The Beasts of Grimheart

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Podkin One-Ear | The Gift of Dark Hollow

The Beasts of Grimheart was written by Kieran Larwood and first published in 2018. It is the third instalment of The Five Realms series, telling the continuing story of Podkin’s battles against the evil Gorm. The novel follows on directly from where Podkin One-Ear (2016) and The Gift of Dark Hollow (2017) left off, so you really need to read the novels in sequence to fully appreciate what’s going on.

The Bard’s past has finally caught up with him as he finds himself captured by the Bonedancers. The tribe of assassins have been contracted to kill him due to an offensive story that he once told to the rabbits of Golden Brook. However, Sythica – Mother Superior of the Bonedancers – is merciful. She requests that the Bard tells her the same story. Only then will she decide if it is worthy of death.

The tale that the Bard tells is another one from the childhood of the legendary hero, Podkin. Following their last battle against Scramashank and the Gorm, Dark Hollow has become a safe haven for all rabbits. Yet, it seems that the forest won’t remain safe for long. The Gorm have created a deadly new machine – one with the power to tear up trees – and are coming from them.

Although the rabbits of Dark Hollow have arrows that are capable of destroying Scramashank once and for all, they need a special weapon to fire them. Thus, Podkin leads a small group to the Sparrowfast Warren in search of Soulshot – a bow that never misses its target. However, while on route, they are betrayed by one of their own and Podkin, Paz and Pook find themselves lost in the forest. Will the be able to find the others before the Gorm reach Dark Hollow? Or will they find themselves hunted by the fabled Beast of Grimheart?

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The Gift of Dark Hollow

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Podkin One-Ear. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Gift of Dark Hollow was written by Kieran Larwood and beautifully illustrated by David Wyatt. It was first published in 2017 and is the second instalment of The Five Realms series, following Podkin One-Ear (2016). Although the novel does a pretty decent job of bringing new readers up to speed, I would probably still recommend reading the books in sequence in order to fully appreciate them.

The Bard has finally decided that it is time to continue with his journey but this time he leaves with a young rabbit named Rue. Rue desires to become a Bard but the elderly rabbit knows that he cannot teach him. It would be cruel to put him at risk from the unspoken dangers that stalk him. Instead, he decides to take Rue to the Festival of Clarion in order to find him a master, and on the way he continues to tell the tale of Podkin One-Ear.

Despite being the great hero who defeated Scramashank – the monstrous chieftain of the Gorm – Podkin finds that the other rabbits of Dark Hollow refuse to take him seriously. Crom now spends all of his time in council with the other adult rabbits, while Paz has been learning the healing arts under the watchful eye of Bridgid. He feels more useless than ever, and perhaps that’s what leads him to explore the unused tunnels at the heart of the warren.

It is here that Podkin uncovers the long-lost Gift of Dark Hollow and learns the ability to Moonstride – teleport between shadows. In testing this new power, he learns the location of another Gift; one that might have the power to destroy Gorm. Taking with him a small band of his closest allies, Podkin sets out on a quest to retrieve this Gift. However, his mission will take him into the heart of a warren that has been overrun by the Gorm…

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Podkin One-Ear

podkin-one-ear

Podkin One-Ear was written by Kieran Larwood and illustrated by David Wyatt. It was first published in 2016 and is a middle grade fantasy story which tells the tale of a warrior rabbit. While the novel reads as though it’s the first book in a series, at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Every bunny has heard of Podkin One-Ear – the legendary hero who saved all rabbitkind from the monstrous Gorm. Stories are told of the battles he fought against giants and vampire rabbits. Yet as a bard approaches the Thornwood Burrow on Bramblemas Eve, he brings with him a different tale. You see, he knows the true story of Podkin’s origins. And it’s not what a young rabbit may expect.

Before he was a warrior, Podkin was the spoiled son of a Chieftain. He knew that one day he’d inherit his father’s burrow and didn’t really care, instead shirking from his lessons to sleep or play. Yet things changed on Bramblemas Eve when the Gorm invaded his home. The Gorm were once rabbits but since they uncovered an evil artefact they became monsters of flesh and metal. Their leader – Scramashank – murders Podkin’s father and forces the young rabbit to flee into the night with his sister and brother, Paz and Pook.

That could have been the end of things, but Podkin took with him the Starclaw – a magical copper dagger sacred to his burrow. Somehow, the Gorm realise this and begin to relentlessly pursue him through the forest. Alone, Podkin and his family have no hope of escaping the monsters. Yet Podkin has an incredible destiny and soon finds that allies can be found in the strangest of places…

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