August 31, 2010
Book Review: The Owl Keeper
Maxwell Unger is a sweet boy who loves and the night and lives within it. He has a condition that makes sunlight deadly for him. He doesn't leave home except to sneak out in the middle of the night and go to what he calls his "owl tree", a tree that holds a rare silver owl that has been injured and cannot fly. You see, more than anything in the world, Max loves the silver owl - an owl that the government has deemed bad and to be destroyed. The silver owl has been blamed in large part for the current state of the world - a world falling into despair and ruin controlled by a government that doesn't want its people to think for themselves. Taking care of the owl puts Max in great risk, but he takes even greater risks after meeting a mysterious girl named Rose who also finds the owl tree.
This story is a blend of sweetness and adventure. Max is such a sweet boy that seems to have been dealt a bad hand in life. Even though his life isn't lived like all other children his age, he isn't overly bitter or angry - something that changes as his story progresses. I think this sweetness in him really helps you see how much he changes as the story goes along - and how much he grows and strengthens. It also creates a soft spot in your heart for him, so you feel a sense of pride in who he becomes.
It is the introduction of Rose into his life one night at the owl tree that pushes Max away from everything he has ever known and believed. To be honest, I didn't really like Rose at the start. I didn't trust her, and I felt like she was harsh and pushy! Of course this was what Max needed. He wouldn't have taken the steps that he did if Rose had been just like him. There would've been no tension within the story and within Max without Rose. She did grow on me throughout the story, and by the end I did appreciate her and her strength.
Now I said at the start of this review it was a blend of sweetness and ADVENTURE! That's what's cool about this book, it has a ton of action. Rose and Max need to find The Owl Keeper in hopes of helping their families and the world. During this search the story is full of events that really got my heart beating From dangerous creatures that roam the forest to dark forbidden cities, many times I wondered how Rose and Max were going to get out of the situation they were in. There was this one scene in a supposedly empty building that just about had me yelling at them to get out! Silly I know. I think kids reading the book will really be hooked and pulled along by this part of the story as well as the mystery of who the Owl Keeper is.
There were a few parts that confused me a bit (not overly so but a bit) including what happened to the world an what the government was doing now. I had to make sure I read carefully when these things were being explained. I also had a few things figured out before they happened, so something weren't a surprise for me. I don't think kids would figure them out as easily though, so I'm not worried about it affecting them.
Final thoughts: A great balance that fantasy lovers will love.
Best stick-with-you image: The owls holding them.
Best for readers who: love fantasy
Best for ages: 10-13