Outcast, by Michelle Paver

In Outcast, the fourth book in the Chronicles of Darkness, Torak find that his mother of Red Deer Clan declared him clanless. His unusual power of being able to talk with animals makes the people of the Raven Clan uneasy. Wolf returns from his adopted pack to be with him. Torak still has an uneasy adolescent relationship with Renn. Meanwhile, his cousin Bale from the Seal Clan is fostering with the Ravens and Torak is jealous of his relationship with Renn.

Torak was tatooed on his chest against his will by the Soul Eaters and is cast out.

An outcast has almost all his possessions taken away from him and if he is found nearby he will be killed. Torak gets Renn’s help to be able to cut out his tatoo himself and do the proper rituals so it won’t grow back. Meanwhile, Aki, the son of the Boar Clan chief and a big bully, afraid of his father’s opinion, swears to hunt down Torak and kill him. When they are attacked by a wild animal in the forest, Torak comes down from a tree to help Aki up to safety. Now Aki cannot kill him as Torak has saved his life.

Torak journeys to a huge lake with lots of reeds around the edges where the Otter Clan lives on one shore. The Viper Mage is in the area and charms Torak even though he knows she is evil and wants him to get control of the remaining pieces of the Fire Opal. If the remaining mages and the pieces of the Fire Opals can be joined they can gain the Power to subjugate the clans and the forest.

Torak goes a bit mad living by himself in the reeds and forest. Part of the story is also that of friends keeping secrets from friends. Torak didn’t tell Renn about the Soul Eater tattoo at first because “he was waiting for the right time” to tell her. Then Renn doesn’t tell Torak when she finds out she is the Viper Mage’s daughter.

In the meantime, the lake is getting sick and all the fish are dying and a malformed two headed fish is caught. The lake level keeps dropping, but why? Torak finally figures out just in time what is making the lake sick and saves all the clans from a huge flood. Finally, Fin-Kedinn of the Ravens takes him as a foster son and he returns to live with the Ravens while Renn has moved in with the Raven mage to continue her studies of magecraft.

ISBN 978-0-06-072836-6, c. 2008, 319 pages.


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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