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Elizabeth Jensen
The Bear's Claw
The Wolfensberger brothers barely escaped the Lost Isles. Now, back in Etria, they long to return to their normal lives. Unfortunately, fresh danger is closing in fast. Trouble begins with Princess Ella’s disappearance. As Jules and Borus hunt for her, they find themselves fighting against oddly familiar circumstances. While his brothers are gone, Kass suffers a crushing loss that forces him to turn to friends for support. With the trio more vulnerable than ever, the threat of war closes in. The bonds of family and friendship are tested when all must stand together in the final battle to save Etria. Will their efforts be enough to defeat the powerful fire mage, Pyr? Or will the Wolfensberger brothers be lost to the inferno of his rage? Award-winning author Elizabeth R, Jensen delivers a story of love, war, and sacrifice in the highly-anticipated conclusion of her pulse-pounding trilogy!
The exciting climatic volume in Jensen’s Three Brothers trilogy finds Jules, Borus and Kass Wolfensberger fighting to protect the kingdom and royal family of Etria in another spirited—and occasionally bloody—adventure of good, evil, bone knights and fire archers, and abundant inventive fantasy concepts like sanguinium, a “blood metal” that suppresses magic. After the events of The Hawk’s Flight, which saw them stranded in the Lost Isles after a diplomatic mission, the brothers’ homecoming is cut short by the kidnapping of Princess Ella, sister to the king and the love of Jules, at the hands of Pyralis, a fire mage and elemental bent on the destruction of Etria and all who would defy him. An epic battle ensues that sees the Wolfensberger brothers, sister, and their legendary grandfather, The Wolf, tested to the very core of their own magical abilities.

As with earlier entries, a zest for adventure powers The Bear’s Claw, plus a keen interest in the brothers’ development, as men, leaders, and as practitioners of the assorted skills. Fans of the series will enjoy seeing how they’ve grown, while new readers are advised to start with the first book, though Jensen fills in the basics on the fly here.The story is nicely paced, written with striking detail and an attention to what all this mayhem actually feels like, an approach that engages readers and encourages caring about these characters and their world. This entry feels a touch more violent than the previous, the high stakes reflecting the brothers’ maturation, and Jensen does not fear to force characters to face loss.

Despite the emphasis on brothers, the series boasts a diverse cast, including female characters of all ages represented as fierce, capable, brave members of the population, and none of the dated tropes involving gender that readers might associate with heroic adventure fantasies involving royalty. The story allows any reader to imagine themselves as the hero–and what heroism might cost.

Takeaway: Rousing climax to a strong middle grade fantasy series in the classic vein.

Comparable Titles: Cindy Lin’s The Twelve, Torsten Weitze’s The 13th Paladin series, Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A