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Outcast (2007)

by Michelle Paver

Other authors: Geoff Taylor (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness (book 4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
600828,476 (4.23)5
Cast out of the Raven clan, Torak heads to the reedbeds at Lake Axehead, where he is hunted by the hidden people and he must do battle with an ancient evil.



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
[This is a review I wrote in 2008]

Another brilliant read in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. This one had me gripped from page 1, and wouldn't let me go until I'd finished it!. Michelle Paver draws you back into the ancient world, first created in 'Wolf Brother', into a hunter-gatherer society of survival, and here we find Torak (now 14) struggling not only to find his way through the forest, but also to find his way through to adulthood as well.

Torak now has some difficult paths ahead. He already knows his destiny lies in destroying the power of the spirit-walkers, the fire opal, but as he now bears the horrible brand of the spirit-walkers on his chest, can he free himself from their control? A number of events conspire against Torak in this book to make his journey a particularly tough one. However, he has the ever-faithful Wolf by his side, and his friends Renn and Bale want to help too... if he'll let them.

The other books in the series are 'Wolf Brother', 'Spirit Walker', and 'Soul Eater'. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Nov 13, 2020 |
This book is probably my least favorite of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness books so far. It felt like Paver tried to cram a whole lot of action into a small space, and as a result, it lacked depth and was a little confusing in sections (it was difficult to tell who was where in each scene sometimes). And some of the interactions were oversimplified almost to the point of being cringe-inducing. The closing scene in particular seemed more like the ending of a sitcom than the ending of a novel.

In my review of Soul Eater, I said that I hoped the series would turn into a coming-of-age story. Well, based on the last few chapters of Outcast, it looks like I might get my wish. That's a consolation, at least. I think it would have been a pity if Paver had missed out on the chance to let Torak and Renn grow up.

Two more books to go, and I'm done with this series. I'm still enjoying the story (especially the sections from Wolf's point of view) and looking forward to seeing where Paver takes it, but I think I'll be somewhat relieved when it's done. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Sep 27, 2013 |
This is a tricky situation for Torak, but Renn still believes in him. The most challenging of the series as it introduces concepts of relationships, love, right and wrong and decision making. ( )
  spud2000 | Feb 16, 2011 |
This book is all about Torak and how he tries to survive after he becomes an outcast. He has a tattoo of the soul eaters on his chest, and he finds out that his mother declared him clan-less. He leaves the other clans and is some hunted by Aki, the son of the Boar Clan leader. Torak starts to turn bad. He cant remember how to hunt, track, and cant remember some animals. Torak gets mad at Wolf and Wolf finds a new back. Renn finds Torak and helps him get the tattoo out. Torak starts to get better and Wolf is now friends with him again. Then the Viper Mage gets him, and uses him to attack Renn and Bale. He fights back and gets away. Torak finds Renn and Bale and takes them to safety,but the Viper Mage finds them. Viper Mage tells Torak that Renn is her daughter. Torak then leaves Renn and finds out that a flood is coming. He tells the clans and they take him back.
I think this book had a lot of less action. There was much more talking, but a lot of learning about people. It was very interesting to see what Torak was thinking about and how he was changing. I like that Bale was back because he makes the book a little more interesting. It was cool to see all the clans and learn about them at the meeting. The Otter people where very interesting because they are so weird. There was a lot to take in about all the people in the book. ( )
1 vote AaronKAwsome | Dec 20, 2010 |
I was working as a children’s bookseller when Michelle Paver sold her six-book series Chronicles of the Ancient Darkness for a record-breaking advance of just under £2 million, so I vividly remember the hype that ensued! The first in this highly anticipated Stone Age series was immediately a modern classic, with everyone and his grandmother racing out for a signed copy. Wolf Brother began the tale of Torak, a young Wolf Clan boy who becomes violently orphaned and left to fend for himself, when he befriends a wolf cub. Each consecutive book has seen Torak face more trials and tribulations in his journey toward adulthood.

Outcast and Oath Breaker are the fourth and fifth books in the Chronicles of the Ancient Darkness. Following on from the end of the last book, Soul Eater, Torak has been branded with a tattoo by the Soul Eaters, mages corrupted by power and dark magic. Carrying their evil mark, Torak is suspected to be in league with the Soul Eaters and is cast out from the Raven clan, the place he had begun to call home. As he flees, Torak finds himself not only in a fight for his life, but for his very sanity as his link with the Soul Eaters triggers his descent into madness. In these two books, Torak must battle the impending ecological disaster that will shake the very core of his world, and face the death of someone very close to him.

Perhaps the best asset to Paver’s series is her attention to detail. She has spent several years meticulously researching prehistoric life, spending time with Inuit and Sami tribes living in the wilds of Finland and Greenland. But it is this research that gives her story such realism, such depth. Interestingly, I have been enjoying this series far more than Clan of the Cave Bear, where I personally felt that Jean Auel had become too bogged down in the details of prehistoric life. The society that Paver has created is that of the hunter-gatherer, but the people she describes are surprisingly, yet believable advanced, socially and spiritually as well as technologically. I can imagine myself being quite at home in the world she created (aside from the evil Soul Eaters of course!).

Her characters are also completely believable, each with their own story and own journey. By far my favourite character is Wolf, the cub rescued by Torak, whose love and devotion to the boy provide the true heart to this series. Wolf has his own journey, often separate to Torak’s, but their fates are always linked with the bond they share as wolf brothers. My favourite parts of the story are often from his perspective, with Paver using unique vocabulary to describe how Wolf sees the world around him, such as Fast Wet and Bright Beast-that-bites-hot. Wolf’s journey in Outcast and Oath Breaker is especially touching, as he discovers his own desire to be part of a wolf family, along with a shocking revelation about his friend, Tall-Tailless.

This is an excellent series, but I implore you to read it as such. Though Michelle Paver does make a considerable effort for new readers, true enjoyment of these stories comes from following the saga from its beginning. I can only guess what struggles Torak will face in the forthcoming concluding chapter in this epic journey. I do hope Torak finds peace at last!
1 vote aleya79 | Nov 2, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paver, Michelleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orcese, AlessandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Cast out of the Raven clan, Torak heads to the reedbeds at Lake Axehead, where he is hunted by the hidden people and he must do battle with an ancient evil.

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