Spirit Animals: Hunted Discussion Guide
Text-based guide with Common Core correlations
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
About the Book
In the world of Erdas, only a rare few are able to summon a spirit animal in the way Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan have. The bond they share with their animals is a partnership that allows them to access more-than-human abilities.
But what if there was another way to create a spirit animal—to force the bond, giving the human partner total control? And what if someone with selfish intensions was offered this gift…with a catch. The four young heroes have barely had time to come together as a team, and their own spirit animal bonds are still greatly untested. But now they face a brutal confrontation against an enemy who will break any rule to defeat them.
Readers can join the quest and get their own spirit animal at scholastic.com/spiritanimals.
Questions for Discussion
- Contrast the power of the Bile with that of the Nectar. The Conquerors convince Devin Trunswick that drinking the Bile will make him a legend. Why is it so important to Devin to become a legend? Describe the change that occurs in him once he drinks the Bile.
- In Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born, Abeke falls to the Conquerors and must be convinced that they are the enemy of the Greencloaks. Why is her previous loyalty to the enemy a disadvantage when she begins training at Greenhaven Castle? Why is it especially difficult for Meilin to trust Abeke? When Meilin comes to Abeke’s aid, how does this improve their relationship? What do Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke learn about trust by the end of the quest?
- What is the purpose of the training at Greenhaven Castle? Think about the unique aspects of Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke’s personalities. How does their response to the training further define who they are as individuals? Which character has the toughest time with the training exercises? Why?
- Explain what Tarik means when he tells the trainees, “Count on your spirit animals as your weapon” (p. 15). Who has the most difficulty accepting this role of the spirit animals? Cite scenes in which the spirit animals act as weapons.
- The training at Greenhaven Castle is cut short when the trainees and the Fallen must travel north of Eura in search of Rumfuss the Boar. Debate whether Conor, Rollan, Meilin, and Abeke feel prepared to embark on the quest for the Great Beast. How does each wrong turn strengthen their desire to complete the assignment?
- Describe Finn and his role in the quest. What is significant about the moment when he finds his spirit animal? How might this change the way the other characters understand his personal journey? Why does Finn remain at Glengavin Castle?
- In a letter from his mother, Conor learns that she has taken over his duties as servant to the Trunswicks. Explain why her letter causes him to question where he belongs. Which other characters struggle with a sense of belonging? Why? Discuss the relationship between “belonging” and “loyalty.” How does Conor’s mother convince him that his loyalty is to the Greencloaks?
- Meilin is angered by the news that Zhong has fallen and her father is missing. Explain what Finn means when he tells her, “I left a place in anger. Leaving in anger means returning in regret” (p. 31). Why does Finn take her to the Moon Tower? How does this experience cause her to rethink her anger?
- “Suddenly, in one of the orbs, she (Meilin) saw her father’s proud face. You’ve made the wise decision, he said, instead of the smart one” (p. 37). How might Meilin’s father explain the difference between a “wise decision” and a “smart one”? What might he say about her decision at the end of the novel?
- Discuss the imprisonment and rescue of Conor and Rollan at the Howling House. What is the irony in Essix leading Meilin and Abeke to the boys? Why does Conor feel guilty about bringing the others to Trunswick? How is he troubled about leaving the Greencloak supporters behind? Discuss Dawson Trunswick and Conor’s mother’s role in the escape.
- Explain the plaque at Glengavin that reads, “Three Undeniable Truths: Love, Death, and the Law of Glengavin.” How does Lord MacDonnell enforce these “Truths”? Discuss how his strict rule represents both good and evil. How does he change after he has reconnected with his spirit animal?
- Why does Finn feel that they must prove themselves worthy if they want Lord MacDonnell to give them access to Rumfuss? How do they demonstrate their worthiness? Explain what Lord MacDonnell means when he says, “War’s useless if you don’t know how to live with peace” (p. 145).
- What has the quest taught the trainees about power and corruption, good and evil, trust and loyalty, fear and courage? Lord MacDonnell says, “You’re spending your childhood trying to save the world. What happens when it’s saved” (p. 146)? Debate whether it’s possible to save the world.
Use This Guide to Teach to the Following Common Core State Standards
Key Ideas and Details
RL. 4-7.1 – Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
RL. 4-7.2 – Determine a theme of a story from details in the text.
RL. 4-7.3 – Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story, drawing on specific details in the text.
Craft & Structure
RL. 4-7.4 – Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.
Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration
SL. 4-7.1 – Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing one’s own clearly.
SL.4-7.3 – Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.
About the Author
Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver Trilogy and The Raven Cycle. She lives in the middle of nowhere, Virginia, with her husband, her two children, three dogs, two rats, one cat, a tank of fish, and two Miniature Silky Fainting Goats named General and Specific. She also has a 1973 Camaro named Loki which is her spirit animal.
Discussion guide written by Pat Scales, Children’s Literature Consultant, Greenville, South Carolina.