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Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined.

In this page-turning, original, and spectacularly told adventure story, Torak and Wolf are joined by an incredible cast of characters as they battle to save their world, in this first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

295 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Michelle Paver

55 books1,984 followers
Michelle Paver was born in central Africa, but came to England as a child. After gaining a degree in biochemistry from Oxford University, she became a partner in a city law firm, but eventually gave that up to write full-time.

The hugely successful Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series arose from Michelle's lifelong passion for animals, anthropology and the distant past—as well as an encounter with a large bear in a remote valley in southern California. To research the books, Michelle has traveled to Finland, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Arctic Canada and the Carpathian Mountains. She has slept on reindeer skins, swum with wild orca (killer whales), and got nose-to-nose with polar bears—and, of course, wolves.

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5 stars
11,655 (45%)
4 stars
8,664 (33%)
3 stars
4,079 (15%)
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862 (3%)
1 star
286 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,787 reviews
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 2 books5,410 followers
November 20, 2019
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver is a wonderful kid's book about a boy, Torak, and his Wolf and their quest to keep a promise he made to his dying Fa. The author obviously did an enormous amount of research to make this book realistic and full of details from nature making it a great story that I read to my son. He fell in love with all the characters and was on the edge of the couch nearly from cover to cover. Highly recommended to kids 10 and up.
Special callout to Biblio Curious who suggested this book to me. Can't wait to enjoy the rest of the series of Chronicles of Ancient Darkness!
Profile Image for Connor.
681 reviews1,656 followers
July 18, 2016
So I loved this book. It is so different from any middle grade I have ever read. I loved the obvious amount of research the author did to make this prehistoric Native American fantasy story really come across well. Wolf and Torak's friendship is what I aspire Nanook and my relationship to be. I think there were some areas that could have been better namely that the ending was very rushed when compared to how much struggle and adventure came before, but I'm boosting my rating because of its uniqueness. I'll definitely be buying the rest of the series when I get the chance! I think there are going to be some crazy things ahead for Torak!
Profile Image for tiffany.
248 reviews89 followers
January 11, 2023
when you get that feeling of sadness when you finish a really great series at the end of the first book
3 reviews2 followers
September 4, 2008
I like this book because he kills the bear.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Baile Hanak.
22 reviews7 followers
September 20, 2011
I read this book in one night, need I say more? I absolutely love this kind of novel. The incorporation of nature, tribal power, and, of course, a hint of dark magic really mixes nicely to create a phenomenal piece of fiction literature. I think Paver could not have woven together a better story. The character development of Renn and Torak is thorough, and Torak's relationship with Wolf is noticeably deep and very spiritually significant. Wolf has a deep love for Torak, and their mutual respect for each other is shown through the gestures and communication Paver describes. The plot itself is gripping and suspenseful, especially with the constant cat-and-mouse chase the protagonists experience with a massive, demonic bear. I particularly enjoyed the dual points-of-view in the book. Hearing the story from a wolf's angle of it is very unique, and Paver uses some really cool language when it comes to speaking Wolf. One of my favorites of Wolf's terms is for fire, which he refers to as "The bright beast that bites hot." Paver's description of details is fantastic too, her imagery is persistently vivid and gripping. I continued the series and flew through the second and third books, and I will definitely be buying the fourth through seventh eventually. Great writing!!
May 15, 2018
Alone
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness are an exciting read with plenty to get your heart thumping with demons, mythical adventures, and a story of close friendship against all odds. Wolf Brother is set thousands of years ago in an enchanted world split into clans and territories. Each clan respected what nature gave up for their nourishment and way of life, but there are rules. Torak lives with his father remote from any clan, and suddenly his father is killed by an evil possessed bear and Torak is left alone with only a wolf cub as his companion. There is more to this situation than meets the eye, but that will be revealed over the next 6 books.

What is so special about Torak? And can he make sense of it? Who can he make friends with, who are his allies and who or what is after him? Torak will start on an adventure that will be overwhelming, supernatural and intriguing. He has special gifts in that he can talk to wolves and he is totally joined with his cub and Wolf Brother.

