Spirit Animals Book 3: Blood Ties by Garth Nix & Sean Williams (Scholastic Inc)
PB RRP $12.99
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop
Conor, Abeke, Meilin and Rollan are four children who have bonded with some of the Great Beasts of Erdas; a wolf, a leopard, a panda and a condor. They are the Chosen Ones, the children and their spirit animals who protect their world from the Devourer and his Conquerors. But they have not yet learned to work as a team, they have not learnt to trust one another, and they all have doubt about their abilities and whether they deserve the honours bestowed on them.
Meilin is only just beginning to appreciate her Spirit Animal but her impatience with the slow, peaceful lumbering Jhi -a Great Panda - still bubbles to the surface often. A girl of action, Meilin is unwilling to be stillfor long enough to learn what Jhi is offering. Instead, she rushes back to her homeland of Zhong to find her father. But Zhong has been overthrown by the Conquerors and Meilin finds herself lost in the bamboo maze with only Jhi to help.
Conor, Abeke and Rollan travel to find Meilin and then continue on their way in search of the ‘Slate Elephant’ talisman hidden deep in the heart of a jungle. This quest may cost the lives of those dear to the children.
Once again, the authors of this instalment are well established in the fantasy genre. Blood Ties is an extremely well written book. The characters are not just vehicles for the action, they grow internally and learn more about themselves, others and their world. As a reader I am growing more attached to them as the series progresses and each book offers something new, rather than just action.
This is a fabulous series. Erdas is a wonderfully built world, with countries different in landscape, setting, people and cultures. All the characters, not just the main ones, are really well fleshed out, interesting and real. The action is fast and gripping, but there is reflection time as well to slow the pace occasionally.
I think this is a series which will captivate and inspire lovers of fantasy, action, animals and storytelling. It will suit middle school readers mostly, between grades five and eight.