Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Guardians of Ga'Hoole

Welcome to my blog and I hope that this review of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole is helpful to you.  While you are at my blog, please don't forget to stop by my Halloween giveaway for Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning and Clare D. Dunkle's House of Dead Maids.

I’m going to review the first three books in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series together for the same reason that I read them together, the movie, Legends of the Guardians:The Owls of Ga'Hoole that just came out is based on these three books.

In The Capture we are introduced to a young Barn Owl named Soren.  At first he lives happily with his family, celebrating each new feat of a young owl (like eating meat with fur) and listening to the legends of the ancient Guardians of Ga’Hoole, who protected the just.  After falling (or being pushed) from the nest he’s kidnapped and taken to St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls (St. Aggie’s), an evil place where they are using young owls for unknown reasons.  There he meets a young Elf Owl named Gilphie, and the two proceed to plot an escape.

In The Journey, Soren and Gylfie, who are joined by a Burrowing Owl named Digger and a Great Grey named Twilight, make their way towards what they hope in the legendary island of Ga’Hoole.  While the four young owls don’t even know if the island is real, or if the legendary guardian’s are going o be there, they have faith in each other and the hope that they are right.

The rescue finds the four friends as they try to become the best of the best; true Guardian’s of Ga’Hoole.

Don’t let the length of my description of each book mislead you, this has nothing to do with my enjoyment of that book in relation to the others, they simply get progressively shorter because I don’t want to give away any of the later plots that might affect your enjoyment of earlier books.

Onto the Review.
The Characters:
Soren is a great main character, especially for a children’s book.  He’s very young, just a newly hatched at the beginning of the story, so there is a lot he doesn’t know and has to learn as the story goes.  Still he’s got a strong character.  While he may waver from his convictions from time to time he is the leader and the one who tries to keep them on the right track.  He’s young, but it’s believable. 
Gylfie is the smart one, but I didn’t find her annoying like smart characters can sometimes be.  It was more like the author chose to have a nice, friendly character impart important information to the main character and the audience.  She’s very tiny, but loyal and strong.  Likeable.

Digger was amusing when he arrived, wanting to stick to what he knew (which was walking not flying).  At times he seems like the scaredy-cat of the bunch, but he’s not.

Twilight was orphaned almost as soon as he was hatched and managed to survive on his own, which has made him tough.  He often wants to act with brawn before anything else, but he’s a loyal friend, and does try to listen to his friends when they advice against rush behavior.

The Capture:
This book probably sees the most growth of character, which is logical since Soren was so young at the start.  St. Aggie's is a horrible place, and the reader really feels like its awful what the owls there put the owlets they kidnap through.  The author also manages to surprise you about who can and can't be trusted.  You want to see Soren and Gylfie escape, but you have no idea exactly how they are going to do it.  You really get to see things as they do, no being able to figure it out yourself.

The Journey:
As the title implies this book is largely about their journey to find Ga'Hoole. Quite a bit happens in this book, along their journey.  Along the journey they stop and meet new characters and are tempted to stay and not move on.  My one complaint about this book would be just how quickly their journey ends, it seems it could have continued a bit longer, or at least not ended so abruptly.  This isn't just about their journey to Ga'Hoole though, part of the book is spent learning how legend compares to reality, and finding their place within the world.

The Rescue:
This one finds Soren and his friends really growing up and become the best of the best, not because others are pushing them to be, but because they are pushing themselves.  Someone important to them is missing, and they hear rumors about who might be involved, and they take it upon themselves to be the ones to save them.   
General stuff:
The one thing that surprised me most in this story was how dark it could be at spots, like the story of how a young owl watched his sibling and later his parents be fought over and eaten by an evil owl!  Over all though, I enjoyed the story.   I can see why they decided to use them to make a single movie, since they all show the journey of how Soren went from a young inexperienced Ga’Hoole to a true Guardian of Ga’Hoole  (though I think they probably cut quite a bit for time).  I think there is plenty in this story to attract both young and old.  I also believe that it could have even been market to an older audience if those books had been combined and modified only a little.  As much as I like this story, I gave it a 4 out of 5 because of the end of the 3rd book, it wrapped up the story great, not to fast or anticlimactic, but the identity of the villain threw me.  I just don’t understand how that was possible, the timing seemed off.  Maybe in later books that will be cleared up, though.  I will definitely read more of this series at some point.

1 comment:

  1. I came across the Guardians of Ga'Hoole via a giveaway and have wanted to read it ever since (especially with all the movie ad's out).

    When I think of a book starring animals, I definitely do NOT think "dark", so it was cool how you mentioned that it's dark at spots. I'm curious to see other examples of a darker plot than the example you mentioned.

    Thanks for the review! (I'm also glad that you mentioned the movie a bit! :))