This is a great book for children of all ages including 40-year-old children.
16 reviews
December 10, 2011
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!!
I began reading the series when I was 11 and have recently reread it (for the 4th time?)
I STILL LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!

I was reluctant to read it again only because I had first read it at a much younger age, and I felt that perhaps I had grown out of it. I could not have been any more wrong!

Michelle Paver has this wonderful ability to reconstruct a lost world that could only be reached in the depths of one's imagination. Everything is told in so much detail; the clothing, food, tools, facial markings, and surrounding environment. Everything is so clear in one's mind, it's like they are standing there next to Torak, smelling the delicious aroma of smoking elk meat or observing the tracks of a young auroch.

The differing narrations too, provide an insight into the world through the eyes of an animal, namely Wolf, of course. You really get the idea that Paver has thrown herself into extreme research.

At times, the occasional cliche can be found, but the endless twists make Wolf Brother a thrill to read, and I found myself unable to keep my eyes off the pages.

Really, it's so good it's distracting.
Profile Image for August Reads.
106 reviews49 followers
August 28, 2022
3,8 estrellas en realidad.

Buena novela de aventuras prehistóricas y otra de las tantas sagas juveniles que intentaron venderse como la próxima "Harry Potter", pero que se terminaron quedando ahí, a medio camino.

Acá conocemos a Torak, un niño que tras la muerte de su padre a manos de un oso demoníaco deberá viajar hasta la montaña del Espíritu del Mundo con tal de vencer al asesino de su padre y salvar el bosque. Por el camino conocerá a Lobo y Renn que harán de compañeros de viaje y otros tantos personajes más que haran de enemigos.

Novela que me ha parecido bastante entretenida, correcta como inicio de saga, pero que me ha resultado un pelín decepcionante dado las grandes expectativas y las buenas críticas que muchos le atribuyen. Pese a ello, insisto es una buena novela. Aunque si comparamos su estilo con el de la pluma de Rowling por supuesto sale perdiendo. Y es que Paver es una escritora competente, más no logra destacar ni envolverte en su mundo como si lo hace Rowling. Y es que pese a disfrutar de la aventura nunca llegué a sentirme inmerso o parte de ella, todo parece apreciarse desde la distancia, como una obra en la que eres espectador, más no un miembro activo de ella.

Y es que la autora nunca ahonda en la psicología de sus personajes, al punto que Torak, Renn o los mismos villanos no son más que eso, nombres de personajes acartonados que pasan por la novela haciendo algo, pero con los que jamás nos vamos involucrado. Lo mismo pasa con su construcción de mundo, es cierto que se nota la buena investigación en cuanto costumbres prehistóricas, más en lo que a asuntos de clanes se refiere y descripciones de parajes la autora falla utilizando salidas tan sencillas y poco ocurrentes como clan de cuervo, clan de la foca, clan del lobo... y cuánto otro animal se te puede ocurrir. Algo tan poco original y tantas veces visto en televisión que resulta tedioso. Lo mismo con el entorno o los parajes de la novela, la autora apenas da unas pinceladas de lo que los protagonistas ven o piensan de lo que ven. Al punto que en ningún momento queda claro que eran realmente los Nanuak y cuál era su real propósito... y bien entiendo que es un libro para público infanto-juvenil pero escribir todo con el exceso de sencillez con que está escrita esta novela termina haciendote ver la historia desde la distancia, sin involucrarse realmente con los objetivos de los protagonistas.

Aun así, pese a lo anterior dicho, al menos hay algunas cosas que compensan las falencias, las cuales hacen sentir que la lectura valió la pena y que me hicieron subirle la nota inicial (3 estrellas) con la que pensaba calificar está novela.

1. Capítulos con el punto de vista de Lobo, el mejor personaje y el único con el que realmente llegué a conectar.

2. Dos giros finales que lograron sorprenderme lo suficiente como para subirle la nota. Originalmente la novela iba para un tres sólido.

