages
Extract: Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.
Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?
Flight of the Starling is a beautifully written novel, following the lives of a traveling circus staring Lo and Rita, two close sisters. The novel is split into two perspectives with Lo, and Rita each contributing their own story to the novel. Although we learn more about Lo than Rita through this. When their circus rolls into a new town, and the girls – alongside Spider and Ash – go exploring, and Lo finds herself falling in love with Dean, a Flattie (or a person with non-circus blood). No good can come of this relationship, and typically things take a turn for the worst when Lo’s father finds out.
A story of forbidden romances, secrets and hurt.
I instantly fell in love with both Lo, and Rita, the relationship they have and their love for their circus family. I adore reading about close families in novels, as I am close to mine. And it is not very often you read of sibling friendships.
But, I also found it difficult to connect with the other characters within the novel, and I believe that this was partially to do with how the novel was told solely through Rita and Lo’s perspective, therefore not sharing all that much information about the other characters. However, of what I learnt about Dean, I did love. He was dedicated in supporting his mum to have a better life than what she currently had, and he wasn’t bitter about not knowing his father, and although I’d understand if he did display hurt, it was nice to see that he didn’t.
If you’re a giant, when we move on, it’ll only take a few steps if you want to come and see me.
The Flight of the Starling was the first novel by Lisa Heathfield that I have picked up, and I quite quickly fell in love with her writing style. I was easily able to imagine the world in which she was trying to create, and I could see the characters clearly in my head, making the novel enjoyable from the off. It was also an easy read, with Heathfield using language that was descriptive, and fitting for the story without it being over complicated. It flows really well, and it’s clear. And I know I’ve said this but it’s just bloody lovely to read.
Towards the end of the novel there is a big plot twist filled with drama, and hurt and it brought me to tears. But I felt that the twist in the tale came all too quick and all too sudden to keep me interested. It shocked me, and left me feeling very emotional but unfortunately, as I didn’t feel as if there was much build up, or much indication to what was about to happen, I felt it didn’t really fit, and it made the whole ending feel sudden and rushed. I just felt it didn’t work, for me anyway.
Open your eyes. I want you to see the stars.
Overall though, I did rather enjoy this novel from the get-go. I enjoyed learning about the circus life, and the changelings, I loved all the little interactions Lo and Rita had, and I loved their little quirks – like leaving their footprint in each, and every place that their circus landed. I even loved learning about the Ladder Witch, and other stories from the girls childhood, but unfortuntely the ending did spoil my overall enjoyment of the novel.
I would rate The Flight of the Starling just 3 stars overall, although it was a solid contender for a 4.5 before we reached the last portion of the novel.
Have you read The Flight of the Starling? I would love to hear your thoughts, and if we share similar ones.
Warning, this novel contains themes of suicide