Epic Quests and Wholesome Friendships—A Review of "Savage Wild"

Published 20 Jun 2024
by Anca Antoci

Title: Savage Wild
Author: Hope Gordon
Released: 25.05.2024
Buy from Amazon
3.75 (read)
Our review:
4.50 (read)

“Savage Wild” by Hope Gordon is an enchanting middle-grade fantasy that captured my attention from the moment I laid eyes on its premise. After reading the description on NetGalley, I was instantly hooked and knew I had to request an ARC. It did not disappoint. As someone who doesn’t often read middle-grade fantasy, I found this book a delightful surprise.

What I Loved

The story centers around four friends—Badger, Willow, Piranha (Pir), and Sharp—each having unique powers inherited from their regions. Their friendship and the way they support each other through thick and thin are heartwarming and inspirational.

One of the highlights was how well the characters’ personalities were portrayed. Gordon’s skillful writing brought them to life spectacularly. The friendships between the characters are authentic and wholesome. Moreover, the quick tempo of the narrative kept me captivated, especially as the story reached its climax.

A powerful message conveyed in the book is that personal growth is often achieved by pushing beyond our comfort zones, something I struggle with as an adult. This theme urges you to embrace life fully and not succumb to fear—a powerful takeaway for young readers.

What Didn’t Resonate With Me

While there is much to love about “Savage Wild”, there were a few aspects that didn’t resonate with me as strongly. The book’s beginning is slow, but the story eventually picks up. Once it did, however, it maintained a thrilling pace until the end.

Another point of contention was the lack of exposition at the start. The story jumped right into the action, leaving little room for initial scene setting or character introduction. Although this approach may appeal to some readers, I felt it could benefit from a bit more groundwork to help readers connect with the world and characters from the outset.


The characters in “Savage Wild” are one of its strongest assets. Badger, Willow, Piranha, and Sharp form a delightful group with diverse backgrounds and powers. Their distinct voices and personalities add depth to the story, making their adventures even more compelling.

Badger, the apparent leader, shows resilience and a strong sense of responsibility. Willow brings a nurturing and calming presence to the group. Piranha, with her fierce and adventurous spirit, adds excitement, while Sharp’s intelligence and strategic thinking often guide the friends through tough situations. Together, they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, demonstrating the value of teamwork and friendship.

The supporting characters, including the adults, are also well-developed, each contributing meaningfully to the plot and the protagonists’ growth.

Tropes and Themes

“Savage Wild” incorporates several familiar tropes and themes that are effectively woven into the narrative. The coming-of-age journey, the quest, and the battle between good and evil are central elements that drive the story forward.

Friendship and responsibility are the dominant themes, illustrated through the protagonists’ interactions and challenges. The book emphasizes the importance of supporting friends, acknowledging mistakes, and learning from them. It also explores the concept of using one’s abilities and circumstances to shape one’s destiny, rather than being defined by them.


“Savage Wild” by Hope Gordon is a magical adventure that middle-schoolers and young teenagers will adore. It’s a book that I would have loved as a young reader and still find joy in today. Despite a slow start and a lack of initial exposition, the book’s strengths lie in its vibrant characters, fast-paced plot, and wholesome themes.

I highly recommend adding this book to kids (and adults young at heart) looking for feel-good fantasy adventures centered around friendship and personal growth. If you enjoy epic fantasies with heartwarming friendships and thrilling quests, “Savage Wild” is a wonderful choice!

Our final verdict: