My rating: ★★★★☆
As of The Hatchling, the Ga’Hoole story shifts focus. Soren and his friends step down from their main character positions for the next two books, and Soren’s nephew Nyroc takes over.
Nyroc is the second egg of Kludd and Nyra (the other broke before hatching), born during an eclipse and so destined to be either Nyra Junior or the super special awesome second coming of
Jesus Hoole. As he’s the new protagonist, I’m sure we can all tell which he’s going to be.
Beyond the predictability, however, this is the best book of the series thus far. There’s no nursemaid snake in this one, so the series’ biggest reminder of its inherent racism is gone. Better yet, Nyroc actually makes friends with other species, which is (sadly enough) mind-blowing in this universe. And unlike Soren and his friends, Nyroc’s anti-prejudice standing is actually genuine. His mother’s a hateful bitch, and so he, unlike the other owls, learns that racism isn’t only reprehensible when it’s directed toward owls. It’s reprehensible period. And it’s great to have a character who finally reflects that.
The Hatching is the only book so far in the series that I truly enjoyed. Sure, it has some stupid bits and a lot of predictability, but changing the protagonist is the single best thing that’s happened for the series so far. I really hope Lasky can keep this up.