September 10, 2013
Title: Wild Born
Author: Brandon Mull
Series: Spirits Animals #1
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts – a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children – and the world – have been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers …and on you.
I want to start off by saying I love this author. He perfectly encapsulates the wonders of fantasy while reminding us how much fun it was to be a kid. He manages to do both of these things without sacrificing the quality of his writing (which keeps adult readers engaged and gives a healthy challenge to the younger ones). I am a huge sucker for fantasy books involving animals – after all, it was the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques that initially sparked my love of reading. So the idea of having my favorite kids author (aside from JK Rowling) tackle an animal story was the best news ever.
I was anticipating a robust, full-length novel… what I got was something slightly different. Turns out, it’s the first installment of a multi-platform series, sort of like The 39 Clues and The Infinity Ring. Brandon Mull wrote this first book and outlined the next five books, but other authors will tell those tales. While cool in its own right, it’s not exactly what I had in mind.
Even though it was different than I’d hoped, it was still a dang good (albeit quick) read. I especially loved the diverse range of characters – there was someone for everyone to root for, giving it a sort of global appeal. All the characters had compelling individual stories but also played really well off of one another – they were my favorite components in the book, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where their journey take them next.
The magic system was also a strong point – I love the magic involved with getting a spirit animal and the benefits that came from having one. The concept was just plain fun. Because it’s a multi platform book, you can read it then go join the adventure online – earning a Spirit Animal for yourself as you help recover the hidden talismans. Sounds like fun, right? I’m probably going to sign in just to see what my animal would be…
Overall, Wild Born was a great adventure that started out with a bang and didn’t let up the entire way through.
Recommended Reading: for those looking for fantasy adventure, excitement, and a whole lot of animal awesomeness! And, of course, for fans of Brandon Mull.
by Niki Hawkes
Other books you might like:
Animorphs by K A. Applegate
Redwall by Brian Jacques
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Warriors by Erin Hunter