3. Torak sigue el típico camino del héroe (objetos mágicos que encontrar, amigos que lo apoyan, un mal que derrotar, etc), pero pese a ello la autora logra darle algo de originalidad al cambiar el típico guía sabio por varios otros personajes que van entrando y saliendo de la trama, entre ellos el mismo Lobo, elemento importante para llegar a la montaña del Espíritu del Mundo.

4. Varias de las situaciones que enfrenta Torak, exceptuando el final y el encuentro del primer Nanuak, las soluciona con Ingenio e inteligencia más que con ayuda mágica o conveniencias de guión cómo comúnmente utilizan las novelas de este tipo.

5. Un final no del todo feliz, que puede entristecer a algunos, pero que le da un toque un poco más profundo y original al resto de escritos de tipo juvenil.

El fin, una novela que me gustó y que probablemente continuaré con su segunda parte.

¡Recomendada sobre todo a lectores primerizos y público adolescente!
Profile Image for Iset.
665 reviews459 followers
August 28, 2020

What a charming, fantastic book. This is everything that I hoped Jean Auel’s books would be, but weren’t. That’s high praise from me, and considering I spent a year perusing stone age fiction in hopes of finding a good series and failing to do so.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is nominally aimed at children. The only way this shows through is in the age of the protagonist and in the book’s relatively short length – but not once did I feel talked down to, or like the author was using juvenile language, and the themes and dangers are anything but childish. Paver depicts a brutally harsh stone age world with obstacles that would be a challenge for any adult.

That she has done her research is obvious in the little details that she weaves into the story – and yes, she does so appropriately, rather than giving us massive, ill-fitting infodumps (looking at you Auel, trying to cram every last research note in whether or not it made sense in the story). The story is wonderful, and it swept me away to a stone age world.

I particularly loved how Paver managed to include fantasy elements in her story, but yet always make them uncertain – part of the beliefs of the people, and taking place in dreams, or places where the mind itself was uncertain – so you can read this story as totally realistic if you want to, while still have this grand fantasy be a huge part of the lives of the characters and their plot.

I must add, Ian McKellen is the perfect narrator of the audiobooks, he clearly reads each sentence carefully beforehand because he infuses it with exactly the right tone for what is happening. I’ve listened to audiobooks before where the narrator delivers what is supposed to be a dramatic scene in an utterly flat tone, ruining the scene. Not Sir Ian; you can rely on him to hit all the right notes.

I very much want to read the other books in this series now.

9 out of 10
Profile Image for Daniel.
746 reviews72 followers
September 19, 2015
Moram da priznma knjiga je mnogo bolja nego sto sam ocekivao. Kao prvo atmosfera je odlicna, stvarno te uspesno prebacuje u ogromnu i hladnu sumu punu opasnosti ali lepote. Likova nema punao ali su fino definisani i imaju fin razvoj tokom price. I iako je u sustini knjiga za decu imam osecaj da je racnija i strasnija nego mnoge grim dark novele iako nema puno krvi, jako malo nasilja ali to nekako jos vise istice u prvi plan kada se nesto strasno dogodi.

Slobodno probajte, necete se razocarati.
984 reviews68 followers
March 15, 2021
I know that technically this is a y/r book but, like Harry Potter adults can read it too. I really enjoyed this book it was very well written and I’m looking forward to reading the others in this series.
Profile Image for Katie Lumsden.
Author 1 book2,590 followers
April 5, 2020
I thoroughly enjoyed this. A great compelling middle grade novel, with fantastic world building. I'd highly recommend.
Profile Image for Delta.
1,881 reviews22 followers
January 18, 2016
Wolf Brother is a prehistoric wilderness survival adventure that pits a 12-year-old boy and his wolf companion against an evil spirit bear that threatens the survival of the forest and all of the clans. This was a very enjoyable read for me, and I will look for more by this author. (suitable for pre-teens through adult)
Profile Image for Bookworm.
19 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2013
I picked this book up in a charity shop. I'd seen this book many times but never read it. I, not thinking about purchasing it, started to read and was immediately trailblazing each word. It's reminded me strongly of another series of books called Earth's Children written by Jean M. Auel. Even though it says this is 9–12 fiction, it's still a great book for many people alike. I like how the author showed different POV between Torak and Wolf. Also like how Wolf thinks, (to Wolf Torak is known as Tall Tailess because Torak can speak Wolf but he has no tail). The way Michelle Paver describes the scenes is brilliant and in some parts very scary (for me)! The relationship between Torak and Wolf gets more significant as the book goes on, so much so, that when danger came towards them, I prayed that nothing would happen to them!
I recommend this because it's a great story and plot which is different from normal books. Also the setting is amazing too!
Profile Image for Érica.
111 reviews42 followers
January 26, 2022
Este libro es, sencillamente, hermoso.

