Book Review: Spirit Animals: Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater

Spirit Animals HuntedSpirit Animals
Book 2: Hunted
Maggie Stiefvater
Scholastic, Inc., January 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-52244-1

The orphaned, scruffy, wise-cracking Rollan; the painted, oft expressionless warrior Meilin; and Conor, the shepherd boy, had been tossed together without a choice. The small group was wary, at best. Abeke, with her bizarre elephant hair bracelet; had been “tricked” into aligning with the power-hungry Conquerors, and was not a welcome addition to the trio.

The four youngsters had only one thing in common, but it was paramount. Having recently come of age, sipped the sweet Nectar Ninani, each bonded with, not just any spirit animal, but one of the Four Fallen. There is but one tiny task. To save the world.

The success of the mission hinges on the cohesiveness of the team. The multi-faceted concept of trust is brilliantly displayed as Abeke must earn the trust of the group; Rollan must learn to trust, and Meilin must choose whether to trust her spirit animal or her own intuition.

This action-packed, mystery-filled adventure is completely captivating with colorful characters and carefully hidden life lessons. Ms. Stiefvater’s delightful descriptions of the determinedly cheerful Lord of Glengavin paints the picture of a red-bearded giant whole-heartedly, enthusiastically and unabashedly, displaying his wide range of emotions from toddler-like temper tantrums to giddy joy.

Hope springs eternal as feisty Dawson, young sibling of the horrible Devin, craftily displays whose side he is truly on. His abrupt, almost apologetic, kindness is endearing and serves to soften the utter rottenness of his fellow Conquerors.

The mysterious, heavily tattooed Finn is the honey on this November-Cake of a novel. The burden of scouting for the quarreling new Greencloaks doesn’t seem to rattle him. He patiently teaches them how to code; sending messages by pigeon. Gradually and quietly, his story is revealed. Subtle mentoring moments threaded throughout the adventure tie perfectly together at the story’s end.

Of course the last sentence isn’t true. The author is Maggie Stiefvater. And Spirit Animals is a series. As Hunted answers some questions, many mysteries remain unsolved, new quandaries have appeared and…..well, let’s just say the reader will be ecstatic to know that Blood Ties (Spirit Animals #3) is available.

Reviewed by jv poore, February 2015.