Review Blog

Oct 17 2014

Spirit Animals: Fire and Ice by Shannon Hale

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743620014
(Age: 7-12) Recommended. Fire and Ice is the fourth book in the Spirit Animal series following the adventures of four chosen youngsters their Greencloak guide, Tarik, in their quest to obtain the talismans of the Great beasts and save the kingdom of Erdas from the evil Conquerors.
The opening chapter introduces Gerathon, the Cobra, one of the great beasts. The descriptive writing is captivating, but since it has no relevance to this particular part of the story, I assume it is a forecast of things to come.
We find our heroes travelling to the icy wastes of Arctica in search of Suka the Great Polar Bear and as always they seem to be just in front of the enemy, Shane, and his army of Conquerors. The relationship between the characters is developing as they are becoming more dependent on each other for survival.
There is a surprise for Rollan in store when they meet up with the Conquerors and he discovers his mother, who abandoned him to the streets as a child, is one of their members. Whilst he is torn between joining her or loyalty to his new friends, he departs with Tarik and the group on an arduous and life threatening journey through the snow to find the famed Ice Palace and Suka.
Having found Suka frozen in the Ice Palace, they finally claim the talisman they were after and journey back to Eura, glad to see the end of Arctica and its frozen land, only to be met by the Conquerors on the wharf. Another fierce and bloody battle ensues, which I am sure is part of the attraction of these stories, in which good seems to triumph again, but at a cost to friends and family.
Followers of the series will be keen to read the next book to see if there is betrayal in the air, however some will be finding there is a predictable pattern in the story lines.
Sue Keane

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