Book Review: The Council of Animals by Nick McDonell

The Council of Animals: A Novel: McDonell, Nick, Tabbutt, Steven:  9781250799036: Amazon.com: Books

Title: The Council of Animals

Author: Nick McDonell

Genre: Fantasy/Sci-fi

Number of Pages: 195

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


After an apocalyptic event that kills off most humans, a group of animals tries to decide what to do with the survivors. Some want to help them, or simply leave them alone, while others want to kill them and eat them. That’s the basic premise of this odd book, which feels a little too puerile for adults yet too mature for kids. I can’t say I really connected with it. Like with George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animal characters are more symbols than anything else.

However, the illustrations are beautiful and the writing style is good. I also liked the ironic humor and offbeat world-building. I got tired of the narrator stopping the story to explain things but I thought the author tied things up well with a bleak and darkly funny ending. I didn’t really get attached to any of the characters (even the dog, and I’m a huge dog person) and I read it pretty slowly, considering how short it was.

It kept my interest enough for me to finish it but it wasn’t something I sped through. Without the asides from the narrator it would have been the length of a longish short story. There wasn’t enough substance to go around. I kept being reminded of Hollow Kingdom, a far superior book with a similar premise.

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