I've really enjoyed the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, so when I heard he was writing the first of the Spirit Animals adventures, I knew I wanted to read it. This story has something for everyone - action, adventure, intrigue, magic, animals, and friendships. The people of Erdas drink the Nectar on their 11th birthday and wait to see if they will summon a spirit animal. Long ago some of the spirit animals aligned themselves with humans to defeat an evil ruler called the Devourer. Four of the animals died and two of the animals who fought on the Devourer's side were caged. Now the four have reappeared and bonded with children from different kingdoms. Those children are needed by the Greencloaks, a group who all have bonded with a spirit animal and try to protect the rest of mankind. But those who oppose the Greencloaks are also trying to win the children over to their side. As they learn about their animals and the new skills they receives as part of the bond, they must also learn to trust each other, make sure they are on the right side of the coming conflict, and save the world.
I am glad that there is a variety of personalities among the children. Conor is from a family of shepherds in Eura and feels most comfortable outdoors and working with animals. Meilin's father is a great general in Zhong and she is used to riches, servants, and culture - but she also has trained with her father in combat. Rollan is an orphan who lived on the streets in Amaya and survived as best he could. Abeke is a skilled hunter from Nilo and has remarkable skill with her bow or spear. Together they are part of a prophecy that the four lost spirit animals will return when they are needed.
The book series also has its own website You can play games, learn more about the rest of the books, and subscribe to the Greencloaks newsletter. We just added this to the library from the fall book fair. Check out the trailer.