A series of books by Britain-dwelling writer Michelle Paver. It is set in northern Europe—most likely Scandinavia—six thousand years ago and widely concerns the hunter-gatherer clans that live in the Forest, but specifically concerns Torak note Not related to the Big Bad in The Belgariad of Wolf Clan, as well as his wolf 'pack-brother' Wolf and his friend Renn of Raven Clan. The books follow the three companions as they stop a group of evil Mages (shamans) gone rogue, called Soul Eaters. The series takes place over approximately four years.There are six books, with the final one released in August 2009:
This is set almost entirely in the Forest, and largely serves as an introduction to the characters, the world, and the clan system. It begins with Torak's father being killed by an enormous bear-demon. Torak, surviving without his father for the first time, finds and pretty much adopts an orphaned wolf cub, who he appropriately names Wolf. The rest of the book is about Torak's quest (with Wolf and Renn) to hunt down and slay the bear. Soul Eater No.1, Torak's father the Wolf Mage, is killed. But we don't find out that he was a Soul Eater until... Soul Eater.
This one expands the world a little: in it, Torak heads out to find a cure for a plague. His journey takes him to the islands west of the Forest and introduces us to the Seal Clan, where he meets a Seal Clan boy called Bale. Soul Eater No.2, Tenris the Seal Mage, is killed.
The world is expanded again. This time, Torak and Renn travel to the tundra north of the Forest to rescue Wolf, who is kidnapped by the Soul Eaters. We are introduced to the Ice Clans, particularly the White Fox Clan. Soul Eater No.3, Nef the Bat Mage, is killed.
Unlike its predecessors, this one takes place entirely within the Forest and particularly around a lake called Lake Axehead. Torak is thrown out of the Raven Clan for something that happened in Soul Eater. We meet more clans, including the Boar and the Otter clan. Soul Eater No.4, Seshru the Viper Mage—and Renn's mother—is killed.
Takes place mostly within the Deep Forest, amongst the mysterious Deep Forest clans such as Auroch, Forest Horse, and Torak's mother's clan, the Red Deer. Bale is killed by Soul Eater No.5, Thiazzi the Oak Mage. Torak, Wolf, Renn and Raven Clan chief Fin-Kedinn set off to get revenge, heading deep into the dark heart of the Forest and running afoul of the clans that live there. Except the Red Deer, who are strictly pacifistic. Soul Eater No.5, Thiazzi the Oak Mage, is killed.
Mainly takes place in the High Mountains, with clans such as Mountain Hare, Rowan, Swan, and the mysterious Hidden People. It follows Torak's journey to confront the final Soul Eater, Eostra, after the latter spreads a mysterious disease and fear throughout the lands. Soul Eater No.6, Eostra the Eagle Owl Mage, is killed... and Torak. note Although he does get better.
Even if Stone Age-set adventures aren't your cup of tea, these are worth reading for the worldbuilding. Ms Paver has done a lot of research into the world she writes about.Most of the the character tropes are on the character page.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead - Bale is the blonde, Torak is the brunette, and Renn is the redhead. But none of them entirely fit the stereotypes—in the Forest, Bale's a bit of a klutz since he doesn't know how to manage, but at the Sea he goes so far as to be an Insufferable Genius. Torak is clever enough (more than clever enough when it comes to tracking, where he is a Scarily Competent Tracker,) but he can be incredibly stupid and impulsive. Renn is definitely a Fiery Redhead, but she's also the calm, practical and rational one.
Doom Magnet - Torak! And Dyrati accuses Renn of this. Renn denies it, but later wonders if it's true. And for a supporting character, Aki never seems to catch a break.
Dreaming of Things to Come: In Soul Eater, while in pursuit of Wolf, Torak dreams of a suffocating tree, the beat of leathery wings, creatures that slither beside him, and the ominous call of a bird. He later meets the last Soul Eaters: Thiazzi the Oak Mage, Nef the Bat Mage, Seshru the Viper Mage, and Eostra, the Eagle Owl Mage.
Renn, as a potential mage, gets this too. She has a dream of Torak raising his axe to kill Wolf—but it doesn't come to pass because while he really intended to cut off the part of Wolf's tail that was infected, he couldn't bring himself to do it.
Dream Weaver - Seshru. In Outcast, she sends Torak a dream to meet her at a spring. At the time, he believes it was Renn who was in the dream, hinting the resemblance between Renn and Seshru.
Earn Your Happy Ending: With equal parts Bittersweet Ending. The Soul Eaters are defeated, but Torak finds himself unable to live with the clans after all that's happened. At least Renn goes with him, even though it means leaving her beloved uncle and Torak's foster father behind. And of course, Wolf, his mate, and their last-surviving cub go with them, along with Rip and Rek.
Everyone Can See It - In Outcast Seshru uses this to bait Renn into telling Torak that Seshru is her mother. In the beginning of Ghost Hunter, Fin-Kedinn does everything he can to keep Torak and Renn away from each other, because he know if they became mates that they would leave the Raven Clan. It ends up happening, but he's alright with it. Later in the book, Dark asks Torak if he and Renn are mates, without even meeting her.
Face-Heel Turn - Hord. Also, Dyrati, kind of, although Renn could be right, maybe she's just a bitch.
Fatal Attractor - If Bale hadn't fallen for Renn, then he and Torak wouldn't have argued, Torak wouldn't have stormed away from Bale, and Bale wouldn't have been murdered by Thiazzi.
Flat World - Though the series takes place in our world, it is set 6,000 years ago. Naturally, their beliefs are different, and it is suggested that they believe the Earthy is flat. In Soul Eater, when Torak and Renn travel to the Far North, Renn is anxious that they might accidentally miss the end of the world.
When Torak puts the Death Marks on Fa, he only awkwardly manages to put the mark over his heart because of an old scar Fa had. That's where he cut out the mark of the Soul Eaters, which Torak later forcibly receives in Soul Eater.
In Wolf Brother, Fin-Kedinn pales when he notices Torak's medicine horn. That's because it's his mother's, who Fin-Kedinn was in love with when he was younger.
In Soul Eater, Seshru's voice reminds Wolf of Renn's voice.
In Outcast, the Otter Mage tells Bale that he needs to use his time wisely. He dies in the next book.
Official Couple - Torak and Renn. Oh, the rage on the fan boards, when Bale told Torak that he was going to ask Renn to be his mate in Oath Breaker. It turned to delight when he died horribly. Poor guy.
Two Guys and a Girl - Torak, Bale, Renn in Spirit Walker, Outcast and then a little in Oath Breaker. It doesn't end well...
The Unreveal - Despite a fair bit of build-up, we never find out what Torak's father was called.
What Happened to the Mouse? - Aki, Sialot and Poi get the 'shadow sickness' in Ghost Hunter, as part of Eostra's spell, and we never find out if they get better. Sialot and Poi are mentioned a few times through out the books, but the reader never meets them. Aki, however, is mentioned several times, but also appears a lot through out the books, and he is an important character in Outcast.
World of Ham - When the four remaining Soul Eaters were gathered together is the third book... Soul Eater, they were this trope. Except Nef.