Talon, flight for Life
by Gigi Sedlmayer
Brooding comes easy to Matica at times when she has huge decisions to make involving Talon. Talon is her best friend and believe it or not a condor that she learned to fly with. Imagine a young child befriending a group of condors, able to communicate with them and have adventures with one in her air. But, when Matica’s father wants to her walk with him to the next big city of Cajamarca, she does not really want to go. Asking Talon, her mother and family what to do only makes her brood even more. But, when Talon assures her in his own way that she should accompany her father what follows is hilarious. Aikon her brother, Talon and Matica play a game of Hide and Seek that only author Gigi Sedimayer could create for these endearing characters. Keeping her mind off of her mission for a short time even her mother Mira joins in the fun. But, her father despite the torrential rains that just subsided needs her to walk with him in order to buy food, medication and tickets for their 6 month holiday in Australia.
Before leaving Matica, Talon and Aikon have some adventures, Talon falls from a branch in the tree, he’s brave but everyone is concerned. Elsa, is a new character, a chicken that is added to the group and is so adorable and loves Aikon the same say Talon loves Matica. When Elsa wants to allow Aikon to fly on top of her the author reveals a side of Aikon that is so endearing and kind.
Seeing her three close condor friends Matica is said and knows what they will miss her. Timo, Tamo and Talon all say goodbye to her in their own special way. Her connection to these condors is really great and her feeling of loneliness without them shows the reader how she feels about them and why.
Tears filled her eyes and intertwined in Talon’s feathers as the journey is about to begin and what happens will test Matica’s strength, endurance and love for her father and the condors. Even her best friend Amos comes before she leaves while Matica recounts the entire day to her mother and Aikon shares what happened with Elsa with them too.
Matica is walking with her father to the next big city of Cajamarca to purchase some food, medication and the tickets for their six-month holiday in Australia. On the way she misses her condors terribly, but still has an adventurous and very good time with her father walking through rain forests and other parts of the beautiful country of Peru, seeing macaws, toucans, monkeys and a puma. In Cajamarca, they heard that the poachers are back, asking for condors. Matica is distressed, and wants to go home quickly, to tell her condors. On the way home, they visit an old Incan dwelling. And there, shortly after something terrible is happening. Her father fell ill with high fever after a nasty huge spider bit him. Not knowing what to do, she calls for her condors. But the wait until they arrive, that is the hardest time she ever had to endure.
As you hear the story told from the voice of Matica you understand her feelings, the fears she felt leaving her home and the sadness that filled her heart. But, a disturbing dream bothers Matica and when she relates it to her family her father seems not too concerned but her mother prays for their safety hoping that Tamo will be with them every step of the way as they prepare to leave for Cajamarca. The journey begins but everything she sees she compares to Talon. Her father trying to share the world and its beauty with her Matica seems to revert back to her feelings for the condor and might miss the beauty of the macaws, the toucans, monkeys and pumas which are amazing too. Her mind and heart at filled only with Talon and she needs to widen her horizons and listen to her father and her friend Amos to learn new things. The author shares so many amazing sights with the reader through both Crayn’s and Matica’s eyes. The Bambamarca plateau, the amazing Rainforest and its canopy, floor and jungle appearance, the macaws, the monkeys, the bold monkey and the Tapir that sniff’s them all add to the joy of the trip and the education that the author shares about these amazing animals hoping to allow Matica to learn about other animals not just the condors.
Imagine seeing an orchid for the first time. The beauty of that flower is breathtaking to me and Crayn tries to describe it to Matica along with the strangler fig tree, which cannot stand by itself. Then Matica sees her first tree frog and her reaction is priceless. Introducing the Bromeliad plant that is truly amazing as it is a plant with fleshy leaves where insects and frogs leave their eggs or larvae under the plant. As Matica looks inside she sees insects, water and other things creeping within the confines of the plant. Butterflies come and drink from it and even lizards can be found there too. “Everything is eating each other,” she says. They take advantage of the juicy visitors. Matica even points out the good and bad points of this plant.
But, what happens next really brighten Matica’s smile as Talon, Tima and Tamo arrive and she enjoys her time with all of them. They arrive in Bambamarca and she meets some of the people and learns many things.
Harsh realties come to light as Matica befriends the children and they talk about her disability, the reasons for others not accepting her and how she managed with the help of the condors to learn to soar on her own. Finally, meeting Jonah’s parents and letting them see her with the condor makes them realize that what they did to their son was more than just causing his death but wrong. The trip to Cajamarca is next the greetings she gets quite remarkable as once again the condors arrive and Matica wants to know if everyone there will know about her and some do. But, Cajamarca is quite different. The houses on the outskirts were huts and within the suburbs brick houses but still had a dirty appearance to them. Learning about where the Indians lived in this town the tourists that come from other countries would fascinate most and then she comes face to face with a famous hotel, the Marriott and is amazed.
Meeting many different people who have heard about her, exploring different places and finally meeting a puma was fascinating to Matica and learning more about other cultures, buying food in the bakery to show her mother seemed to make her happier. But, this trip does not continue on an upward slope. Visiting the hospital she meets many people and learns about the care they give their patients. She learns many things before tragedy hits.
When a deadly spider Matica bites Crayn needs to take control of the situation. Finding the right medical serum was just the beginning but what happens to her father after receiving it frightens her very core. As she yells and screams into the sky for Talon she prays for some help for her father. Unconscious, delirious and with a high fever he cannot be moved and she will not leave him alone. Throughout the novel you learn about Matica’s devotion to her family and to the condors having faith in them to save her when things get tough. But, will Tamo’s presence and flight for life save her father? As Matica and Tamo try to stabilize her father Talon shows up and flies to her mother for some aide. But, what happens next is definitely what you would not expect. With little of no means of transportation and living in a secluded village how would help come? Will he live or will it be too late?
An ending you won’t expect and a girl named Matica who never gives up. But, what happens between the condors and Crayn will definitely surprise you and what are those special leaves that Tamo found? Will Crayn make it home? Will anyone come to help them? What will the final outcome be? Just how will the Flight for Life turn out as author Gigi Sedlmayer brings the Talon series to a dramatic close or will she continue on with more?
Three birds that you will fall in love with each with their own personality and differences making them unique. One little girl named Matica whose spirit and drive never give up on anything especially life and who begins to question God’s will and why things happen. So many friends made along the way and others who are revisited along the way. Find out where the final flight takes Matica, Crayn and the three most precious condors in the world.
Fran Lewis: reviewer