Thursday, February 20

Wild Born by Brandon Mull

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer received an advanced reader's copy of this title at Book Expo America. The opinions expressed are hers alone and no monetary compensation was offered to her by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Scholastic and is used solely as an aide to the review.

At the age of eleven, all the children of Erdas try to call a spirit animal. Few succeed.

When four such individuals - Conor, Abeke, Meilin and Rollan - summon the fallen beasts of legend, they must decide whether to embrace their destiny.

War is coming and only they can tip the balance.

I finished this novel in a few days, shunning all sorts of distractions in its favour. The book does have a tad of a slow start, with the first four chapters devoted to each of the protagonists summoning their spirit animals. Yet it made for good world building and helped to give each character their own grounding before they were thrust into the woes of the plot.

The novel is written in third person, alternating between the perspectives of Conor, Abeke and Rollan. It was surprisingly easy to keep the narratives straight, although I did get the Greencloaks a little confused. Olvan, Tarik, Zerif... That took a little paying attention to.

One thing I liked about the varied perspectives was that it gave an insight into both sides of the conflict. Nothing was clear cut. It was interesting to see how each of the children progressed with their spirit animals and which were more or less trusting. My favourite two characters to see interact were Rollan and Meilin, simply because they both have a stubborn nature.

'Wild Born' is a well written adventure that sets the pace for a promising series. It was surprised to learn that it is a mult-author platform with Maggie Stiefvater taking the reins from Mull in the follow-up novel, 'Hunted.' It is also coupled with an online game which I can vouch for being a tad addictive. I look forward to seeing more from the Spirit Animals series.

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