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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Spirit Beasts by Cody Rose is the first book in the Echoes of the Moon series. The planet underwent a horrific change following a poisonous cloud in an event referred to as the Eternal Moon. As a result, the animals disappeared, only to return as something new that came to be known as Spirit Beasts. Several centuries later, Cavin is living in this world and has finally been given his chance to achieve his dream of becoming a Spirit Raizer; by taking part in the Quest for Champion. With help from his friend Krone and other allies, Cavin embarks on a dangerous adventure that will take him out of his comfort zone and up against a dangerous Corporation that plans to use Spirit Beasts for deadly purposes.
This world is a delightful mix of quests, animals, and action and is a fun addition to the YA genre. A fast-paced plot keeps the action moving along quickly while taking time to have calmer moments between friends. The setting is rooted in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere that has changed the state of the Earth due to a poisonous cloud. The primary focus is on the animals as a tool for power with them being the goal of the Skylight Corp. to retrieve and as the basis for what Cavin hopes to achieve. These beast-like creatures add an epic quality to the quests which makes the Quest for Champion feel reminiscent of the trials of Hercules or Arthurian legends. The bond between beasts and people is a unique feature of the quests and adds an interesting angle to Cavin’s goals while providing more to the stakes that they face.
At the core of this adventure is the friendship between Cavin and Krone which adds a lightness to the story’s tone and is an important component to the outcome of events. The structure primarily focuses on Calvin's perspective though it does feature other characters such as Seth and Joff who add more substance to the world. Spirit Beasts blend quests, beasts, and a post-apocalyptic inspired setting to create a delightful YA adventure.