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on June 8, 2005
Brian's Hunt by Gary Paulson

Review by "Prince of Persia"

It's the middle of the night and Brian is in the middle of the lake in his canoe. Something wakes Brian up. Though hears nothing, he senses that there is something on the shore of the lake. Something.... but what?

Brian is a boy who has survived the wilderness in the past, and he bravely decides to venture north again. Along the way he mysteriously finds a dog that is lonely, hungry, and hurt. However, when he reaches the Cree camp, he sees no smoke and the dog is nervously shaking.

One of the things that amazes readers is the descriptive language. For example, the author creates a mind picture, which helps you "see" the story. Without the descriptive language it would be difficult to understand the setting. I believe that this book has an enjoyable amount of action. For instance, there is a bear attack scene in the book that is dripping with excitement.

Finally, this is an interesting book because of its suspense. The author writes in such a way that makes you want to read on. The story leads to a scary, surprise ending that will not disappoint the reader!

To sum up, this book a great read because it has action, descriptive language, and suspense. It would be a good idea to read the prequels to better understand the story.
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on February 12, 2004
This a good read. Though it is shorter than most of Paulsen's work, it is good. I didn't like the changes though. Like he brought more books than what The List in Brian's Return said, freeze dried food, the three pairs of moccasins, the monoculars, and the barbed fish tips for his arrows. Plus it didn't mention Caleb, after all he wouldn't be there without him. And it didn't mention his medicine or Billy. It was written in a different in a different way than the other Brian books. If you have read the other Brian books you will see a different writing style. It might be because Brian is finally in a hurry to get somewhere, but The River isn't written in this way. Overall I liked it and will continue reading Paulsen's work.I have been reading for more than seven years and liking his work. I have never and probably never find a Paulsen book I don't like.
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VINE VOICEon December 19, 2007
Minnesota-native Gary Paulsen has been one of my favorite middle-grade and YA authors for years. I can't really remember which of his books I first read, but he's written a lot of awfully good ones. His characters are always understandable, real, and - mostly - tied to nature in some ways.

His most iconic figure is Brian Robeson, the star of HATCHET. In that book, Brian was a city kid who ended up crashing into the brush when the pilot of the plane he was in had a heart attack and died suddenly. With only a hatchet - no matches, no sleeping bag, and no supplies, Brian taught himself how to live in the wilderness. His personal growth spread over 54 days, and the book become one of the best-received middle-grade novels ever. If you haven't read it, or your child hasn't read it, you should.

BRIAN'S HUNT is the newest book in the five-volume series. Brian is 16 at the time of this novel, and he's become more certain of himself. He's out on the lakes in Canada, taking his time to get to the Cree American Indian tribe he became friends with during the course of his adventures. He's very much a loner, and has even talked his parents and school into letting him try his hand at home schooling himself.

Paulsen's attention to detail and the ways of nature may prove slow-going to most of today's young readers (unless they're already in love with the series), but you can feel the love the author has for such things. I learned a lot about fishing and hunting during the course of the book, though I intend to do neither, and I could tell my ten year old was filing away details while I read the novel to him.

However, Paulsen always delivers on the action in one of his books, and BRIAN'S HUNT is no exception. Before long, Brian wakes up to find a wounded dog looking for food and for help. Brian gives both, though those scenes are somewhat intense and carry a gross-out factor with them. The scenes are realistic, though, and very well written.

As Brian puts the puzzle of the dog's mysterious wounds together with her behavior as he hunts, it doesn't take him long to realize that the dog was mauled by a bear. Once that discovery is made, Brian learns bad news that sets him into the woods after the bear.

The details of how Brian tracks the bear, the skills and the observation necessary, are great. My son and I stayed glued to the pages, though we couldn't help taking a break every now and again to discuss some facet of hunting lore we hadn't been aware of. Although the material is mature, it's written on a level kids can easily understand it, and it's very honest. But if you have a youngster and you're thinking about letting him or her read this one, you might want to read it yourself first to make sure it meets with your approval and that it won't panic or bother your child.

