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Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Book 4

by Michelle Paver

      If you enjoy Harry Potter, then you have surely stumbled on the fact that there are some great "crossover" novels out there. Writers like Jonathan Stroud, Philip Pullman and Lian Hearn appeal not just to teenagers but also to adults for their imagination and storytelling prowess. Michelle Paver is one of my own favorites in this select group, with her powerful tales of prehistoric times; and if you have been following Torakís adventures, then you will know that he has a secret. The Soul Eaters have marked him as one of their own, and if he lets anybody see the marks he is lost. Unfortunately they do, and the clans have no option but to mark him as outcast. Now he is as one dead, and anybody can hunt him down and kill him. But he has friends, and soon he finds out that there is trouble brewing.

My favorite aspect of these stories is surely the authorís feel for the environment Torak and his companions inhabit. Their home is the vast primeval forest with its wealth of wildlife, and this comes alive with Ms Paverís talent for descriptions of its beauty and power. Also interesting to read about are the prehistoric people and their skills for survival, belief in magic, and respect for nature. If you donít like fantasy this will not preclude you enjoying this book, as it is certainly not what people usually think of when they use the term - most of the "magic" is in the eye of the beholder rather than in actuality. Ms Paver knows how to make a story gripping and keep the pace moving swiftly along without sacrificing detail or losing momentum, and Torakís adventures are nothing if not exciting and inventive. There are various surprises in store, and the only sound as I closed the cover was a groan that I would have to wait a year before the fifth book comes out. Very highly recommended for anybody who wants to read a good story.

The Book

Orion Childrens
6 September 2007 (US edition May 2008)
1842551736 / 9781842551738
Teenage / Adult Historical Fantasy [4000BC, UK]
More at US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008