Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Ferals Book Poster Image
Dark fantasy has chills, thrills, fresh take on superhero.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Fantasy meant to entertain.

Positive Messages

You have to let go of the past to move forward. Violence leads to more violence; break the cycle by showing mercy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Caw is brave and loyal; he'll go to the ends of the earth to save his friends. He doesn't want to hurt even the worst bad guys. Lydia is good at math, adventuresome, clever, and willing to risk her life to save others. Adults are mysterious, but those closest to Caw provide guidance and support.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent peril. Fantasy violence involves fighting scary, creepy animalssuch as snakes, spiders, and cockroaches with poisonous, painful bites; a major confrontation in the afterlife with mild gore; and a description of being consumed by thousands of teeming bugs. Blood mentioned but not described in detail. Pain occasionally described in detail. Guns fired. Murder victims' injuries mentioned. Electrocution from touching a power line briefly described.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ferals, the first of a planned trilogy, is action-packed and full of spine-tingling creepy-crawlies such as poisonous snakes and teeming masses of cockroaches. The good guys are frequently in peril, and the fantasy violence mentions blood and pain frequently but without gore, although one description of a spider disintegrating is mildly gory. Animal companions also frequently are in peril. The hero is always defending himself or his loved ones, and even when he has the opportunity to exact revenge by killing, he doesn't want to cause harm to others and urges his friends to take the high road and show mercy.

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What's the story?

The only thing 13-year-old Caw remembers about his parents is that eight years ago they shoved him out of his bedroom window to be carried off by crows. Raised by crows on the streets of a decaying city, Caw is somehow able to talk to the crows and understand what they say. One night, some prisoners escape from the nearby prison, and Caw sees that they seem able to communicate with animals too. And one of the prisoners bears the same mark Caw has seen in his recurring dream about the night his parents disappeared from his life. Finding the connection between the convicts and the night his life changed leads Caw to meet other "ferals," people who can talk to animals. But, just as with normal humans, there are good ferals and bad ferals. If Caw wants to learn the truth about his past, he'll have to face down the greatest villain his city has ever known.

Is it any good?

With FERALS, author Jacob Grey revels in the creepy-crawly dark side of fantasy. Readers will immediately be drawn in by the rich, vivid descriptions of the shadowy Caw and his crow family, and the pages will keep turning as the action and mystery take turns propelling the story forward. But it's not all gloom and doom: Caw strikes up a friendship with Lydia, a girl about his age, who slowly draws Caw out of the shadows and back into the world of people.

Big kid and tween fantasy fans will delight in the thrills, chills, and excitement of this refreshing take on the dark superhero.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fantasies are so popular. Why do we love reading them so much?

  • Have you ever felt a special connection with an animal? If you could talk to it and understand it, what do you think it would say to you?

  • Which other fantasy books have you read? Do you like this one as much? Why?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

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