Release Date ~ March 1, 2014
Carolrhoda Books ~ Lerner Publishing Group
E-galley received via NetGalley
Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival. There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition. But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected. Such was Trondheim's fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard. Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!
As much as I love YA books, it can be so difficult to find a book that I believe would appeal to a wide variety of readers. The Story of Owen is a book that I'm confident in recommending to all types of readers; it doesn't matter the reader's gender, age, or preferred genre. I firmly believe that this is a story that can work for anyone who appreciates fiction and is looking for a good book.
- Just a taste of fantasy:
Dragons play a central role in The Story of Owen, yet this book isn't pure fantasy. There's just enough appeal for readers who like fantasy, yet it's grounded in reality so that those who prefer contemporary stories are sure to enjoy this book as well (regardless of how they feel about dragons). It's this really cool blend of two genres for a book with a very unique feel to it.
- The most incredible relationships:
The Story of Owen is remarkable in how it portrays a number of relationships; from Siobhan's deep friendship with Owen, to her budding rapport with Sadie, to her relationship with her parents, to Owen's relationship with the (numerous) members of his family. They were all different but reflective of real life and deeply touching. I was particularly thrilled by the friendship between Owen and Siobhan, and I loved that this wasn't really a romantic love story - it's a nice change of pace!
- A story about sacrifice:
I think nearly each and every character in this book had to give up something, as evidenced by the masterful storytelling in The Story of Owen. It's heartbreaking to find out what each of these characters has sacrificed, but it's beautiful at the same time.
I did find, however, that there was a significant amount of build up to the story and that it seemed to take a while for the plot to really move forward. There's so much background put into the development and world building that it takes a while to really establish that which makes the beginning part of the book slower than the ending.
But I have to say that as a Canadian growing up in Southern Ontario, I loved reading a book set in my neck of the woods! It was so cool to be able to picture in my head the exact places and locations where events in the story took place. Siobhan came across as a very realistic, individual type of character. She had her own interests and voice that stood out. And it is such a beautiful story, there are so many readers who will thoroughly enjoy E.K. Johnston's debut novel!