Call of the Kiwi is the final installment of my journey that started so high with In the Land of the Long White Cloud and lost some luster with Song of the Spirits. I still think the first novel is the best of the series, but I am happy to report I was much happier with the third book than the second.
For the series overall, I will say they were a pleasing listen. The stories were a bit repetitive, however, and listening to them farther apart might have been better. Sometimes the plot was quite a stretch to the imagination (I mean really, can all of the women in one family really be victims of sexual assault? All of them? For generations?). Sheesh.
Anyway, on to this book… I said after Song of Spirits that I hoped Kura would redeem herself in the third book and allow me to like her. Nope. She’s a selfish, terrible excuse for a mother and wife. Not a fan of her. Luckily, she is barely seen in book 3.
At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book very much either, but I warmed to it quickly because the focus on the new generation happens sooner. This novel also takes us into the first World War, making for some exciting although tragic reading. Lark brings the focus back towards changes in New Zealand, which seemed to fall to the side in book 2. This novel is a wonderfully blended piece of historical fiction.
The plot and focus on the different characters is also much more balanced. I was able to love more of the characters and root for their success because they were given appropriate amounts of time. Plus the end of the novel and the series is satisfying and hopeful, which I find to be the most satisfying way to end novels that span generations.
While I will likely not be returning to New Zealand with this author, I am excited to have a new interest in reading about colonized and turn-of-the-century New Zealand. I like reading about colonized and formerly colonized places and people in general, but I had never read anything about New Zealand. The Maori culture is something I got a taste of years ago when I read The Uncle’s Story by Witi Ihimaera, which I highly recommend, but that story is set in Vietnam. I will definitely continue reading about the Maori and New Zealand because they are places I am wholly unfamiliar with. Any recommendations for these subjects or colonial/postcolonial literature in general?