Fans of Beyonders and Fablehaven will want to check out Spirit Animals, Scholastic’s latest middle-grade, multi-platform series. In the tradition of 39 Clues and The Infinity Ring, Spirit Animal will be written by different authors and be tied to an online game. Brandon Mull, author of Fablehaven and Beyonders, planned the story-arch for the 7 books in the series and will write the premier novel, Wild Born, which releases September 10th, and Maggie Stiefvater has committed to penning the second book.
According to Publisher’s Weekly,
Spirit Animals is set in the world of Erdas, where children go through a coming-of-age ritual to determine if they have a “spirit animal,” which represents a bond between human and beast that bestows each with great power. The story centers on four children from different cultures who undergo the ritual and discover they have been chosen for a greater destiny.
This plot line moves Scholastic’s middle grade series out of the action rut it was digging and into fantasy.
So far, both of the authors attached to the series are YA writers, but they are both excited about Spirit Animals, though for very different reasons.
For Mull, who has never written what he calls a “team book,” Spirit Animals entailed “almost a whole new way of thinking.” He likens the story arc he developed to “a playbook that the other authors will use. For me, the heart of it was getting the world and the story right. It was exciting to know that the story would cross over, not only to the online game component, but also to other storytelling styles. That’s the strength of a collaborative project like this: creating a unified story, working out of the same playbook, but having different authors bring different strengths to installments. I’m very excited to see how other authors run with it.”
Stiefvater, on the other hand, enjoys exploring a new audience with seasoned colleagues available for guidance. The fact that her children could actually read this series is also a big plus. But the facet of Spirit Animals that really interested her is the mythology.
“I love the concept, largely because I love Celtic mythology, which animals have a big role in,” she says. “I know that mythology will be a big part of my contribution to the series.”