Guardian of Giria by June Molloy
I love animal stories as you may know – but not just any animal stories – they have to be well-thought out, and not rely on easy cliches about animals, and not turn animals into furry-four-footed humans, plus they have to evoke the natural world convincingly. With love, care, intelligence and compassion.
Aimed at middle grade readers but definitely able to be njoyed by older readers, June Molloy’s Guardian of Giria does exactly that. All of it. And well.
The story is immediately immersive and completely believable (no spoilers here). The differing perspectives of the animal characters in this story all make sense and offer unique insights. There is a lot to learn, a lot to wonder about, but especially a lot to love. I would read more about these characters any time – more books in the same world please!
The interactions between the creatures in their own groups and between groups of other animals is fascinating. Although I have said that these characters are not pseudo-humans, the clever representation of their widely varied world-views does give the reader some cause to reflect on the differences between humans – why they fight – why they go to war – why they love each other.
Felix is probably the most rounded character, though it was Indigo who won my heart. What can I say? I’m a sucker for wolves.
Many readers of fantasy and other speculative fiction will love this book just as much as I did. Similar authors – Kathryn Lasky, Michelle Paver.