I'm a big fan of Gary Paulsen's, and this book really hit the spot. At 99 pages long, it's a quick, intense read. Although Paulsen said he'd ended the Hatchet adventures after the publication of the last book, I can't help but be hopeful there will be more. Brian is starting to get interested in a girl, and I want to see how that works out for him.
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on May 2, 2016
Review - The Brain Sagas by Gary Paulsen

I have now finished all five of the Brian Sage books - “Hatchet,” “The River,” “Brian’s Winter,” “Brian's Return” and “The Hunt.” and the epilogue “Guts” by Gary Paulsen. “The Hatchet” is one of three Newberry Awards that Gary Paulsen has earned.

Basically the series is one story. The story of an teenage boy who at age 13 is left alone in the North Woods of Canada due to a pilot’s fatal heart attack and plane wreck. The first book, “The Hatchet” tells of the guts, intelligence, patience and luck of a 13 year old boy with little wilderness experience in learning how to live and survive in a remote wilderness. We get a marvelous set of instructions in wilderness lore and living, and a glimpse into an intelligent mind that problem solves, learns and masters a strange world. At the end of this book Brian retrieves a signal radio from the submerged plane and is rescued.

In “Brian’s Winter” is an alternate ending. Brian is not rescued, but manages to learn more and survive into December. We see more of Brian’s talents and abilities and new found skills. Here, Brian stumbles into a family of Cree Native Americans manning a trap line, who take him in. Brian flies out on the next supply place. The Cree family consider him like one of the “old people” for Brian is dressed in skins he has captured and his arrows have stone points he has made himself. Yes, some of the story is very fortuitous for Brian, but that does not distract from the lessons of the wilderness and the lessons of life Brian has to learn to survive.

“The River” is a book with Brian returning to the North Woods with a psychologist, Derek, of the military attempting to learn how to teach survival to the military. The man is not schooled in the wilderness at all, and Brian become “the adult” in charge of the adventure. Brian sends the 200 pounds of supplies back with the plane that flew them in, and commences to recreate the world he knew in the first two books. Half the book is a terrifying trip over 100 miles, 3+ days, down a river, its rapids, lakes and swamps, with Derek unconscious on a wilderness made raft. We get a first hand look at the guts necessary to achieve this. Again, the manage to make a trapper’s cabin and are rescued.

In “Brian’s Return” we see Brian not fitting back into civilization, 15 - 16 year old’s school and society. Brian has adjusted to the Wilderness, and that is the reality he much prefers. Brian takes along a few supplies an d does very well.

In “The Hunt” Brian is back in the North Woods learning more woods lore and ways. By now he is nearly a expert. Brian finds an old man, Billy, in his camp one evening. Billy and Brian share a mutual evening of silent communication and while few words are exchanged, Brian gains “medicine.”’ In respect, Billy, leaving camp very early before Brian is awake, leaves a amulet of white tail deer fur and crow’s feathers for Brian. Brian recognizes the significance of this and immediately hangs it around his neck. Shortly thereafter, Brian and a wounded dog find each other. It turns out the dog belonged to the Cree Family Brian had met in “Brian’s Winter.” Unfortunately, a bear had devastated the cabin and family of the Cree family , killing two members of that family. Brian rescues the wife, buries the dead, and deals with the stoic, bureaucratic officials. Once they leave, Brian hunts and in a wonderful scene - which I will not spoil - kills the bear.

“Guts” is stories from Gary Paulsen’s life, rough childhood, adventures in Minnesota, Canada, the American South West, Colorado. These episodes Gary wove into Brian’s Story - a story beautifully and touchingly told. Gary’s knowledge and actual experiences gave him the insight to write the Brian Saga. Not only is the woods lore appropriately, accurately and well handled, but the changes that the North Woods induces in Brian are well followed. The books are at once a deep lesson in both survival and in life. We learn much about wilderness living. But we also are treated to the contrasts of life in the city and in the Wilderness.

