Friday, May 28, 2010
THE OWL KEEPER - Book Review
Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction -- about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper.
According to Max's gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least, that's what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better.
Max Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he just might have to start being brave again.
The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon.
I am a huge fan of dystopian novels, which was what originally drew me to The Owl Keeper. In this novel, an event which is labelled as The Great Destruction has taken place, leaving only small towns which are governed by the Dark Brigade, an overpowering government that keeps its citizens in the dark as to what is really happening, though rumors of experients and projects have escaped.
The novel centers around an eleven year old kid by the name of Max who is diagonised with being allergic to the sun, and therefore spends his days inside with his guardian, Mrs. Crumlin. His only contact with other people is through his parents who work all day and arrive home exhausted, the doctor who comes by once a month to give him his shots, his private tutor, and a classmate who brings by his schoolwork every day.
Max's life has become a routine in which his only freetime is at night when his parents are asleep. It is then that Max sneaks out of the house to the Owl Tree where the only remaining silver owl, known as the guardians against darkness, has been living since Max saved her. He is the only person who knows of this owl until the night a girl shows up beneath the Owl Tree.
Over the nights that pass, Max and the girl, Rose, form a close friendship and secrets are revealed as the pair grow closer, eventually leading them on an adventure to find the Owl Keeper who, they hope, will return peace to their land.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. Let me begin with layout. The book cover itself draws attention, but inside the book, each chapter opens with an illustration, and despite that the book takes place years in the future, feels as though it is something of a fable.
The author does a wonderful job with crafting a mindwashed world reminiscent of Orwell's 1984, though, to be honest, it took me a while to get in to the book considering that the main character was eleven years old. Throughout the book, both Max and Rose spoke as though they were older, and it took some thinking to realize that age is relative. In The Owl Keeper, children are expected to be apprenticed at the age of twelve, and in a society as harsh as that, it is expected that children will mature faster than those of today.
But despite the age issue, the characters of Max and Rose are relateable through the emotions that their adventures lead them to discover, though at points the book does fall in to the cliche that states that every book that has a boy and girl must end with them falling for one another, though this is remedied by the fact that the characters are twelve years old, not old enough to fall in love.
The book comes to an easy closing which was enjoyable and leaves room for a sequel if the author is to write one, yet also closes in a way which doesn't leave the reader feeling confused. The Owl Keeper is fit for multiple ages, middle school and high school, and was a great story of adventure.
MY RATING: A-
You can check out the book trailer for The Owl Keeper below.