Monday, April 19, 2010

The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones

When I saw the book trailer for "The Owl Keeper", I thought it was so well done, and set such a mood, that I just knew I had to read the book. From the beautiful shot of the silver owl on the front of the book to the phrase on the back cover that says "If you look into the dark long enough you'll see things others don't"...this book does not disappoint.

Christine Brodien-Jones writes fantasy/adventure books for middle grade and teen readers. She writes on a huge Shaker desk littered with carved wooden owls. It no doubt helped her set the mood for this lovely story that drew me in from the first page with its mix of action, mystery, and fantasy. The charming illustrations by Maggie Kneen added just the right touch of whimsy.

Maxwell Unger, a boy who is allergic to the sun and loves the night, used to love the stories his gran told him, about the world before the great Destruction--about nature, and silver owls, and in particular, he loved the story of the Owl Keeper. In times of darkness, the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Max used to go exploring in the forest after dark with his Gran and do brave things. But now, Max's gran is gone, the books Gran saved have been destroyed, and he no longer does brave things. The forest is a dangerous place and silver owls are extinct. At least that's what the High Echelon says, though Max knows better. When Max meets a mysterious girl named Rose, he discovers that he just might have to start being brave again. The time of the Owl Keeper is coming.

Brodien-Jones has done an excellent job with her characterization and attention to story development. The world she has created is believable and you will find yourself solidly on the side of the spunky Rose and cheering Maxwell on as the secrets of his world are exposed one by one and his character grows and develops over the course of the story. With two strong lead characters, this book will appeal to both guys and girls, and many an adult will be won over as well, just as they were with the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.

This highly imaginative book will entertain a broad spectrum of ages, and I hope it will be the start of many more from the owl engraved desk of Brodien-Jones.

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