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

The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston is a young adult novel that is currently scheduled for release on March 1 2014. This story is set in a world were dragons are real, and are attracted to carbon unleashed into atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels. Dragon slayers are real, although most are employed by the governments of the world or large corporations. Owen Thorskard is horrible in math, and a great runner. He also happens to be the son and nephew of dragon slayers, and well underway in his training to be one as well. However, his family is looking to change things up a bit, they want Owen to have a bard to tell of his adventures, something that has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Siobhan McQuaid is a musical girl, who hears music in the actions and words of those around her. She also happens to be good at most subjects in school. Her good nature and skills bring Owen and Siobhan together, as friends and study partners. She just might also be his bard as Owen comes into his own skills and reputation as dragon slayer.

Two things I want to get out of the way for those that read the initial description and thought they would not like this book because it would lose itself too fantasy, science fiction, or romance. The Story of Owen breaks with some of the most current plot aspects found in young adult literature. There is no romance between Owen and Siobhan, there is no love triangle either! So, for those that quickly get annoyed when a plot about fighting dragons or figuring out high school gets stymied in romance- read on and be happy!

I really liked The Story of Owen on several levels. Owen is a kid with a tough family situation and is still trying to figure out his place, and himself. He is a bit awkward at times, but in the way that is completely normal for a sixteen year old boy regardless of his sword training. Siobhan is different, but I love that she knows herself and is comfortable in her own skin. She is not trying to fit in with the 'cool kids', she stays true to herself even when her proximity to Owen gives her glimpses of what popularity could be like. She is smart, strong, and even in moments of terror- courageous. There is also an underlying theme of that we all can make a difference, in big or small ways, if we try. Owen's family has plans, and they want nothing more than to help people all over the world. I love that the greater good is so important to them and that the importance of wealth and fame is so little to them in comparison. Each character introduced is well formed and has a role to play- even if it is to be the guy that does something stupid and needs to get eaten by a dragon. There is just so much smart about this book, and all its characters, that it left me unable to go on to my next book for a couple days.

I highly recommend The Story of Owen to young adult and adult readers that like well written characters, that you can like, as well as high action and a coming of age plot for two characters at the same time. There is a bit of violence (they are fighting dragons, what do you expect?) but there is also the idea of smart and lucky being more important than pure brawn, teamwork, and looking out for those that cannot do so for themselves. I do not think my review does this book justice- so just give it a short and if for some reason you do not like it I give you full permission to yell at me later. However, if you love it help me spread the word!

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