Cayó en mis manos de casualidad y empecé a leer un poquito de las primeras páginas para ver qué tal la redacción. Cuando me quise dar cuenta, ya habían pasado horas y me quedaban solo unos capítulos para terminar el libro. Me atrapó desde el principio y ni siquiera me había percatado.

La historia es increíble, la narración es atrapante y muy fluida, el mundo es impresionante, y me moría de ternura cada vez que leía a Lobo. Pero lo que más me sorprendió fue el antagonista: un oso poseído por un espíritu maligno.
Algo en este antagonista me petrificó hasta los huesos. La primera vez que apareció frente al protagonista, literalmente me dieron ganas de llorar por la tensión. Me dio miedo. Jamás me pasó que el antagonista de algún libro me provocara un miedo tan real, al punto de hacerme contener el aliento o quedarme inmóvil en mi asiento, como si tratara de evitar ser escuchada.
Realmente, el nivel de información que maneja la autora es alucinante. Se nota que investigó muchísimo antes de escribir, que narra con inmenso conocimiento y amor por las comunidades nómades de la Prehistoria. Siempre es lindo toparse con historias que tienen tanto estudio detrás.

Me encanta leer libros orientados a un público infantil porque, de vez en cuando, me topo con joyitas de este tipo. No hubo, para mí, ni un solo momento de aburrimiento.

Se lo recomiendo a cualquier amante de libros de fantasía y civilizaciones antiguas.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,079 reviews2,606 followers
March 1, 2012
This is a children's book that has crossover appeal to adults. It's set 6,000 years ago in a hunter-gathering society that believes in magic, where there are various clans that band together to survive in the forest. The book opens with our hero, a boy who is "twelve summers old," coping with the death of his father who was killed by a demonic bear. That sends the boy on a quest to find a way to kill the bear. A wolf cub becomes his friend and guide, and along with a girl from another clan, they face trials and adventures.

I enjoyed the first three-fourths of the book and was prepared to give it four stars, but the author had such an abrupt and unsatisfying ending that I had to drop it down to three. (Why would a writer spend 285 pages building up to a fight that gets resolved in two sentences, and we don't even get to witness the action because it takes place offstage? Paver should have planned that better.) Wolf Brother is the first book in a series, but after such a truncated ending I will skip the rest.

