by Cathy Brown
ISBN: 1894294750

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A Review of: Skydancer
by Olga Stein

A family of ravens is effectively realized in this book which follows in the tradition of Lassie and other marvelous works that employ animals as protagonists. Wulf comes into the world alongside sister Hesperus and brother Loki, with father Silver and mother Darkfeather nurturing and teaching them about the exigencies and dangers of life. Despite the caring and vigilance of the parents, young Wulf is attacked by a powerful and malicious older raven, Chaos, and sustains an injury which grounds him and exposes him to the cruel realities of existence. While his mother refuses to abandon him, his father is prepared to give him up in order to concentrate on the remaining healthy siblings. The experience is painful for Wulf, who eventually recovers his ability to fly, but it also strengthens him, makes him better able to withstand adversity later on.
One day, Silver and Darkfeather simply disappear as parent ravens do when their brood nears adult size. In order to preserve themselves from the murderous, territorial Chaos, the young trio flies east for days until they reach the sea. There they join another group of first-year ravens led by Shadow. For a while life is sweet as the flock feeds on mussel and fish with little to worry about. Then, Wulf is caught in a fishing line on the beach, and is close to death when he is saved by a man who has made a habit of rescuing wild life. He returns to altered circumstances: Chaos has followed the young ravens to the sea, killed his brother Loki, and badly injured Hesperus, his sister. To make matters worse, he has chased the terrified young ravens to a nearby island, terrorizing them so that they can neither leave the island nor forage adequately for food. Wulf finds the group half-starved and dispirited, and it becomes his dangerous task to find a way to get rid of Chaos for good. He is helped by visions of the spirit of Chaos's former mate, but ultimately it is his courage and ingenuity that saves the flock. Murphy gives us an excellent sense of how ravens live.

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