I confess, I had very low expectations going into The Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky — the first book in the series, and the inspiration behind the upcoming movie The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. For one thing, it takes an exceptionally well-written middle grade book to impress me. And more importantly, I’ve never been a big fan of “animal” books — that is, books that are primarily about animals and written from the animal’s perspective.
But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Guardians of Ga’Hoole. Besides the fact that it is extremely well-written, the story is far more complicated than I had expected — and I have a feeling the movie could be marketed better, since it was only after reading the book that I had any real interest in the film.
The book follows a young barn owl named Soren, as he is kidnapped from his home and taken to the sinister St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. But don’t let the name deceive you — St. Aggie’s is no home for orphaned owls. It’s run by a group of owls hungry for power — who creep through the daytime and snatch unsuspecting owlets from their homes, then brainwash them. Soren and his friend Gylfie are lucky enough to catch on to these sinister plans and begin making plans for escape — with the legends of the Guardian Owls of Ga’Hoole as their source of hope and inspiration.
The book maps out the beginnings of a complex series, with a lot of elements working together at once — yet Lasky writes it in such a way that it’s never confusing or difficult to follow. The world she has created is so well plotted that it comes to life easily on the page.
Likewise, readers of all ages will find a lot of satisfying elements at work. As a fan of The Hunger Games and other dystopian lit, I was surprised to find similarly dystopic ideas at work among the owls at St. Aggie’s.
And unlike the impression you might get from watching the movie trailer, the book isn’t about simply pursuing the legend of these Guardians of Ga’Hoole. The book is about bravery, overcoming the odds, defeating evil (even when it comes in unexpected places), family and growing up. Soren has a long journey ahead of him, but even the progress he makes in this first book is significant.
Lasky has created a magical, charming and intriguing world with her series The Guardians of Ga’Hoole — and readers of all ages will find themselves swept up in the journey.
* * *
Want to win a copy of The Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture? We’re giving away ANOTHER copy this week, to celebrate the movie’s release on Friday!
Here are the rules:
- U.S. only
- Entries due Friday, Sept. 24th by midnight (PT)
- One entry per person
- Use the contest entry form to enter:
Guardians of Ga’Hoole Entry Form
* * *
The movie Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole hits theaters on Friday. Check out the trailer below:
Funny because I was just telling my students yesterday that I don’t normally like books with talking animals, but I did like this one! 🙂