Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Michelle Paver

Michelle Paver is the author of one of my top 5 series of all time, The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. As a British author, these books are quite well-known in the UK, but very hard to come by in the US, even though Michelle Paver won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 2010 for Ghost Hunter, the final book in the series.
American covers on the top, British covers on the bottom.
This series tells the story of Torak, a boy from the Wolf Clan who befriends a Wolf and must stop an group of evil mages from taking over the forest. Set 6,000 years ago during the Stone Age, The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness are actually classified as Historical Fantasy. So cool!

There are two things that make these books so wonderful:
1. One of the three narrators is Wolf. As a wild animal who speaks no human language, he has a very distinct way of speaking. I love reading his sections because they show a completely different perspective. His terminology is also fun. For instance:
Bright-beast-that-bites-hot = fire
Cold soft wet = snow
Fast wet = river
Not-breath = dead

2. Michelle Paver did an epic amount of in-person research for these books. Anything her characters experienced, she experienced too. For instance, in Spirit Walker Torak swims alongside some killer whales. So - Paver did too. Her depiction of life in a hunter-gatherer society is fascinating. When Torak kills a deer, he stops traveling and spends a few days making thread from the marrow, cleaning and drying hide, and shaping bone into tools. It was really cool to experience those things as a reader.

Every year I carefully choose one student to get hooked on Wolf Brother, the first book. Then, without fail, that student gets hooked, reads the whole series, and talks about it so much that lots of other people read it too. So far this year 5 students have read The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, and every one of them has loved it.

For more detailed notes check out my reviews of:
* Book 1: Wolf Brother (this one is actually the amazing Donalyn Miller's review)
* Book 2: Spirit Walker
* Book 3: Soul Eater
* Book 4: Outcast
* Book 5: Oath Breaker
* Book 6: Ghost Hunter

This post is part of the A to Z Challenge


  1. I'd never heard of these books before. I think my daughter would devour these. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Gladly! This series is so little-known in the U.S. that I feel honored to introduce it to as many people as possible. I'd love to hear what your daughter thinks of them.