Thursday, September 12, 2013
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.