All across the world, legends are appearing.Great Beasts - once the most powerful beings in Erdas - are being summoned as spirit animals. Bonded to special kids, they unite the human and animal worlds.
But a mysterious stranger is hunting these legends, just as they are reborn, and he's crushing anyone who stands in his way.
These are the stories of those stolen legends, and of the young heroes who will stop at nothing to get them back. These are the Tales of the Fallen Beasts.
I enjoy the books in the Spirit Animals series, and was looking forward to reading this one too. At first I found it hard to get into as it appeared that the story was somewhat disjointed. New characters appeared in each chapter, apparently without any strong link to the last apart from having the common theme of children with special powers who could all summon spirit animals, and the ever-present threat of the evil Zerif.
But as I started on the third section, I realised that what I was reading was not a novel, but rather a group of linked stories, each filling in the background of one of the spirit animals and its adventure as it was summoned by a human child. The very idea of the resulting partnership is intriguing as it explores the relationship of man and beast. The nearest parallel in real life would probably be the bond that exists with some owners and their dogs.
The children of the stories are all around 12 years old, and all have a tendency to take risks and use innovative ideas to get out of difficult situations. They have a degree of resilience not normally found in children so young. This gives the characters true kid appeal. Children of eight years and over can identify with them and will enjoy accompanying them on their adventures. With a little imagination, they can imagine themselves in similar places, fighting with evil adversaries with the assistance of their own spirit animal.
I will read this book again, possibly more than once, because it acts as a companion to the others in the series. It features the history of five of the spirit animals (Halawir the Eagle, Rumfuss the Boar, Suka the Polar Bear, Kovo the Gorilla, and Gerathon the Cobra) and supplies back stories which are outside the range of the associated novels. The Spirit Animals books are collectively creating a new "mythology" so it is fitting that they have their own reference book to accompany them!
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