THE SCREAM OF THE EAGLE is a look at what happens when human greed, selfishness, and hunger for power find their natural consequences, all at once. The catastrophes that overwhelm James’s safe and protected world are multiple and sudden, but do not come out of the blue – they are the direct response to generations of mismanagement and exploitation both of other human beings and the natural world. The result is a chilling look at what our own future might very well be like if we do not correct certain trends immediately.
James, despite his privileged upbringing, is a level-headed, kind-hearted and sympathetic sort of hero, and it’s easy enough to identify with him. Looking at his tenacious, loyal, and hard-working grandfather, Chuck, it’s also easy enough to see where he gets his good qualities from. There is enough drama and action in this book to keep the reader engaged until the end, and enough lead-in to the events of the story to make them believable without excess explication. The moral message of the story is rather unsubtly pushed on the reader, however, and aside from James and Chuck, a lot of the characters fall a bit flat. Robert Mendez, James’s father, is the stereotypical rich businessman villain, while his wife Noni, James’s mother, is the loving and nurturing mother who is nonetheless helpless to stop her husband’s cold-hearted machinations. James’s love interests, Anna and Julie, also lack dimension to their personalities, appearing simply as stereotypes, the wholesome farm girl vs. the spoiled Senator’s daughter.
The connection between James and Anna, which should be central to the book’s emotional heart, seems more physical than deeply emotional – they barely even talk to each other over the course of the book – and Julie does precious little other than following James and complaining about the hardships they face. This makes it difficult for the reader to feel the real force of James’s love for Anna, or to see Julie as anything other than a convenient piece of parentally-approved arm-candy. Still, the conflict between James and his collapsing world, with his intense desire to get home – whether that means finding an old home or making a new one or a bit of both – remains compelling.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader