Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Review- The Owl Keeper

By Christine Brodien-Jones
Illustrations by Maggie Kneen
Published by Random House Children's Books
Released on April 13, 2010
Source- Random House
4.5 Stars-I really liked this book. Go pick it up.

Five years ago, Maxwell Unger was diagnosed with a rare and mysterious illness making him allergic to sun particles. Max had always loved the night, but now, at almost twelve years old, it was all he knew. During the day the shade were drawn, clipped tightly together, in order to avoid the sunlight.

Before Max was brave, he used to do things like go out into the forest with his gran after dark. He would listen to her stories about the world before the Destruction-about nature, and books and silver owls. But his absolute favorite, the one story that he love more than any other, was the one about the Owl Keeper. It was the Owl Keeper, according to his gran, who in times of darkness would appear to unite the owls and sages against the powers of the dark.

But things are different now. Gran is gone, and so are her stories of what used to be. Max is afraid now. The forest is dangerous. The books are destroyed. The silver owls are extinct (or so the Hight Echelon would like people to believe). But Max knows better.

With the help of a mysterious girl who appears under his owl tree, Max is forced to reach inside and find his bravery once more, because the time of the Owl Keeper is coming soon. (taken from press release about the book, received from Random House).

I am so captivated by the cover. It's beautiful. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are just as intriguing. Get ready to be swept away into an amazing world where nothing is what it seems, and as the darkness is taking over the world, the hope of many rests on two eleven and twelve year olds.

Max and Rose live in a world that has been taken over by The High Echelon. They have destroyed everything that was good in the world, and have killed off most of the animals, altered the weather, which destroyed much of the world and in the year 2066 they are now altering people. Books have all been burned, people go missing, families aren't what they used to be, and people's memories are fading. Now The High Echelon is about to destroy the last hope anyone has to fight the darkness, Max. Except for Max doesn't know that he's the last hope. At least not yet anyway.

Max misses his lovely Gran who unexpectedly died when he was 7. When she died, so did the stories about the Silver Owls, and his favorite story about the Owl Keeper, who'd come in times of darkness and would unite the owls and sages together. He misses their talks about nature and the way the world was before the Destruction, the late night walks through the forest, all of her books and the warmth, love and comfort he felt when he was with her. Now the parents he used to be close to are forced to work 6 days a week in factory and he's guardian Miss Crumlin, a cold lady who's destroyed all but one of his Grandmother's books and treats Max with little regard. There's something that doesn't feel right about Miss Crumlin. She's a cold person, who's always reminding Max how sick he is and giving him medicine, even if he feels fine.

Max's has always loved the night, which is the only time he can go out doors. He's been raised to believe he's allergic to the sun and if the sun touches any part of his skin he can die. Now Max goes out by himself, but only to his Owl Tree. He reminds himself about the stories of the Silver Owls, fierce protectors that no longer exist. The High Echelon has killed them all, or at least that's what they claimed. There tucked up in the high branches of his beloved Owl Tree, Max is hiding his very own Silver Owl. He's keeping the message he found in her beak a secret, along with her existence. One night he meets a mysterious girl under his Owl Tree. She can see his Silver Owl.

It took me just a little bit to get into the book and once I did, I couldn't put it down. The world Christine built is fascinating and only gets more and more intriguing as we go on a journey with Max and Rose to find the Owl Keeper. The beginning of the book builds up to everything Max has been taught his whole life. When Rose enters his life, she'll challenge everything he's been told. Nothing he's been told is the truth. When Rose starts to show him things are not what they seem, he discovers a very dark secret and what his fate is about to be, unless he can change it. Confiding in each other, they both learn they have the mark of the Owl, they're night seers. When The High Echelon come looking for them, they flee. Their journey is to find The Owl Keeper and Max's Silver Owl will lead them to where The Owl Keeper is at.

The Owl Keeper is one of those books that keeps you guessing at who's the bad guy and what's really happening, until you learn the truth. It's full of adventure and wonderful characters set in a fascinating, not so distant time. With the destruction of the world, and all the wonderful things it holds, Max and Rose are the last hope and when they arrive at their destination, only then will they learn what their their true destiny will be. I'm really looking forward to a sequel. I think readers will really love Max and Rose's characters and definitely recommend this book to those 10 yrs old and up.

You can find out more about The Owl Keeper here
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~