Reviews for Circle of Heroes

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
In this third installment, cat Aldwyn, frog Gilbert, and blue jay Skylar, the prophesied familiars, embark on a quest to unite seven magical animal descendants before the evil hare Paksahara and her Dead Army of zombie animals forever rid the world of human magic. Rollicking adventure and playful humor add whimsy to this series' theme of fulfilling destiny.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #2
Despite obvious new injections of suspense and complexity, this quest-ender is mediocre. The "Prophesized Three"--telekinetic cat Aldwyn, illusion-summoning blue jay Skylar and frog Gilbert, who sees the future in puddles--leave their human "loyals" behind for safety (human magic's been stolen) and journey to collect "[d]escendants of the seven species that formed the First Phylum." In their way stands an army of ravaging zombie animals, raised from the Tomorrowlife by evil hare Paksahara. Paksahara claims she wants animals to rule themselves rather than being enslaved by humans, but it's clear that in this world a human-animal alliance is the morally superior goal. Obstacles are variable and sometimes adorable ("very, very small hippopotamuses….no taller than cucumbers wearing body armor and carrying blowguns"), but they're incredibly easy to defeat. (Knife thrown? Aldwyn's telekinesis will turn it aside. Exhausted? A neveryawn nut offers "a full night's sleep in mere seconds.") Beginning a sentence with the word "Amazingly" can't force excitement, nor can superlatives ("the fake glyphstone must have been their cleverest trick yet"). Welcome notes of unpredictability--an alternate-history concept and the question "what if… prophecies d[o]n't always come true?"--buckle before the obvious ending. The prose doesn't live up to the nuance it attempts, and narrative thrust is weak; hand this off to readers who crave episodic danger that doesn't feel too dangerous. (Fantasy. 7-11) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 November

Gr 3-6--What if everyone thought you were destined to save the world, but you thought the prophecy wasn't true? Aldwyn, a black cat, struggles with these thoughts even as he continues on the quest with his two friends and fellow familiars, Skylar the blue jay and Gilbert the tree frog. They need to rescue the queendom of Vastia from the evil gray-haired rabbit Paksahara, who has built a zombie animal army. In this third installment in the series, readers find themselves in a world in which magical human wizards (loyals) have animal companions (familiars) who possess extraordinary magical powers of their own. In order to restore peace and harmony between animals and humans, Aldwyn, Skylar, and Gilbert must gather seven descendants from different animal families to call the Shifting Palace and overcome Paksahara's magic. Unfortunately, she has taken away human magic and so the familiars must complete the task on their own. This leads to many adventures, great danger, and the discovery of the true history and role animals have played in Vastia, all culminating in a climactic battle. Readers need to start at the beginning of the series, since earlier characters and plotlines are not reintroduced. Though much of the plot will be predictable for any fantasy reader, the interaction of the animals and the personalities associated with the different species are highly entertaining. The implied promise of more books to come will keep interest in this series high. A perfect recommendation for fans of Kathryn Lasky's "Guardians of Ga'hoole" (Scholastic) and Erin Hunter's "The Warriors" series (HarperCollins).Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MA

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