Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wild Born

Wild Born
by Brandon Mull
Scholastic, 2013.  202 pgs.  Fantasy

Our prolific Mr. Mull got the potentially hazardous assignment of writing the first book of Scholastic's new multi-platform book/internet series, Spirit Animals.  Hazardous, you say?  Of course, because the first author has to do all the set up: where do the kids come from, what are they like, why do they have the spirit animals they have, and how will they get along with one another; how does this new world relate to ours, if at all, and is it prehistoric, dystopian future, or parallel universe? All this is a potential action-killer, but Mull manages to convey a lot of information about Conor (a shepherd's son), Abeke  (an African/Niloan hunter), Meilin (an Oriental aristocrat), and Rollan (a street kid) as well as  their "familiars" - a wolf, a leopard, a panda, and a falcon--while moving the story right along to its frightening, cliff-hanging conclusion. Beasts good and bad come into play here, and though it is a bit hard to take the wombats seriously as Agents of Evil, Wild Born bodes well for an exciting, kid-friendly series to come.

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