Book Review: The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston

#4 – The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

The Story of Owen by EK Johnston

Okay, this one is different. This one gets a special review. Why?


*clears throat* Pardon me, while I make a fool of myself because of how excited I was to be able to read this book. 🙂

Moving on through the regulars…

Genre: Teen/Fantasy/Contemporary

Page Numbers: Well, this was actually an e-book I read on my Kindle, so I can’t say exactly how many pages it is. Amazon puts the Kindle edition at 312 pages, so that’s what we’ll go with.

Dates Read: 1/2/14-1/9/14

Plot in three lines or lessDon’t expect me to stay within the three-sentence limit here.

Here is what you can find on the Internet when searching for a description of what is in this book…

“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 oddsarmed 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!”

To sum it up without risking too many spoilers- the story is about Owen and his family of dragon-slayers, protecting the small town of Trondheim and its surrounding towns from being overrun by the carbon-eating dragons that are prevalent in this society. Siobhan McQuaid becomes his bard to help tell his story.

New read or re-read? Definitely a new read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, of course I would read it again, and I would definitely recommend it to others!

Why did I pick it up? I met Kate on LJ a couple of years ago through having mutual friends on our f-lists together. I’d seen her posting comments on their blogs, went over to check hers out and though, “You know, she looks like she’s a pretty neat gal, and I think we ought to be friends.” Since then, I’ve followed her story as she was submitting her manuscript to publishers, finally got one and worked out ALL the details to see it through to print. And then one day she asked a question of her f-list. A question that was VERY important. A question so important, I felt called to respond immediately with a resounding “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE!”

Said question? “Anyone out there willing to read and review my book for me during January?”

See why I was willing to volunteer?

I didn’t hear back from her right away, and thought, “Aw, oh well, she probably had plenty of people clamoring to read it, so I’ll just make sure to put it on my wish list so that WHEN IT COMES OUT ON MARCH 1, I’ll have it in my hands shortly thereafter.”

And then she emailed me, asked me if I was still willing to do it (which any sensible person would, of course), and promptly sent me a link for an advance copy.

So that’s why I read it.

That and because of DRAGONS.

What did you like about the book? I really and truly enjoyed how Kate was able to interweave a lot of our current history into the story, and to give us rather reasonable explanations as to why a certain historical event might have happened in a world over-run by dragons. I don’t know of too many books that can place something as mythological as dragons into the real world and actually make it work, but this one does.

I also really and truly appreciated getting schooled in stories about Canada. I have only ever visited there once a long time ago (and that was just to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and only for a couple of hours), and never professed to knowing anything about our northern neighbors, so I was ridiculously happy to be able to read this book.

One of the other many things (and the last I’ll mention in this review) was how closely tied to music the story is related. Siobhan, as his bard, is your typical music geek, who lives and breathes music before she meets him. Once she takes on the role as bard to Owen’s story, she begins to see everything and everyone around her as part of a much larger musical symphony that needs to be told. And she needs to be the one to do it.

Rating: 4.9999/5 – And that is ONLY because I enjoy actual pages to a book. And because I like having a table of contents. And because I wanted a Map. (Trust me, I tried looking up Trondheim on a map. It takes you to Norway. Which is probably the point, because of Vikings. When you read the book, you’ll understand what I mean by that comment.) Silly reasons. Really, it’s a 5/5.

(But trust me – you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of maps. To quote the book: “That’s the other thing History likes to forget about maps. Their cost is not just in the blood of people killed by dragons, but in the blood of people killed by other people.”)  

Other Notes? The book comes out on March 1. You can preorder copies of it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Book Depository. Seriously people, you’re going to want to read this.

Grand Total: 61

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