It is dark and cold when Goldie returns to the city of Jewel with her friend, Toadspit, and his sister, Bonnie. Though the children are tired, they know that they need to be careful if they are to reach their parents safely. What they don’t know yet is that Jewel has been captured by the Fugleman and his army of mercenaries.
With the city in the grip of terror, Goldie must find a way to be rid of the Fugleman once and for all without compromising her own morals. Even though she wants to wage this war through stealth rather than violence, she is fighting against the voice of the brutal and long-dead princess, Frisia, that is still in her head.
Path of Beasts the third book in The Keepers series starts out with as much excitement as the previous two and keeps up a swift pace from there. With the children back in Jewel, all of the loose ends that I was expecting to be tied up in the second book were tied up here instead.
As usual Tanner’s character development is realistic. Rather than shaping the characters to suit the plot; the plot is shaped to suit the characters. Some of these developments are to be expected. For instance, Goldie is as bold as she was in the first instalment but has grown mentally. Her morals have strengthened, giving the novel its driving force. Tanner does not take the easy way out with her characters, however. While I would have loved to have seen a complete turn-around from Pounce once he reached Jewel; it wasn’t a natural progression of character. He is too used to looking out for himself and Mouse to put anything else before that goal; and Path of Beasts reflects that.
Additionally to character development, the development of ideas comes into its own in Path of Beasts. In the first book, Museum of Thieves, readers are introduced to Jewel, a city filled with people who are so sheltered that they cannot defend themselves. In Path of Beasts we find a very different Jewel; one that is being smothered by invading forces. While the people of the city could revert to their former selves; submitting to powers stronger than themselves, they grow instead, developing defences that they had never needed before.
Path of Beasts is a satisfying ending to a brilliantly executed trilogy. It ties up all of the loose threads from the first two books, including one plot-line that I was expecting to stay a mystery. Having the glimpse of the future of an enlightened Jewel is a lovely, hopeful vision of the life that Goldie and her friends can share.
Path of Beasts – Lian Tanner
Allen and Unwin (October 9, 2012)