Guest post (Isobel Dixon Wilkins): The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series


So since I knew I would be deep in revision mode this week, I asked my friend Izzy to write a review of this series before exam period started. Partly to save me, partly because I wanted to know if I should read them! I’m sold. I hope you enjoy this guest post (if you’re not completely sold, I just discovered Ian McKellen reads the audio book…)

I started reading these books years ago when only the first two were out, and when my lovely mother mentioned them in passing the other day I realised I had never finished the series. I read the first book nearly ten years ago, and I still love it just as much. It is set in Finland just after the Ice Age, and the only series that has such a real picture of prehistory in the same way is the Jean M Auel books (which are set much earlier, and you should definitely read).


Torak is left alone in the forest at the age of eleven when his Fa dies after being attacked by a bear of terrible strength. The blurb from the back of the book is:

“Six thousand years ago, Evil stalks the land. According to legend, only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. Torak and Wolf are terrified of their mission. But if they do not battle to save their world, who will?”

The six books follow Torak through his life as he and Wolf fight against a terrifying group of evil mages. They find friends among some of the clans, and enemies in others. Torak learns more about his parents and why he was brought up isolated, away from the clans.

Things I liked

Pretty much everything. These books are full of wonderful characters, I love them all.

Michelle Paver is a pro at building a feeling of dread, whenever anything bad happened I found myself just as scared as Torak. From grey moths bringing madness, to snow storms, everything is terrifying.

The imagery is great, I have such a detailed picture of forest and the characters in my mind. There’s one part in the second book where a guy rips a scab off and eats it, which still makes my stomach turn when I think of it. It was just so real.

The books get slowly darker and more tense as they go on, matching Torak getting older. Reminded me (a little) of the progression in the Harry Potter series.

Things I disliked

They are too short! Technically Young Adult books, they are easy reading and only about 300 pages each, so I got through all six in three days. I would have loved for them to have gone on much longer because I enjoyed them so much.

If I was being critical, I could say that the villains are a little one dimensional, they are evil for the sake of evil. But, given that these are only a quick, YA read, it didn’t bother me a whole lot.

Should you read it?

Well, yeah. These books are not geared towards a certain gender, nor are they too ‘Young Adult’ for all you adults to read. I started reading them when I was eleven, and they translated just as well when I read them at 21. They are fast-paced, exciting, and lovely. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying them.


The complete series

* * * * *

The Book Depository

You can buy the book here:

Because I am trying not to use Amazon in my own half-arsed protest-y way, I’d like to recommend to people that they check out The Book Depository, which is a great, user-friendly site with affordable books ranging from brand new releases to classics, and in many different editions at less-than brand new prices. As I am now officially an affiliate of The Book Depository, I gain a small commission if you use my affiliate link to buy books! Please do check it out, even if you don’t buy anything right now.




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