Spirit Animals #1: Wild Born by Brandon MullYoung Adult Fantasy
I really wanted to like this series. I loved Brandon Mull and read anything and everything he's written since falling in love with his Fablehaven series years ago. Alas, this was no Fablehaven.
In this book, four unsuspecting young people drink a magical elixir when they turn 11 years old. Some lucky kids will have a reaction to the drink and a mythical creature, a spirit animal, will appear. For the four main characters in the book, the spirit animals that have bonded with them are actually ancient legends who once defeated a great enemy named "The Destroyer" and they are back to smack him down in round 2. (Sorry, but the whole plot just sounds a little silly so I lapsed off in WWF speak.)
I suspected before I read it that I might not like it. I don't like the new Scholastic bent towards having a series of authors write in a series. While it worked in the beginning for 39 Clues, all the other series have been pale in comparison. Rather, they feel like a marketing attempt with no real attempt to write a good book for young people.
This book is just very okay. There are too many characters in too short a space to care about any of them very much. We don't learn their back stories or motivations in enough degree to follow or care about them. I can't get a good picture of their enemy or his motivation or even the land they live in. And, I suspect if Mull can't pull it off, none of the other authors in the series will be able to either.