Fox revisits the Native-American cultural setting of his debut (Zadayi Red, 2009) to tell another tale of mysticism and fantasy adventure.
Aku is the son of Shonan, a war chief of the ancient Galayi tribe. Like Aku, his mother Meli has the ability to shape-shift into animal form. When she is killed after transforming into an owl, Shonan forbids Aku to shape-shift. But then Salya, Aku’s twin sister, is kidnapped by the Brown Leaves, a brutal people led by an evil shaman. Aku and Shonan must go on a quest to the Darkening Land to rescue her. Along the way they get help from the magical Little People; Yah-Su, a buffalo-man; and other fantastical allies. Aku, meanwhile, explores his nascent shape-shifting abilities. As in Fox’s previous novel, the style is simple and direct yet lyrical, and there’s an emphasis on family and tradition.
Another engaging adventure, suffused with the author’s love for Native-American culture.