If you liked the survival aspect of "The Hunger Games," and the fact that the protagonist is a strong and clever child, you would probably enjoy this book. Just be prepared for a bit of a letdown.
Profile Image for Marga Delgado Maiz.
164 reviews3 followers
January 12, 2023
¿Cómo he vivido tantos años sin conocer esta saga? Me ha parecido espectacular. He llorado, he sufrido y he reído en un viaje apasionante, junto con Torak y Lobo (ala, ya está, ¡me he vuelto a enamorar de otro peludo!) por los bosques de la Finlandia de hace 6000 años.
El libro no se hace pesado en ningún momento, los personajes son perfectos, incluso el malo maloso. La ambientación es bestial, cosa que, como ahora estoy en pleno invierno, no ha ayudado a que pase menos frío. La trama tiene los hilos bien cogidos, todo lo que ocurre tiene un porqué, sin olvidar una velocidad acorde con los hechos.
La labor de investigación de la autora, por lo que he visto, ha llevado mucho tiempo, ha implicado muchos viajes y muchas personas. “Hay veces que se tarda sólo unos tres segundos en retroceder seis mil años”, dice la propia escritora al final del libro, mientras andaba por los mismos bosques en los que se sitúan los clanes que aparecen en la novela.
Es un comienzo de una saga de seis obras, pero la verdad es que no me ha dejado con la sensación de que faltara algo, como me ha sucedido con otros principios. Estoy segura de que voy a ir a por el siguiente en un futuro muy cercano, quiero volver a sentir los lametones de Lobo.
Si os gusta leer sobre nuestros ancestros, os lo aconsejo; si os gusta leer sobre animales en libertad, también os invito a disfrutarlo. Si os gustaron los libros de J.M. Auel “Los hijos de la Tierra”, por supuesto, aunque es un poco más juvenil, me ha recordado mucho a cuando acompañaba a Ayla siendo adolescente. Lo de la edad es lo de menos, creo que puede gustar desde que se tiene una lectura fluida hasta más allá de la jubilación. Tiene una lectura fácil y ligera, lo recomiendo totalmente.
Profile Image for Dylan.
432 reviews87 followers
Read
April 25, 2021
I read this series as a kid (and even got a few of my copies signed by Paver) and absolutely adored it. It came to mind recently but I couldn't for the life of me remember the series name or the author's name, so I'm glad I finally stumbled across it. Mainly just adding this so I can easily find it again, but maybe I'll re-read it someday.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,291 reviews29 followers
July 17, 2015
I listened to Ian McKellen (Gandalf) bring this piece to stunning life. It's a fantasy, set in ancient Bronze-Age Europe, uncounted aeons ago. The first of 6 books. Beautifully written, the story is fast-paced and action-packed. It's told in 3rd person, with the POV shifting from the boy Torak to his brother — a wolf cub. The setting is vivid and the story sometimes felt almost real, like it could almost have happened, back when people ate reindeer and worshipped the spirits in rocks and rivers and ravens. There are some life-lessons embedded in the story. For example, the ritual of respect young Torak showed to any animals he killed, thanking it and promising to use every part to sustain life (the hide, bones, and meat).

PLOT (no major spoilers): A suddenly-orphaned youth and his wolf cub are destined to save the world from a malevolent demonic bear. As his father (Fa) is dying, having been mawled by the bear, 12-year-old Torak makes him a promise: To journey into the frozen North, to the tallest mountain, home of the World Spirit, and plead for help. Only this Spirit is powerful enough to defeat such a demon. Torak must also offer sacrifices to the World Spirit, including his own heart's blood. (He wonders, "All of it??") No one has ever seen The World Spirit, nor traveled that far North and lived to tell about it. Torak is frightened and frequently tempted to break his promise, but he keeps his word (another moral of the story). Help comes from However, their journey is perilous. Horrible obstacles slow them down, including a disgusting old man, a Walker.

They make a great team, Wolf, Tarok, and the surprise helper.

It's a coming-of-age story, wrapped up in a quest. A "fellowship of the ring" but with only 3 in the group. Parts are scary. Dark.

Secondary characters are Hord, Oslak, Fin-Kedin, that disgusting Walker, an old Mage woman.

I enjoyed it well enough, but it's really written for kids. I'd have loved it more in about 5th grade.

However, I LOVED getting into the mind of the wolf cub. The words he invented (he calls Torak "Tall Tail-less" and the campfire is "the bright beast that bites hot" (so clever!). Torak can never talk to wolf about what will happen tomorrow, because a wolf has no concept of future, only of now. Here is Wolf's first impression of Renn:
"Wolf hated the female tailless. He'd hated her from the first moment he'd smelt her, as she pointed the long claw that flies at his pack brother....After that, the female tailless had done terrible things..."

The author has a degree in biochemistry and lots of experience with animals, including wolves and bears. But hopefully not bears possessed by an evil spirit.

