Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

wild born

Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born
Brandon Mull
Scholastic, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-545-52243-4
FORMAT: Fantasy, Kids Chapter Book
AGES: Elementary School
3 Stars
Reviewed from a galley
Publication Date: September 10, 2013

In the world of Erdas people can have a spirit animal. Usually when a child turns eleven-years-old they are able to drink a sip of Nectar of Ninanni that a Greencloak offers them. Some of those who sip the Nectar are able to reveal a spirit animal who bonds with them. Connor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan are from four different parts of Erdas…but they all have produced animals. And not just any animals, the four fallen animals: Briggan the Wolf, Uraza the Leopard, Jhi the Panda, and Essix the Falcon. The four fallen animals fell when they last protected Erdas from the evil Devourer who wished to destroy everything. Now these four kids and their spirit animals must not only figure out what is going on and how to bond with their spirit animals, they must discern what is truth and what lies are being told to them as others want them and their animal spirits to turn the power to their side of the budding war.

Wowzer. For only 200 or so pages, this sure packs a punch of adventure and fantasy. Plus the addition of some of the most powerful wild animal spirits bonding with the four eleven-year-olds and you have the potential for kids to be upset that the next book doesn’t come out for a few more months. I specifically like how the four main characters are all vastly different in tastes and temperaments. As are their spirit animals. It takes quite a bit for each of them to figure out just how to communicate and understand their spirit animals. And the strong warrior characters are the girls; however, to be fair the boys aren’t wusses. The girls are just skilled in hunting and battle. Seriously, I can see many kids reading this and enjoying so many different elements about it. Although this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are still many more adventures that will be required to save the world. And many more Greencloaks and those who have spirit animals will show up in future volumes. Not to mention all the bad guys and the powerful Great Beasts that we haven’t met yet. Two of which are not going to be happy that the fallen four made it possible to capture them.

The main consolation for kids having to wait to read more of this adventure is that there is an online component. Just like the 39 Clues, there is an online game that can be found at spiritanimals.com. There readers can create their own character who can get his or her own spirit animal. Then they can go on a quest to help save Erdas. The only question is how will my spirit animal, a tiger named “Echo”, do when I fumble around with computer controls (which are not as easy as a game station control). But…the other readers and I will have to try…or we won’t be able to save the world! Yeah, fun stuff that I can see loads of kids enjoying for quite some time. Great start to the series, Mr. Mull. Great start.

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