Due a few violent scenes, this series should not be read by youth under 13 or so. Death is a part of life, and life is an endless living with what is there. It takes “guts”, perseverance, and patience, to achieve what Brian achieved, and that is the real message of these books. Life takes Real Guts,lots of perseverance, and lots of patience.

The books read very well. The stories are well told. The reading level is at least 8th grade. And for those with an interest in Nature and the Wilderness, be it North Woods, SW desert or ocean, the lessons apply. I found the reading to be extremely enjoyable, and the lessons deep and well taught without being preachy. A great series of books.
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on May 1, 2015
Fantastic Book. Read the Hatchet and the River as a child. Had no idea the story line continued. Since then I have read them all as of 2015. Brian's Winter, Brian's Return and Brian's Hunt. If you loved the Hatchet, you'll love these no matter what the age.
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VINE VOICEon May 23, 2011
This is book 5 in the series. Brian was 13 in the first book "Hatchet" when he survived a plane crash and the Canadian wilderness - alone for 54 days. In book 4, Brian is 15 and returns to the wilderness - with supplies to live there for a while. This book is later in that same trip or the next year. He is now 16. He catches fish and shoots game with a bow and arrow. He discovers an injured dog. He tends the dog's wounds. The dog becomes his companion. Brian travels to discover where the dog came from and what happened. He learns it was a bear which Brian then hunts.

This wasn't as good as the earlier books. I listened to all of the earlier books as audiobooks. When I felt this not to be as good, I wondered if the others would have been less good by reading as opposed to listening. I would hope my reaction would be consistent, but there is the possibility that all of these are better "heard" than "read." I'm not sure. Anyway, this book was very short. It finished too soon. I wanted more. This book didn't have as many events, things happening, and things I learned as in the earlier books. It was pleasant because I liked being in Brian's wilderness world, but there was no "wow" the way earlier books were.

The author wrote many books, but the Hatchet series consists of:
5 stars. Hatchet (read first)
5 stars. Brian's Winter (read second or third but I prefer second)
3 stars. The River (read second or third)
4 stars. Brian's Return
3 stars. Brian's Hunt

Story length: 103 pages. Swearing language: none. Sexual content: none. Setting: current day Canadian wilderness. Copyright: 2003. Genre: young adult adventure fiction.
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on October 3, 2013
This book is a quick read. Again we see how nature matures Brian and shapes him through his interaction. This time Brian befriends an injured dog and a leisure trip becomes a race against time. We understand "the hunt" only toward the end of the book. Gary Paulsen sets us up for some follow-up books about the two young friends who meet under very trying circumstances. What's next, Gary?
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on July 15, 2015
I don't really like to read but when I read hatchet I loved it. Then I found out there was more so I read all of them. I don't want this to be the last of Brian so please make more.
This book was great and so were the other books in the Brian Saga. Most people might not want more of Brian so. They don't have to read them but lots of people like me want more. His life is great. And so much more can happen. So please don't end Brian.
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on April 1, 2015
As exciting as it was to see Gary Paulsen write a sequel to Brian's Winter, it was not worth having to see Mr. and Mrs. David Smallhorn die. As exciting as it was to see the hint of romance amid all of the drama, it was not worth having to watch Susan Smallhorn mourn the loss of both of her parents. And as riveting as it was to witness the final scene in which Brian took the life of the bear, it was not worth having to read through the graphic depictions of the two dead bodies crawling with maggots. When Gary Paulsen stated that he was not going to write any more books about Brian, Gary Paulsen should have stuck to his guns and kept his word.
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on August 23, 2014
Brian is a wonderful character, understandably changed by his survival of the crash. We get a chance to experience the woods from his perspective. The crash and nature's harsh lessons that followed made him rethink his attitude toward learning, civilization, and independence. He teaches us about wildlife in a calm voice despite the dangers he has to face in this saga. Paulsen is to be commended for his knowledge and Brian's mature handling of life and death issues. This book was a pleasure to read because its vocabulary was descriptive and appropriately challenging for teen readers and satisfying for adults.
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