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Spirit Animals: Hunted

I have never read a multi-author series before and was wondering what it would be like so took the opportunity to request the second book in the Spirit Animals series, Hunted by Maggie Stiefvater, when it came up on NetGalley. I read Wild Born by Brandon Mull earlier this year (my thoughts). I feel like Hunted is a better book and enjoyed it more.

Synopsis:
In the world of Erdas, only a rare few are able to summon a spirit animal in the way Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan have. The bond they share with their animals is a partnership that allows them to access more-than-human abilities.
But what if there was another way to create a spirit animal--to force the bond, giving the human partner total control? And what if someone with selfish intensions was offered this gift . . . with a catch?The four young heroes have barely had time to come together as a team, and their own spirit animal bonds are still greatly untested. But now they face a brutal confrontation against an enemy who will break any rule to defeat them.

This is not a book you want to jump into without having read the first. The world building and characters are dependent on information given in Wild Born. This means the same reliance on cultural stereotypes that bothered me a bit in the first book remains, but the characters are developed a bit more in this volume. All four kids are trying to move as best they can into the roles they have been thrust into. They also need to learn to work together which constitutes the greater challenge. Abeke feels like the others don't trust her, and in many ways they don't, particularly Meilin. Rollan tries not to rely on anyone and therefore keeps everyone at a distance. Conor is besieged by doubts of his ability to what is asked of him and his worthiness for his role. Meilin is impatient and ready to move on, constantly worried about the danger her homeland is in. A new character is introduced named Finn, an older Greencoat who can not fight. He is their guide on the treacherous journey to gain another of the Great Beast's Talismans. I really enjoyed his addition to the story and hope we see more of him in the coming books.

Hunted has a different feel from Wild Born. The book concentrates more on Conor and his relationship with the people he has left behind. While it has a similar quest, to find a talisman, the quest goes and ends very differently. In this second installment more meat is put onto the bones of the basic story and the experience is richer as a result. I did find myself frustrated by the end. I feel like it invalidated all that led up to it, making none of it worth it. I think this is similar to how the characters will feel and watching them go forward and try to work together from this point will be interesting. I'm definitely read to read book three when it comes out in March. It will be called Blood Ties and is written by Garth Nix and Sean Williams.

I read an e-galley received from the publisher, Scholastic, via NetGalley. Hunted will be available January 7. 

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