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Reviews of Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Wolf Brother

The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Book 1

by Michelle Paver

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver X
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 295 pages

    Paperback:
    Feb 2006, 320 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. Ages 9+.

Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined.

In this page-turning, original, and spectacularly told adventure story, Torak and Wolf are joined by an incredible cast of characters as they battle to save their world, in this first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

Chapter One

Torak woke with a jolt from a sleep he'd never meant to have.

The fire had burned low. He crouched in the fragile shell of light and peered into the looming blackness of the Forest. He couldn't see anything. Couldn't hear anything. Had it come back? Was it out there now, watching him with its hot, murderous eyes?

He felt hollow and cold. He knew that he badly needed food, and that his arm hurt, and his eyes were scratchy with tiredness, but he couldn't really feel it. All night he'd guarded the wreck of the spruce bough shelter and watched his father bleed. How could this be happening?

Only yesterday—yesterday—they'd pitched camp in the blue autumn dusk. Torak had made a joke, and his father was laughing. Then the Forest exploded. Ravens screamed. Pines cracked. And out of the dark beneath the trees surged a deeper darkness: a huge rampaging menace in bear form.

Suddenly death was upon ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
About the Book

After his father is killed by a demon-possessed bear, Torak is left alone in the ancient Forest to find his way to the Mountain to ask the World Spirit for help. Captured by the Raven Clan, Torak learns about his father’s past and why the Soul-Eater created the demon bear. Led by his guide, a young orphaned wolf, and with the aid of a young woman who helps him escape from the Raven Clan, Torak seeks to fulfill the promise he made to his father—that he would find the Mountain, or die trying. During their arduous journey to the Mountain, Torak must locate the three most powerful pieces of the Nanuak in order to gain the World Spirit’s help. Only then will it be possible to vanquish the demon ...
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Reviews

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Since the age of ten, Michelle Paver has dreamed about running with wild wolves in the prehistoric forest; but growing up in London her options were limited!  She grew up and became a lawyer, but chucked it in to write books for adults (including The Shadow Catcher and Fever Hill), then one day she came across her long discarded story notes about a boy and a wolf and all her childhood obsessions came flooding back!

Wolf Brother is the first in a planned six part adventure set 6,000 years ago in the forests of Northern Europe.  It's a fantastic adventure set in a meticulously researched world of hunter-gatherers, which as Paver comments is a misleading term that conjures up a picture of someone casually spotting a clump of berries and saying, 'Oh, good, I think I'll gather some of those'. In reality, hunter-gatherers were unbelievably skilled (a point also made by Jared Diamond in his classic Guns, Germs and Steel, in which, if I recollect correctly, he makes a compelling case that as a result of natural selection and their environment, the indigenous people of Papua New Guinea are, on average, more intelligent than so called 'first world*' inhabitants). 

We've been reading Wolf Brother as a family and we're all hooked.  I highly recommend this series for ages 9 through to teenagers.  Most reviewers seem to feel that it wouldn't be of interest to those over the age of about 14, but I think that's a little restrictive.  This first book lays the groundwork for a classic adventure/quest, coming of age story - and as such, I think, would hold appeal for many teens.  ..continued

Full Review (361 words)

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Media Reviews

Children's Literature - Jane Harrington
The ten-and-up target audience suggested by the publisher seems a stretch, since the writing lacks the cleverness and sophistication to keep the interest of teens and adults. It is the middle-grade reader—especially one who favors wildlife and adventure stories—who will find this an excellent journey. 2005. Ages 8 to 12.

Kirkus Reviews
By the end, readers will have a real feeling for what life in the wild must have been like, and will be looking forward to Torak's further exploits. (Fiction. 11-13)

Publishers Weekly
Part riveting nature story, part rite of passage saga. Torak's coming- of- age tale will keep the pages turning. The author reveals many secrets at the end, nicely setting the stage for subsequent volumes. Ages 10-up.

School Library Journal - Karen T. Bilton
Gr 5-9-Paver's depth of research into the spiritual world of primitive peoples makes this impressive British import, slated to be the first in a six-book series, intriguing and believable.

Reader Reviews

Thea

book review of wolf brother.
I have utterly loved every heart stopping, thrilling moment with this book, I have continued with this wonderful series without regret, the writing is creative and really pulls you in to an adventure that takes you through forest, mountain, sea, and ...   Read More
MrsMurphy

My go to Read Aloud
I was first introduce to Wolf Brother when I was student teaching in 2010. Since then, I have read it to 3 classes of 5th graders and to a class of 4th graders. EVERYONE loves it. The jock, the nature kid, the girl who hates hunting...literally ...   Read More
Deborah Tan

THIS BOOK IS AWESOME!!!
I started reading novel books since I was 9 years old and this is the best book I've ever read...
Akee

Best book ever
Really good book with action, sadness and awesomeness.

Write your own review!

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Beyond the Book

To research this series, Paver spent time with a guide in the forests of Finland (some Finnish forests are still much as they would have been 6,000 years ago). She learned how the people lived by studying archaeology; and to understand what they might have thought she studied many groups including:

  • The San Tribe of South Africa (formerly known as the Bushmen)
  • .
  • The Ainu of Northern Japan
  • .
  • The Inuit, (formerly known as Eskimos, which simply means 'eater of raw meat', whereas their preferred name Inuit means 'the people' or 'real people')
  • .
  • The Sami of Northern Europe (the Sami were formerly known as Lapps which means 'a patch of cloth for ...

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Read-Alikes

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