Young Hylas--goatherd, Outsider, thief--is hunted by powerful warriors who want him dead and have kidnapped his sister. Hylas is forced to flee his home, but not before a mysterious stranger gives him a bronze dagger. While on the run, Hylas must use his skill and wits to survive a shipwreck and a great white shark attack, befriend a dolphin, and help Pirra, the runaway daughter of a High Priestess. Together with Pirra, the dolphin, and the valuable bronze sword, Hylas fights to discover why he's being hunted and find his sister before the warriors find them.
Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was recommended this book by Audible, as I love science fiction and fantasy. I read the synopsis and decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed it.
Hylas is an outsider (someone not from the village) who has been adopted (somewhat) by a family that keeps goats. He is only 12 years old, but he takes the responsibility of looking after the livestock very seriously. However, when a group of warriors he calls "Crows", starts chasing him and his sister, Issi, he finds himself in an adventure of a lifetime.
This is an exciting young adult story set in the Bronze age. Narrated by the actor Toby Stephens, the story takes the reader on an amazing journey. His voice has a calming timbre that was soothing and exciting at the same time. He read the story with a steady pace that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. I think I could die happy listening to his voice!
The story is a mixture of action, adventure and danger that kept me hooked! The story is mostly told through Hylas's point of view, but there are some scenes which are seen through the eyes of other characters including Pirra, a young girl, and a dolphin. This gives the story an interesting feel.
Pirra comes across as a spoilt brat, who is accustomed to having her every wish granted. However, she grew on me as the story continued. She is stubborn and determined, but she is also very lonely.
The dolphin gives the story a slight twist. They are very intelligent in real life, and this dolphin is no exception. I don't know if it is curiosity, empathy, or something else that makes this mammal so fearless and trusting towards humans. The dolphin in this story is portrayed in the same way, and is very friendly; Hylas names him Spirit.
The mystery and suspense of why the warriors were chasing Hylas was quite intense, and I felt his confusion and terror as he was chased by them. There are some amazing scenes that are described that made me feel like I was there. The fire scene was one such scene - it was definitely intense! The end of the book was a bit bittersweet (in my opinion), and made me want to read/listen to the next book in the series, The Burning Shadow, to see if Hylas eventually finds his sister, Issi.
Michelle Paver has written an exciting young adult adventure that was fast paced and exciting. I loved the way the story flowed, and how she described the scenes in such a way that they came alive in my mind's eye. I would definitely read more of her books in the future.
I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 10 to 15, and to adults who love YA novels. - Lynn Worton
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