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The Owl Keeper Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 13, 2010
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
I am an adult who loves futuristic subject matter and found this to be right up there with Margaret Atwood in terms of innovation and vivid imagery. Brodien-Jones has created a world you want to watch in this fast-paced cautionary tale.
The little heroic owl is peace personified. Her survival in an increasingly vicious world is at the center of the story for Max and Rose, the two young warriors. These two unwittingly evolve into brave soldiers who embark on a frightening journey filled with close calls, slimy creatures and deteriorating landscapes. One wonders why anyone would want to live in such a world. The hateful High Echelon "government" is interested in robotic devotion and will use any means to wipe out independent thought. Thank goodness there are rebels like Max, Rose, and their serene white owl who fight for the right to be themselves.
As far as post-apocalyptic stories go, this one is not your run-of-the mill Zombie apocalypse. This is a fun read that leaves you guessing, with a satisfying ending that gives you hope, both for the future of the story, and that Christine will write an accompanying book!