Book Review: ‘The Owl Keeper’ by Christine Brodien-Jones

Book Title: The Owl Keeper

Author: Christine Brodien-Jones

Genre: Children’s Literature / Fantasy

Summary: In a dystopian future ruled by the High Echelon, Max Unger struggles to make sense of a world in which he may no longer have a place – allergic to sun particles, the promise of constant sunlight in the Domes gives him little cause for celebration. On top of that, Max has a secret. Silver Owls are deemed evil and supposed to be extinct, yet Max knows this to be untrue. Urged by the memories of the stories his Gran had told him before she died, Max waits for the Owl Keeper to arrive and rise up against the Dark Brigade, restoring balance in the world.

Favourite Scene: The description of Rose when Max first meets her. You can read an extract here.

Favourite Character: Rose for her strength and imagination.

Review: This is a sweet book that I can imagine my younger cousins reading and enjoying. Set in a dystopian future in which the Great Destruction of 2066 managed to wipe out a large portion of the natural world and change the balance of the seasons, the novel possesses vast elements of fantasy that had something of an Obernewtyn-esque feel (though to compare the two further would be terribly unfair – like comparing Anne Rice to Stephenie Meyer). The story is slow at first while it sets out the groundwork for its post-apocalyptic setting but when it gets moving, it moves so quickly that it feels like quite a rush – almost too much after the slow start. At the end, I felt like there was room for a sequel yet I have no interest in reading any more stories set in this world with these characters – they were fun, but not especially well-developed. It was predictable and relied on a poorly written prophecy for the plot to progress, though I’m trying to be forgiving and keep in mind the novel is aimed at 10 year olds (or thereabouts). If you have a young avid reader in your midst who likes fantasy/dystopian stories, then this would be an easy novel for them to read as there are not too many subplots or twists to make it hard to follow (in fact, it’s rather linear and not too surprising).

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