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The Owl Keeper Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 13, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Allergic to sun particles, Max Unger is forced to stay inside during the day with his caregiver, Mrs. Crumlin. He loves the night, since it has pleasant memories of his beloved grandmother, so he sneaks out and visits a silver owl and his new friend, a spirited girl named Rose. He knows that if he is caught he will be in trouble, for silver owls are evil in the eyes of the High Echelon. When Max discovers that Mrs. Crumlin and the High Echelon are preparing him for a sinister job, he makes a daring escape, taking Rose with him. The two follow the words of "the Silver Prophesy" to find the Owl Keeper and hopefully destroy the evil High Echelon for good. While Brodien-Jones fills her dystopic fantasy with many striking images and ideas, she leaves more questions than answers about her world. The prophecy at the beginning of the book echoes the one found in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising (S & S, 1986), but Brodien-Jones overuses it to push the plot along rather than letting events happen organically. The characters aren't fully fleshed out, especially Rose, who seems more annoying than lovable. By book's end, this appears to be the first in a series. Jeanne DuPrau's "Books of Ember" series (Random) offers a much better dystopic vision for this age group.—Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This sf-fantasy blend features magical owls, secret laboratories, a prophecy, and two young fugitives who learn that they have important roles to play in an upcoming rematch between a Big Brother–type government and a long-hidden band of mystical sages. Max, joined by his wild-talking new friend Rose and a wounded silver owl, flees his tyrannical housekeeper to set out in search of the fabled Owl Keeper described in a set of suppressed “Silver Prophecies.” Along the way, Max learns to his horror that he was being genetically altered (by injections of blood, as in this story there isn't any real difference between science and magic) to command an army of eyeless, surgically assembled owl killers called skræks. The author sets her series opener in a centuries-distant, ecologically damaged world, and she caters to less intellectually active readers by explaining everyone's agendas, reducing characters to familiar types, minimizing times and distances between major incidents, and telegraphing every revelation. But the skræks are spectacularly repulsive creatures, and fans of Kathryn Lasky's Guardians of Ga'Hoole books might like the owls. Grades 5-8. --John Peters
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385738145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738149
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,927,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I, before even starting this review apologies for any spelling/grammar errors that are in this review. It was typed on an iPad that has auto-correct, not spellcheck, so some things might have slipped past it's correction system. I am also only in 6th grade, and i'm not going to win any spelling awards anytime soon. (fine, fine, I admit my spelling is atrocious). Okay, I had high hopes for this story. Most the reviews I'd read were favorable and it sounded like a overall good book. However, after reading it, I'm not inclined to agree. The story is slightly cookie cutter (owls, a "chosen" boy, post-apocalypse setting w/ tyrrancial government, ancient prophercies, etc.) sound familiar? All those were featured in much better known books, and are being repurposed and mashed up into this story. If it had been written better it could've been better. This book is basically about him meeting rose, them becoming friends and exploring and the escaping the government and running off to the owl keeper headquarters and discovering he us the fabled owl keeper. Now, if it were me writing this I would make it 1. A series of around four and 2. although this may seem trivial, keep romance between them for later books. I mean, they've known each other for what, a month? That's a bit too short of a time for them to become "star-crossed friends". Romantic developments should happen when they really know each other. In the second book, whatshisface (I really can't remember it) should lead an underground movement, and free rose's parents from the prison. You would get the mAgical creatures on their side involved, and they would convince people to come over to their side. Book 3. Enter romance. Possible character death, and the underground movement surfaces (no pun intended (or taken, I suppose)).Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Owl Keeper was a delightful read. After turning the last page I was left with a feeling of hope for humanity. The descriptions are full and well written allowing the reader to get an image of this world of good and evil. Hope to see more by the author.
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Format: Hardcover
Eleven-year-old Max Unger lived with his parents in a world of the future, a few decades after the Great Destruction of 2066. Because he was told he had a sun allergy, he stayed indoors in the daytime. At night, he loved to wander in the light of the 2 moons, and dream of caring for owls, who were also creatures of the dark. His special love was silver owls, and he was horrified when he heard that the High Echelon wanted to eliminate all of them. Max's Gran had told him silver owls were special, and would one day fulfill an ancient prophecy and bring their Owl Song back to the world. How could that happen if they all were killed? On one of his moonlight walks, Max meets a mysterious red-headed girl who seems to know a lot about owls. Can they work together to save the last few silver owls on earth?

This dystopian novel is marred by unrealistic dialogue and over-wrought characters -- overworked parents who are too stressed to pay any attention to Max, an unbelievably weird housekeeper who burns every disgusting meal she cooks, and a cruel doctor who makes weekly house calls to give Max injections that have become increasingly painful over the years. Many aspects of the dystopian world do not make sense, or are not explained. For example, The High Echelon announces the Sealed Borders Act. What is that? The High Echelon will assign all children to a field of study or an apprenticeship on their 12th birthday. No explanation. The High Echelon closed libraries, museums, and universities. Why? A climate-damaged city called The Frozen Zone was declared off-limits by the High Echelon. That is all the reader knows, and he is left wondering about many aspects of this story. Now and then the reader can eventually figure it out, but too much time is spent confused about this world.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book during a time of great stress in my life, and it made me happy the way the Harry Potter series made me happy. My Nephew said I needed a good adventure: "here aunt Reba, you like owls!" And I do! Have one tattooed on my arm - LOL - Ok, not a relevant side note but.... Anyway, the book is a great deal of fun and it offers a wonderful adventure and a beautiful friendship between a young boy and a young girl trying to change their world - a dark, dark place. The book is a little dark in places, but that's partly what makes this book so good - and the story so compelling. The only drawback is that there was no part two or three or four .... it is not part of a series. I can't help but wonder, as a reader: why not? Christine Brodien-Jones, really why not??? Consider continuing with this venture -- If you need a reader .... I would be happy to oblige!
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Format: Paperback
Max grew up listening to his gran spin marvelous stories about life before the Destruction. She would tell of a time before the darkness, before the frozen zone and the High Echelon existed, a time when there were plenty of books and silver owls. She also shared stories of the Owl Keeper, who united owls and sages in peace. Then, one day, gran was gone.

Shy and quiet Max is a sort of accidental hero. He doesn't set out to do anything special, but it seems this is his destiny. When Max meets Rose, he meets his perfect counter-balance. Rose is determined, stubborn, and adept at living in the wild. She is everything that Max is not. These two make an awesome team. I loved reading about Max's ultimate place in his world.

The High Echelon just seeps of creepiness. This government performs dubious scientific testing, creates monsters, and even tries to control people's minds. I could just feel the desperation and confusion of the characters in High Echelon's grip.

I can't get the silver owls out of my mind. With brilliant silver feathers and golden eyes, the owls are physically striking. There is much more to these creatures, though, and I love how Chrstine Brodien-Jones presents them and the owl keeper.

This dystopian fantasy took me on a thrilling adventure. I won't soon forget The Owl Keeper.

RATING

4 Liked

COVER COMMENTS

This silver owl is exactly as I pictured one to be. Just look at those silvery feathers. The background sky almost looks like a pool of water.
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