Books · Children's Fiction · Reviews · Young Teen Fiction

Review: Oath Breaker by Michelle Paver


Published: (Paperback Version) 2009, Orion Children’s Books

Summary (I’ll keep it brief so it’s spoiler free if you haven’t read the other books yet!): Oath Breaker is the fifth instalment in Michelle Paver’s Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness. This series follows Torak through his adventures in the Forest world of north-west Europe some six thousand years ago when people lived in clans and held their Forest home and fellow Forest creatures in incredibly high regard.

This story begins in the Spring directly after the events of Outcast but there is a turn as Torak goes from being the hunted to the hunter. In a fit of anger he swears an oath of revenge and his entire mind is filled with a reckless determination to follow it through. To do this he has to venture into the Deep Forest, where the clans seem much more primitive than those of the Open Forest and other lands. During his journey Torak discovers many truths about himself and the world he lives in.

Length: 238 pages

What I liked: Where to start? I have loved this series of books since I first opened Wolf Brother in 2004. Michelle Paver’s beautiful writing creates an ancient world that instantly draws you in and makes you believe in it so much you can almost feel the breeze and hear the Forest leaves rustling around you.

I love her detail. She has obviously done a lot of research and truly immersed herself in the world of post-ice age Europe  and this reflects in every single line of the book. You can tell she has spent days at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust watching how the wolves move and act around each other, you can tell she’s visited Polish forests untouched by human hands and all of that adds up to make these some of the best young teen novels I have ever read in terms of world building and realism.

Her characters are brilliant also. Surprisingly easy to relate to despite living lives so different from our own, just a few pages in it feels ‘normal’ to leave a scrap of food in a tree fork as a ‘thank you’ to the Forest for providing or making sure your bow is carefully oiled and always ready to use. Torak is strong-willed and one of my favourite characters in any book, partly because of his close relationship to Wolf and partly because he is so very human in his doubts, passion and fears.

The story is fast paced and exciting, keeping you turning the pages long after you should have switched off the light and gone to sleep or stopped reading to do your homework.

What I didn’t like: This is much harder to answer because there is nothing I can come up with to dislike. Which means Michelle must be doing something very right indeed.

All I can say, is I can’t wait to read Ghost Hunter – the final instalment of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

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Summer Break Reading Challenge

Books Completed 1/16

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