Sunday, June 08, 2008

Book Review: Seekers: The Quest Begins

51skIuXPU4L._SL160_.jpgSeekers: The Quest Begins
By Erin Hunter

Seekers is the story of three very different bears, each on a quest that is destined to bring them together. Kallik is a young polar bear traveling to land for the summer with her mother and brother. When her mother is killed and Killik is separated from her brother, Kallik sets off on a quest to find him.

Toklo is a grizzly bear cub trying to survive with his mother and his brother Tobi, who is very sick. Toklo loves Tobi, but he also resents him, both for slowing down the family, and because it seems that their mother loves Tobi more because of the attention she lavishes on him. Tragedy also strikes Toklo's family, and Toklo finds himself alone and lonely, on the edge of survival. Toklo sets off to follow the North Star, which is the spirit of a lonely bear imprisoned in the sky, because Toklo identifies with it.

Lusa is a black bear cub living in the zoo. Lusa loves climbing trees and playing with her friend Yogi. The zoo is the only home she knows and she's happy there, although she's curious about what life in the wild is like. When a strange new bear arrives at the zoo from the wild, it awakens Lusa's desire to see the wild. When the new bear dies, Lusa promises her that she will escape and carry a message from her to her son in the wild.

The Quest Begins is a promising start to a new series by Erin Hunter, author of the highly popular Warriors series. It's an animal fantasy similar to Warriors, although there does seem to be a bit more of an element of magic realism that comes into play later in the book. The characters and situations are interesting, and the book should have strong appeal to fans of the Warriors series, as well as anyone else who loves animal fantasy.

As sometimes happens with the first book in a planned series, The Quest Begins is occasionally slow as it sets things up for the rest of the series. There is plenty of action, and interesting things happen throughout the book, but at this point there is no one central conflict driving the story. Each of the bears has his or her own central conflict, and a quest that is destined to bring them together, but since the bears don't meet until the end of the book (and then only two of them) their stories don't come together as well as they might.

I do think that once the bears come together, this is going to be an interesting and enjoyable series. As with Warriors, the bears have their own culture and language, and we see the world through the bears' eyes. What differs, however, is that each bear species has its own culture and its own beliefs. The north star, for example, plays an important role in each of the stories, but each bear believes something different about the north star. It will be interesting once the bears come together to see how their conflicting beliefs and cultures interact, and I think there's a lot of story potential there.

Overall, I found The Quest Begins to be an enjoyable book, and I look forward to the rest of the series.

Pages: 293
Total 48-hour book challenge pages read: 1172
Total 48-hour book challenge books read: 4
Total time reading and blogging: 20 hours and 10 minutes

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