Blog Tour: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Blog Tour: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit
Anna and the Swallow Man
by Gavriel Savit

Genres: Historical, War, Middle Grade
Publication date: January 26th, 2016
by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Format: ARC

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A stunning, literary, and wholly original debut novel set in Poland during the Second World War perfect for readers of The Book Thief.

Kraków, 1939. A million marching soldiers and a thousand barking dogs. This is no place to grow up. Anna Łania is just seven years old when the Germans take her father, a linguistics professor, during their purge of intellectuals in Poland. She’s alone.

And then Anna meets the Swallow Man. He is a mystery, strange and tall, a skilled deceiver with more than a little magic up his sleeve. And when the soldiers in the streets look at him, they see what he wants them to see.

The Swallow Man is not Anna’s father—she knows that very well—but she also knows that, like her father, he’s in danger of being taken, and like her father, he has a gift for languages: Polish, Russian, German, Yiddish, even Bird. When he summons a bright, beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her from crying, Anna is entranced. She follows him into the wilderness.

Over the course of their travels together, Anna and the Swallow Man will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even, despite their better judgment, make a friend. But in a world gone mad, everything can prove dangerous. Even the Swallow Man.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but I absolutely adore middle grade novels so when I heard about Anna and the Swallow Man, I knew I was going to have a lot of feels and would probably need a lot of tissues. The book; however, turned out to be not exactly what I expected. When I read the blurb, I thought that Anna and the Swallow Man would be right in the middle of the war instead of spending their time skirting its edges. Don’t get me wrong, you can tell that there is a war going on and the war definitely impacts their life, it’s just I thought their circumstances would be different.

Having said that, Anna and the Swallow Man is a beautiful, lyrical book and one I wouldn’t fail to recommend to someone who really wants to be sucker punched in their feels (because who doesn’t want that?)

Here are a bunch of reasons to read this book

  1. Anna. She is one of the saddest main characters I’ve read in middle grade and Savrit works magic in the way he writes her. She is a very aware child but the way Savrit writes her constantly reminds readers that she IS a child no matter how smart she is. It’s why my heart constantly broke for her and her struggle.
  2. Secondary Characters. The Swallow Man is a wonderfully complex character. He, at the beginning of the novel, is someone who comes off as a savior but as the novel progresses, we find out that there is a whole lot more to him. He isn’t a perfect character and there were parts during the middle of the book where I wanted the ground to swallow him whole (I am so clever) because he was really getting to me. By  the end of the novel, I liked him as a character since there is SO much to him. Reb Hirschl one the other hand was my favorite character in the world. Okay perhaps not in the world but in this book, yes. He broke my heart a million times over and made me smile like no one else in the book.
  3. The Journey. Or the journey to nowhere as it should more accurately be called. Throughout the entire book, Anna and the Swallow Man are walking to somewhere yet we don’t know where. The Swallow Man tells Anna that they are trying to find a bird that is almost extinct but a lot of the time, they just seem to go on and on in circle. Their journey is full of many hardships and even though they are never in the middle of the war, the war is never forgotten. It impacts them when they run out of food and slowly start to starve, it impacts them when they attempt to cross German borders, it impacts them when they come upon mass graves. Even though the story doesn’t seem to be about the war, it IS. Savrit weaves in the war into their journey and as the war rages on, we become more and more aware of the horrible affects the war has. The book spirals into darkness and starts to tear open our hearts. It loses its innocent charm and turns into something darker. 

So hopefully I have convinced you to read this book… if not OOPS? I TRIED, OKAY. I did my best. I am going to go home and sleep now because emotions.

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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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    • Rashika says

      I WANT TO READ IT, EMILY. I am pretty sure I have it on the TBR and if I don’t I am going to fix that. In the meanwhile, maybe read this and join me in feels kingdom ;) ;) (LOOK AT US PUSHING BOOKS AT EACH OTHER LIKE REAL BOOKWORMS)

    • Rashika says

      I feel like this is more historical though than fantasy. It might read a little like magic-realism but I think that comes more from the fact that Anna is a child rather than the world the novel is set in. Thank you, Joy! :)

    • Rashika says

      Cait, would you hurt me if I told you I still haven’t read either of the books you mentioned? I am just painfully behind with my TBR stuff. Also slightly frightened of both of those books because feels. I DONT LIKE EMOTIONS. I like to pretend I am an unfeeling robot. Excuse me while I continue to hide in a corner and lie to myself about my existence.

    • Rashika says

      Omg the book WAS so sad and depressing. I honestly don’t read historical fiction that much and avoid being punched in the feels because I am a robot so I understaaand! I appreciate the comment ;) <3

  1. says

    Girl I need this book like asap! I absolutely love historical fiction, and middle grade as well, but I’ve never read the two combined. The synopsis is beyond intriguing, and I like how you gave us justt a littleee tid bit of info about the book without spilling too much. Anna and the Swallow Man sounds like such a beautiful read, and I’m so excited to pick this up :)
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  2. says

    I was on the fence about this. Now, I shall read it. Because FEELS. You have convinced me, so well done, take a bow, applause all around. I am the opposite of you- I DO love historical but I am VERY iffy about MG. BUT there are a few that I have liked (generally those with feels!) so perhaps this could work for me. I shall give it a try! And I will bring tissues :D
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    • Rashika says

      #winning. I love MG because it’s usually just cuteness but this book got dark so quickly.

      KEEP THEM TISSUES AT HAND.