Broken Pride: Bravelands, Book 1

Book review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
Broken Pride: Bravelands, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Intense, sometimes violent start to rich, vivid animal saga.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Like other Erin Hunter books, Broken Pride is fantasy fiction but also includes a lot of detail about animal habits and the natural world, this time on the African savanna. Sights, sounds, and colorful landscapes all add to the appeal and invite kids to explore further. Heads up: The book assumes that the reader has a pretty good vocabulary and uses words like "intimidating," "malevolent," "escarpment," "foliage," and "silhouetted," along with names of indigenous animals and plants, such as "dik-dik" (a small antelope).

Positive Messages

Strong messages of courage, family, friendship, cooperation, and loyalty. Also the importance of teamwork and recognizing everyone's particular skills,  finding your own path, and being true to yourself while helping your loved ones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young protagonists Fearless the lion cub, his friend Thorn the baboon, and Sky the young elephant strive to do the right thing even when they're terrified -- which is often, as they deal with betrayal, treachery, and murder as well as the usual hazards of life in the wild. Fearless is determined to avenge his father's murder and get his pride back but also wise enough to know that he's still a kid. Meanwhile, he shows resourcefulness and courage in helping his family and friends, even when he's misunderstood and badly treated. Thorn sacrifices his own chances to help a friend, once in a contest and once when he breaks up with the girl he loves because he fears putting her in danger. Sky the elephant loves her herdmates, takes care of her little cousin, and obeys her revered grandmother. Some adults of various species are wise and heroic; others are spiteful or treacherous.

Violence & Scariness

Younger and/or sensitive kids may find the violence, grief, and betrayal too much to take here: Several young characters of different species have seen their parents killed; over the course of the story, several other adults, included beloved ones, are murdered. Then there's just plain nature "red in tooth and claw," as predators hunt and kill prey; in one scene Fearless stalks, kills, and eats a terrified zebra and savors every bloody moment. Vultures, bones, and dead bodies (of animals) are important in the story. Perhaps most scary are the speeches by characters who want to kill others and justify it all in the name of the greater good, as here, where the baboons are discussing what to do with lion cub Fearless, whom one of them rescued:

"'He'll grow huge,' complained another young male. 'Much too risky. I know he's little, but kill him quickly and it won't be unkind.'

"'And think of the future enormous lion while you kill him,' pointed out a sulky-looking senior. 'Then you won't feel so bad. It's not as if we'd be breaking the Code -- we'd be protecting the troop!'"

Language

A few references to dung, especially to describe opinions you don't agree with, and rumps, usually turned on someone in contempt.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that best-selling writing/editing syndicate "Erin Hunter" (the Warriors series), is in top form in Broken Pride, the first volume in an animal fantasy series featuring a young lion, a baboon, and an elephant on the African savanna. The descriptions are vivid, the characters appealing (or appalling, in the case of villains), the story exciting, and the stage set for many adventures and relationships in volumes to come. Also the vocabulary is rich, as are the details about the plants and animals who call the Bravelands home. There are plenty of positive lessons about family, friends, teamwork, negotiation, and coexistence. The story may be too upsetting for younger or more sensitive readers: Besides vivid accounts of predators killing and eating prey, it includes several murders, including the treacherous killing of a lion cub's father, as well as mutilation, fights, and other mayhem.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old November 17, 2017

Great book

Is a bit violent, animals die, but a great book. I think only for 10 though.
Teen, 15 years old Written byo.w.l February 23, 2018

Great, but pretty violent

I mean, its very interesting. Yeah it's violent, but violence is a part of animal life. Good opportunity to get kids to watch documentaries about the Afric... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the region of the African plains known as the Bravelands, young lion cub Fearless' life is shattered when a treacherous rival kills his father, the pride leader, and Fearless must flee the BROKEN PRIDE for his life. He winds up taken in by a flock of baboons and tries desperately to fit in, but despite his best efforts and his baboon friend Thorn, he's never quite accepted, and he never stops worrying about his mother and sister. Thorn has problems of his own -- he's in love with Berry, and she's in love with him, but they can't be together because they're of different social classes. Meanwhile, orphan elephant Sky discovers she can see how an animal died when she examines its bones -- a skill her grandmother, the ruling Great Mother of the Bravelands animals, puts to good use.

As the multivolume series gets under way, the young animals face many challenges and tests of character as they contend with betrayal, cruelty, and murder from others in their communities.

Is it any good?

Erin Hunter travels to the plains of Africa in her latest animal fantasy series, which follows a young lion, a baboon, and an elephant through adventures sure to thrill current fans and win new ones. Some of the situations and descriptions -- murdered parents, adults trying to kill youngsters, predators stalking and devouring prey -- may be too much for sensitive kids. But there's a lot to love in Broken Pride's young heroes, its colorful world, and its positive messages about family, friendship, and being true to yourself while helping your loved ones.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the animal adventures in Broken Pride in some ways seem like our own experiences. Do any of the challenges Fearless, Thorn, and Sky face remind you of things happening in your life or that of your friends?

  • Have you read other Erin Hunter books? How do you think Broken Pride compares? 

  • Does this story make you want to travel to Africa and check out the region where the characters live? What have you learned about Africa so far?

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