Narrated superbly by Ian McKellen. It's — oddly enough —not available in kindle format at Amazon USA. And only books 1 and 4-6 are available in Audible USA. I was annoyed that the audible version did not come with the pictures and maps from the book, especially since we cannot buy the kindle book format in America.
Profile Image for Monika.
13 reviews8 followers
September 6, 2012
Wolf Brother is an alright book if you're into light reading and this kind of genre. If you, like me, however, are into/used to "deeper" books, that leave you wanting more and give you something to think about afterwards - this book might leave you unimpressed.

The character development is gone over very lightly. From one page to the next, Torak goes from finding the wolf pup annoying, to needing it and worrying about it. Torak and Renns relationship is interesting, but the development is left out, and with that, the most interesting part.

As a reader, you aren't guided through the feelings of the book, making you feel the same way - you are just forced to accept them, whether you understand them or not. In general throughout the book, you just have to accept a lot of things which could probably have been understood if we knew the characters a bit better.

Not just the character development is fast - the entire book is fast. The journey is supposed to include finding impossible objects based on a not-very-helpful riddle and defeating an impossible enemy. But Torak pretty much stumbles over the objects, just like he defeats the bad guy in about half a page. The plot could last two books - *at least* - but instead, it's done very quickly, leaving out for example character development. It doesn't turn Torak into a hero you cheer for as he has to figure out impossible situations - he's just a guy who happens to be "the chosen one", who is given most of the things he needs pretty much for free. What happened to the "impossible" part?

Not to mention what seems like a mistake that I couldn't overlook throughout the book (other readers of this book, this is actually a question - is it a mistake, or have I misunderstood something?): Torak isn't allowed to mention the name of the dead - his father - for five years after his death, yet later in the book, he does this several times, casually.

The scene is set for a good story containing interesting characters in an intriguing world. Instead, Wolf Brother is a decent book if you just want light reading with an alright story, and don't ask for too much besides that.
1 review
August 15, 2010
When you start reading the first paragraph of Wolf Brother, you're hooked. You keep turning pages, and learn of the setting, set back 6,000 years ago in the continent of europe. Your eyes follow the lines of the page, and realize the continent is not separated into countries, but clans, named after native wildlife. You flip the page to the next chapter, and learn of the main character of this story, Torak. You discover that his father was killed by a mysterious demon animal, and Torak is left alone at only twelve summers(12 years) old. You feel the paper in between your fingers when Torak takes it upon himself to avenge his father, to find the being that committed the crime. Now you stop. It is your decision. Do you set the book down, and continue what you were doing before you jumped into the adventure of wolf brother? Or do you continue on with flipping page after page, reading about Torak's difficulties, the friends he makes, suspenseful moments, and surprises during his journey? You may think it is impossible for a book to be this good. But no! Just ask anyone who has read the book or heck, the whole series! they will tell you it was a "10" on the "how awesome this book was " scale.
Profile Image for Vicki.
2,143 reviews82 followers
May 27, 2020
This is one of those books that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. At first I wasn't too sure because I only had the audio version and the narrator was at times difficult for me to understand, but I got used to it so my enjoyment of the book increased.

Torak is orphaned and he and his wolf cub are purposed to save the world from evil, a demonic bear. Torak promised his father on his dad's death bed that he would travel to the home of the World Spirit and basically beg for help. In order to get help, he must sacrifice something quite precious to him. I was not expecting help in the form that it came but I loved it.

Also, The book has both the Wolf's and Torak's POV's so we get insight into both characters' thinking. I thoroughly loved getting into Wolf's head. I always find it fun for an animal to be personified and to feel as though I'm truly understanding how it feels or thinks about things. So that was a plus.
Profile Image for Leigh.
150 reviews
June 10, 2011
Loved it.
The ancient world was exciting to hear about, to see what the author has pieced together from fact to create her own, very unique and quite credible land of ancient darkness and magic.
Fast paced, and full of adventure.

