Four young heroes, chosen to save Erdas from the rising threat of the Devourer, find themselves torn between their quest and the needs of the ones they love.
In between their expeditions to obtain the Great Beasts’ talismans, Conor, Meilin, Abeke and Rollan face an equally difficult task: learning to bond with their spirit animals. Each must confront his or her weaknesses in order to understand the spirit animals’ strengths. Conor, normally timid, must rely on Briggan the Wolf to learn to lead. Meilin, a trained warrior, must yield to the peaceful patience of her giant panda, Jhi. However, Rollan and Essix the Falcon’s discernment and Abeke and her leopard Uraza’s courage allow the four to retrieve the talisman of Rumfuss the Boar. Stiefvater brings to this multiply authored, multiplatform series her ability to create complex, sympathetic characters, enhancing the plot-heavy narrative she inherited (Wild Born, by Brandon Mull, 2013). Characters grapple with conflicting motives, familial responsibilities and the consequences of their choices. This increasing depth moves the story from a straightforward adventure fantasy to an insightful look at what it means to be a hero, with the glory it brings and the sacrifice it demands. The accompanying game offers an exciting off-page experience.
Fantastical adventure is enhanced by complex characters. (Fantasy. 8-12)