The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2) by Michelle Paver
|The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2) by Michelle Paver|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: This second book in the Gods and Warriors sequence is exciting, interesting and, well, just super. The characters move forwards and the animal character is wonderful. And of course, it's beautifully researched.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: August 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
A year after the first book in this series finished, we rejoin Hylas who has been captured, enslaved, and forced to work in the copper mines on Thalakrea, a volcanic island. The Crows still have the dagger of prophecy, so this evil clan is still in control. Hylas is determined to escape and find his missing sister, but the mines are dangerous and run by ruthless slavers.
Meanwhile, Pirra is back at home in Keftiu and her mother, the high priestess, keeps her a virtual prisoner, albeit in luxury. Pirra's thoughts, like Hylas's, are all about escape. Telamon is grieving for Hylas, who he believes dead, and trying to gain the respect of his father and uncles.
Fate will unite the three young people but there is danger everywhere they look. For the Fire Goddess is angry at the scars wrought upon her by the mines. And the Crows, in their arrogance and their lust for power, intend to summon the Angry Ones. Can Hylas protect the island? Can he prevent the Crows from gaining unassailable power? And will he ever find his sister?
There is always an animal character in Michelle Paver's books, and this one has Havoc, a lion cub. She's wonderful. I love the way Paver writes about animals. She gives them thoughts and feelings but it never feels cheesy. She seems to capture the essence of an animal's spirit and it's particularly evident in Havoc, who is playful and naive but who has a connection to the natural world that humans just don't have. This is another aspect of Paver's use of wild creatures in her stories - they remind we humans that we may think of ourselves as clever and superior but actually, there's a lot we're missing. In Paver's world, humans often appear stupid to their animal companions. In Burning Shadow, Havoc can see - and avoid - the dangerous and spiteful fire spirits but Hylas cannot.
As a standalone adventure, Burning Shadow is great. It's exciting - a real page-turner - and it has a cast of interesting, three-dimensional characters. Everyone's interesting and complex, not just the central pairing of Hylas and Pirra. Of course, and as we've come to expect from Paver, it's beautifully researched and gives a real flavour of how a volcanic eruption would have been perceived and explained by people of the Bronze Age. It also shows what life was like generally for both rich and poor people.
In terms of the overall arc for the series, things move on nicely. Everyone's experiences move them on and future conflicts are set up. And Hylas meets another goddess. I wonder which one will be next?
It's no secret that we are big fans of Michelle Paver in these 'ere parts. She's just great. She writes an energetic story filled with characters you can root for. Nobody sits in the head of animals as well as she does. And a love for the past and the natural world fills every page. She's irresistible. Burning Shadow comes highly recommended by us.
You might also enjoy The Game by Diana Wynne Jones, which takes Greek mythological characters and sets them the modern world. Or perhaps Dido by Adele Geras, a lovely retelling of the story of Dido and Aeneas from Virgil's Aeneid.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2) by Michelle Paver at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2) by Michelle Paver at Amazon.com.
The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2) by Michelle Paver is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2013.
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