Hunted: Spirit Animals Book 2, by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Middle School Fantasy / Adventure
Reason for Reading: This is the second book in a so-far excellent series
Synopsis: (May contain slight spoilers for book 1). Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan hike across Eura on quest to capture the talisman of the Great Boar before the Conquerors get their hands on it. But the Conquerors have a few surprises up their sleeves – they are now able to force an unnatural bond between humans and animals! They now have the advantage of superior numbers of bonded warriors. In order for our heroes to survive, they must learn to trust one another and fight as a team.
My Thoughts: This was an excellent follow-up to Brandon Mull’s Wild Born (reviewed here). The characters are developing – and so is the philosophy. In this book, our heroes struggle with trust. It’s a story of strengthening ones bond with friends – how such a bond can never fully be broken, even when trust fails. It’s a story about following your heart, even when your heart leads you astray from logic (a fitting theme given my thoughts on doubt last month!) I’m eagerly awaiting the third book in this series, Blood Ties, which comes out in March.
This is my first book by Maggie Stiefvater, and I’m eager to pick up some more now! I like the way this series is designed – with a different author for each book. That way, I am introduced to authors that I might otherwise never gotten around to reading. 🙂
Written by Kathryn Lasky, Narrated by Erik Davies
Reason for Reading: I rather liked the Ga’Hoole books, so I thought I’d try this series out, too.
Genre: Juvenile Fantasy / Anthropomorphism
As an infant cub, Faolin was taken from his mother and abandoned to die. He was found by a bear who nursed him through childhood. Now as a young wolf, Faolin is once again on his own and he must find a way to rejoin his own kind. This was a cute little story, and I enjoyed it. But I don’t think I would have enjoyed it half as much if I hadn’t read the Ga’Hoole books first. Although the story of Faolin is independent of the three story lines in the Ga’Hoole series, Lasky’s world-building in this book was a bit dependent upon the other books. The world would have seemed confusing and frustrating to me if I didn’t already know all about it from the Ga’Hoole books. This is why I gave the book only 3.5 stars even though I thought it was really sweet. I will continue with this series myself, but I recommend to all of you – continue with this book if you loved the Ga’Hoole books as I did. But if you haven’t read the Ga’Hoole books, start there. 🙂
2012 Book 6: The Golden Tree, by Kathryn Lasky (1/9/2012)
The Golden Tree is the 12th book of the Guardians of Ga’hoole series, which I have been reading for years (long before the movie covering the first three books came out). In this book, the new king Coryn explores his identity as the possible son of a hagsfiend (an evil owl-witch). He leaves with Soren and the Band for a short adventure to distract himself from his woes, but finds more than he’d bargained for. In addition, he’s left the ember back in the Tree under the care of owls with weaker personalities than himself—leading to self-absorbed ember worship (almost akin to a criticism of organized religion?). I can’t say that this book is as good as the first 6 (which could have been a complete series in themselves), but it was cute enough. This series has a 3 book detour in the middle, and this is the first book that picks up where the story left off. Much of the book was spent reminding the reader of things that occurred before the detour, and I think that subtracted from the normal action of these books. Therefore, I only gave it 3/5 stars. However, I am curious how the story will proceed, as the series seems to have started out with themes of Cute Kids against Naughty Bad Guys (book 1), progressed to Valiant Knights against Evil Racists (books 2-8), detoured to Good vs. Evil (books 9-11), and now seems to be entering Inward-Strength vs. Inward Weakness. What next?