Length: 192 pages
Series or Stand Alone: Book 3 of 7 (planned) in the Spirit Animals series
Content Appropriate For: Grades 3-6
Format: Digital ARC provided by Scholastic via Net Galley
Release Date: March 25, 2014
These Spirit Animals books get better and better! This third installment was chock full of exciting action sequences and palpable danger. We also see a lot more character development, especially as Meilin struggles to understand her place with the Greencloaks. I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Jhi, her spirit animal panda, strengthen. After two books of wanting to throttle Meilin, it was a nice change of pace for her to finally get real.
The story takes place largely in the country of Zhong, a pseudo Asia. Nix and Williams fill the book's locations with rich details. Over the course of Blood Ties we visit a massive bamboo maze, a swamp teeming with enraged crocodiles, and a lake surrounded by high cliffs. This is the first of the Spirit Animals books that really showed me the world of Erdas.
I was also glad to see a stronger focus on the overall problem of the series, the Devourer's quest to conquer Erdas. Those enormous crazy-eyed crocodiles were terrifying!
In my review of Book 2, I had to write a qualification about how multi-author series often water down the elements that make an author's writing style unique. However, that was not true in Blood Ties. I love Garth Nix's other books, such as Shade's Children and Sabriel, for his marvelous world-building. He and Williams pulled off a great world in this book too. Cheers!
Overall, my students and I really love these books and this one is the best so far.
Book 1, Wild Born by Brandon Mull
Book 2, Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater