When the switch to clear fantasy?In the first book, it's rather unclear whether there is actual magic in this world, or whether its a mixture of animal training, use of herbs, religious beliefs, and genetic quirks (such as an unusually large bear). It's fantasy, but if the genre isn't to one's tastes, with a little Willing Suspensionof Disbelief regarding Torak being able to speak to Wolf, readers can interpret the fantasy as simply the characters explaining away things they don't understand. In the second book, it becomes undeniably fantasy when Torak learns he can Spirit Walk. I know it's to advance the plot, but I find it interesting that the author chooses to go to straight out fantasy over keeping it ambiguous.
- Paver probably intended it to be fantasy all along, and simply didn't account for the fact that different fans have different thresholds for Willing Suspension of Disbelief. What is ambiguous to a reader might not look so from the author's POV.
It's made explicitly clear in the first book, and reiterated several times throughout the series, that it's forbidden to speak aloud the name of a dead person for the following five summers. IIRC, Torak doing so in Oathbreaker is treated as a major issue, incites conflict between him and Renn, and even becomes a minor subplot due to being haunted by Bale's spirit.
So why, then, in Spirit Walker, does Torak mention recently-deceased Oslak by name approximately three times throughout the course of the book? Despite this law being referenced after Oslak dies, Torak willingly breaks it on multiple occasions. The law is not mentioned at any of these points, nor are there any repercussions — implied or otherwise — for doing so. None of the other characters react to it either, unlike in Oathbreaker. Maybe just forgetfulness on Paver's part?
- Probably. She keeps firmly to the rule regarding all the other characters.
Corpse LootingNear the climax of the first book, Torak runs across a corpse and is very careful not to touch it, because it might anger the dead's spirit. Yet he shows precisely zero concern over lifting things from the man's body, i. e. looting the corpse. Er, what?
- Taking dead people's supplies is going to improve your own likelihood of survival if you need anything they have. A taboo against corpse-looting would probably backfire on a lot of people in their society, so it never developed.