book review, fantasy

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

In a strange, alternate United States of America, on the brink of war, a boy tries to find the pet fox he was forced to abandon.

Peter’s father has gone to war, but before he left him in the care of his curmudgeonly old grandfather, he forced him to release his beloved pet fox, Pax, into the wild.

Separated by hundreds of miles, the boy and his fox fight nature, and man’s inhumanity to man, in an effort to be reunited. Somewhere along the way they connect with their own kind, and might even make friends.

With war on the horizon, is there hope for Pax?

I loved the start of this book. The strong bond between Peter and Pax was described well, and Peter’s betrayal of Pax was difficult to read. I looked forward to their journey to be reunited, where they learned lessons along the way, written by an author who understands the connection between man and beast.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. Clues as to the setting for the story became increasingly difficult to decipher, until I realized that the book had turned into a mortality play about war being bad, and man being a scourge against nature.

Now, I’m against war as much as the next person, but I prefer themes in books to be more subtle. It came to the point where I felt like I was being beaten over the head every other page with one of the character’s rather substantial wooden leg.

As any semi regular visitor to this blog will know, I love animals. It doesn’t take a genius to work it out. I’ve a dog rating of excellence for books, and I have lovely avian, feline or canine models at the top of each book review post. This is all to say that I’ve read a lot of animal related books, especially children’s books, and the majority of them make the point that animals are better off with their own kind, an argument that I highly disagree with.

Without getting into a rant, this book disappointed me, and it would have disappointed child Iseult too.

I award Pax

Pax is available for $4.52 ebook on Amazon.


This was a buddy read with the wonderful Jenna from Bookmark Your Thoughts.

Check out her excellent review of Pax here.

Watch out for our buddy read post coming soon!

10 thoughts on “Pax by Sara Pennypacker”

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