Reviews for The Quest Begins
Booklist Reviews 2008 May #2
The author of the Warriors series turns her attention from cats to bears in this first book in the Seekers series. Despite the change in species, much will be familiar to readers. Alternating narratives tell the tales of three young bear cubs, who will be brought together in future installments: Kallik, a female polar bear cub who witnesses her mother's death by orca pod; Lusa, a black bear cub in a zoo; and Toklo, a grizzly bear cub abandoned by a mother. As befits the first title in a series, the bears' tales are given ample time to develop and include details that may be painful to animal lovers and could disturb more sensitive readers. Each tale touches on environmental issues, and Toklo's story provides the first glimpse of a fantasy element. Told with an interesting balance of cute anthropomorphic characterization and realistic attention to bear behaviors and the brutalities of life in the wild, these stories will be welcomed by the Warriors series' many fans. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Switching from feline to ursine characters is a fairly smooth transition for Hunter (the Warriors books). This first volume in the new fantasy series is slow to get going, but still provides insight into bear behavior along with gripping scenes of life-and-death struggles as it follows three bear cubs on separate journeys destined to become intertwined. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2008 May #2
Once upon a time there were three bears--cubs who live completely separate lives until various tragedies cause their paths to intersect. Gentle, loving Kallik, a polar bear, lives with her family until a disastrously early spring thaw leads to her mother's death. Lusa, a bright and curious black bear, finds her adventurous spirit confined by the zoo where she lives. Toklo, a rebellious grizzly, longs to be independent while hampered by his sickly brother and despairing mother. Then there is Ujurak, who looks like a bear cub (sometimes), but might be something else entirely. Drawn by the beckoning North Star, each sets off on a journey to the unknown. As in her immensely popular Warriors series, Hunter creates a richly sensuous world filled with cruelty, beauty, tenderness, savagery and just enough underlying legendary background to add mystery. Unfortunately, so much effort goes into developing characters and settings that the plot barely gets into motion by the last page. Still, fans of animal fantasies will adore the careful attention to detail, and will haunt the shelves for the next volume. (Fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 May #2
Hunter (the Warriors series) kicks off a new series as three young bears, unknown to one another, each embark on a perilous journey. Two of the characters, Kallik, a polar bear, and Toklo, a grizzly, were born in the wild and lose their mothers to tragic events. To survive, they must draw on their underdeveloped instincts. Lusa, a black bear, has grown up in "the Bear Bowl," a protected environment at a zoo, but to fulfill a promise (to Toklo's rescued mother, as it turns out) she leaves it and ventures into wilderness. The bears find help from other, more seasoned bears and are comforted by their belief in mythical bear spirits as they navigate the harsh realities of life in the wild. By the end, only Toklo and Lusa have met, and the purpose of the quest has not been fully revealed. Although this book does not seem as tightly written as the Warriors titles, readers will appreciate the bears' struggle to survive, along with Hunter's environmental theme. The suspenseful conclusion will build in an eager audience for the next installment. Ages 10-up. (June) [Page 54]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 December
Gr 5-9--In this new series, readers meet three bear cubs: Kallik, a polar bear; Lusa, a black bear; and Toklo, a brown bear. The story follows their adventures, narrated in alternating chapters. Kallik loses her mother in a killer-whale attack and is separated from her brother. She has never lived on her own before, and never been anywhere but on the ice. Lusa hears stories about life in the wild that eventually cause her to leave the safety of the zoo. Toklo is abandoned by his mother, who flees into the woods in grief when his brother dies. All three cubs are now learning to survive in the woods with minimal knowledge and ability and with no adult allies. From the first page, this story is exciting and refreshing. The bears' declining habitat is evident, and often throughout their journey the animals have to dodge cars and humans with guns. The plot is fast paced, and the author is apt at creating and sustaining the adrenaline-charged mood of these youngsters on their own.--Jennifer-Lynn Draper, Children's Literature Consultant, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada [Page 126]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2008 August
The quartet who write as Erin Hunter begin a new series with this title, and eager readers are already lining up. Three bear cubs independently set out on an epic journey to the Arctic, each drawn by the North Star. Kallik is an orphan polar bear; Toklo is a grizzly, abandoned by his mother; Lusa, a black bear, has escaped from the zoo to search for Toklo and bring him a message from his mother. Toklo is the unwilling protector of Ujurak, a shape-shifter who may be bear one minute and eagle the next. In the wild, each faces hunger, natural obstacles, and danger from other bears as their paths gradually converge. As the first volume, this story is slowed by the need for much setup. Bear society promises to be less complex than that of the feral cats in the popular Warriors series, but there is the additional challenge of delineating the habits and behavior of three different species of bears. The bears share a language but have different mythologies and expectations of the world. The natural history is convincing, which makes the introduction of fantasy elements in the form of Ujurak a little jarring. The shape-shifter is a common figure in Native American mythology and Ujurak's character will no doubt be more fully developed in subsequent volumes. As in Warriors, life in the wild is portrayed as sometimes violent and tragic. This promising beginning opens what will doubtless be a much-requested series.-Kathleen Beck PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-087123-9. 4Q 4P M J Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.