Despite begin 15 years older than the demographic of this book, I actually rather enjoyed it. The protagonist, Alice, is a 12 year old Whisperer. Her power grants her the ability to commune with her companion- a wolf called Storm- and connect to the Earth and use its power. Her strength is tested when demons, the Narlaws, enter the forest from the Dark Lands and it is up to the Whisperers to banish them. Dawn, the palace Whisperer, also has the problem that no-one takes her seriously, making her job of protecting the city from possible invasion all the more difficult.
I would have loved this book had I read it as a kid. It is an excellent entry to fantasy. The magic system is fairly simplistic with the Whisperers essentially being Earth witches. Their magic comes from using plants and potions and with their Whisperer power as a sixth sense, they can feel the presence of all living things. Each Whisperer has a companion, an animal which has been partnered with them since birth. Though a bit of a trope, I do think that this appeals to younger readers and as a wolf lover myself, I would have enjoyed fantasising about the adventures my wolf friend and I would get up to. In fact, I recall writing a story with a wolf companion in it when I was around 14. Hell, what am I saying, I still love wolves now.
Although this is a young person’s book I did feel that some of the language used was a bit simple and at times it was lower than the rest of the book’s reading level. Given this, I do think that younger kids could read it without great difficulty. Also, it does occasionally feel like it skips over some plot points without given them the proper attention, which means that the pacing feels a bit rushed.
However, it is a fast paced story and by diving right into the action it leaves the story room for expansion. I did look into it and from what I can tell it is the first of a series of four books- Guardians of the Wilds. I hope that I am able to get hold of them to review in the future.
Like I said, I did enjoy the story. Despite my critique of the writing style, the story was well developed and the magic system was interesting and explained in a way that was thorough but not dumbed down. If you have kids and you want to introduce them to fantasy then this is a great place to start.
Also, as a fun side note, if you got to Kris’s website there is a quiz where you can find out your companion animal. I got a wolf! Let me know what you got in the comments!