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it's as good as ever. Started out with the audio book but finished with the actual copy. i much prefer this way but the audio was very easy to just slot into my day.
Profile Image for Heather Wade.
82 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2022
Another week, another kids book distracting me from what I was already reading
Profile Image for Sabrina.
457 reviews13 followers
October 4, 2022
Maybe you cannot believe this, but I never heard about Wolf Brother as a child. Not sure, if it is less known in German-speaking countries or if I just missed it. In any case, it has popped up in my news feed with good reviews and has recently been a kindle deal. So, I decided to give this a try. However, not knowing anything about it, I did not really know that the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness have been written for children. So, imagine my surprise reading this on the first page. My disappointment was almost palpable: I got myself a children’s book! However, I am really glad, that I gave it a try. It is an excellent and well written story. The setting is especially precious, as there are few stories set in the ancient times. I wish I would have a child to read the story to, but for myself there is just not enough meat on the bone to continue.
Profile Image for Kat  Hooper.
1,582 reviews395 followers
November 21, 2011
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Torak and his father have been living alone, away from their clan, for as long as Torak can remember. When a demon-possessed bear attacks them one night, Torak’s father is mortally wounded. Before he dies, he makes Torak promise to seek the Mountain of the World Spirit. On his journey to the mountain, Torak meets a recently orphaned wolf cub who becomes his guide, and then the boy and his wolf are captured by a tribe who wonder if Torak will fulfill their prophecy and save them from the demon-bear. There he meets Renn, a brave and spirited girl who only wants what’s best for her tribe. Meanwhile, the bear still hunts them.

Michelle Paver’s Wolf Brother, the first in a series of children’s novels called The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, is a serious and gripping story. The writing is lovely and full of beautiful imagery, especially in the sections written from the wolf cub’s perspective. The story is original, suspenseful, and a little bit frightening. It promotes love, loyalty, and courage.

Wolf Brother is a perfect read for children in the targeted age range of 9-12. Torak, Wolf, and Renn are easy to love and the ancient wilderness setting is fascinating and offers lots of opportunities for learning about forest survival techniques.

Teens and adults will probably wish that Torak, Renn, and Wolf had to work a bit harder to fulfill their goals. Until the end, Torak mostly manages to accidentally stumble upon what he needs rather than apply his skills, courage, or wits. This aspect of the story was disappointing, but it was so well written otherwise that I still enjoyed it.

I read Wolf Brother on audio. The narrator is enthusiastic and pleasant to listen to. However, he has a deep, gruff, slightly muddy voice with an English accent that my 9-year-old daughter found difficult to follow. If you’re thinking about the audio version for a child, you might want to have them listen to a sample first.
Profile Image for Imi.
377 reviews109 followers
March 22, 2015
This will be a brief review of the whole Chronicle of Ancient Darkness series, but there won't be any spoilers from any of the books.

I loved this series as a child. It was one of my childhood obsessions. And I hate leaving a series unfinished. Unfortunately, by the time the final book, Ghost Hunter, was released, I was already way older than the series' target audience and had moved on to other things. Only last year, when I read Paver's adult novel Dark Matter, did I decide to reread the first 5 books of the series and then finally read its conclusion.

Of course, it is very different coming back to a children's series as an adult. The lack of character development and the formulaic structure of the plots of each book made it difficult for me to get completely absorbed in the world this time. Fortunately, as the books are so short, it was easy for me to breeze and it was definitely pleasant to revisit these characters again.

None of this would be a problem for a child, especially one that struggles with reading. The length of each book is perfect for children and it's action-packed, so will hopefully keep their interest. Although many of the secondary characters are barely distinguishable, the main trio (Torak, Renn and Wolf) are great and very easy to cheer on. The best aspect of the series, however, is certainly it's setting, 6000 years in the past. These books are a fantastic way to get children interested in prehistory, the people of the Stone Age, how they lived, what they believed and the natural world.

Overall, this series probably won't have enough substance to hold the interest of any adult reader, unless you are used to reading children books, but I'd certainly recommend it for children aged 8-13.
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