The Great Ga'Hoole tree is a mythic place where Soren, Gylfie, Twilight and Digger seek to find the means to fight the evil that infects the kngdom. There they will be tested in ways they never dreamed, but there they can learn to become true Ga'Hoolian owls--brave, wise, honest, true.
Original publication date
I prefer books that are for a slightly older audience...although the world Lasky invents is quite cute and original, she does tend to be a little too educational at times.
I recommend this book to 3rd or 4th graders, and people who love simple (unsophisticated) children's books. I definitely plan on reading more of this series.
The series began as our main character, Soren, is brutally pushed from his next by his older brother. As Soren had yet to learn to fly, he is stranded. He ends up being capured by rogue owls and brought to St. Aggies, a place they call a school but is really a prison for young owls who are “moonblinked” (brainwashed) and forced to do hard labor. Eventually Soren and his companion Gylfie successfully break out of St. Aggies. Their next goal is to find the the Great Ga’hoole Tree, which is usually only ever mentioned in legend and fairy tales.
In The Journey, Soren and his friends quite quickly find the tree and are recruited to become Guardian trainees themselves. In fact, everything in this book moves quite quickly. Chapters are short and end abruptly. Harrowing dangers are averted before you’ve even had a chance to register that they’ve flown to a different place. The writing feels unhinged and choppy, as if the author was forced to write as quickly as possible to meet a deadline (and as there are now 15 books in the series, 15 written in 5 years, I think that’s probably very likely). The drama and connection with the characters is completely gone and new characters are introduced so quickly that you don’t have a chance to connect with them at all.
I was extremely disappointing in this volume of the Ga’hoole series, and I have no intention of continuing with book number 3. I have the film on blu-ray, and that’s going to be enough for me with these owls.
This is a great continuation of the Ga'Hoole story. I know I am WAY too old to be reading these books, but after I saw the movie, I just HAD to read them. And, as in almost any situation, the book(s) prove far superior to the movie - even if I still love the movie! The detail and depth these books can provide can never been shown on screen, unless this was done in a VERY long series.
The personalities of our favorite owls are becoming more and more pronounced the further into this we go. The Others are still the creepy figure I think we have all come to recognize, and this "other threat that is worse than St. Aggies" is becoming more sinister. OOHHH boy! Things are heating up, and it's not just because of the forest fires! We get to meet more owls this time through; however, none of these are in the book long enough (besides the teachers and Madam Plonk) for us to really get to know them greatly. I'm sure in the next few books, I will love them as much as I adore Gylfie.
I really like how the author did not feel the need to rush these books. As a younger YA series, authors tend to try to hurry things up for fear the children will lose interest. Because she did not do this, these books can be enjoyed by anyone. They are very quick, light and easy reads for the adults (albeit very enjoyable reads), and I intend to continue to read them all until I finish the series. I am hooked - I admit it! I'm secure enough in myself to fully announce to the world, I am a Ga'Hoole-aholic....and I will get my fix until there is no more. Now, the journey must continue....
In this book, it seemed Lasky got more annoying the the Owl Vocabulary Lessons, in which an unusual word is introduced, because that’s just the word owls use for that sort of thing, and from then on out, it’s used in every other sentence, or at least, it seems that way. It does get annoying.
In addition, the character Twilight’s chants/songs are really annoying, too.
In the end, this book was nothing spectacular, and probably wouldn’t be of great interest to a reader whose tastes include more recognized children’s fantasy authors. In the end, if you’re looking for something you could zip through in about a day (or a week, if you pace yourself), then this book may be good. Otherwise, read something a bit better.
Interestingly this one explains that the humans have disappeared, leaving some buildings behind. You can see the troupe grow and start to think and plan. I'm looking forward to where this is going.
In one sense, it reminded me of another YA series a friend's children have read (The Ranger's Apprentice). There's a group of friends who eventually get selected to go into avenues of study that hone their skills--different skills for each one--yet who will probably still interact with each other (and I'm suspecting eventually combine all their various skills into one important mission).
I like the friendship between the various types of owls (though I don't know in nature if owls of different species congregate together). I like that they've formed their own "family" and that they recognize different strengths and weaknesses in each other and try to help each other out.
I don't know if the owls are supposed to be "magical"--I went back and forth on this. I am hoping not. I would prefer to see a scientific basis behind the owl enclave etc. (However, I did see another reviewer indicate that future books emphasize the magical more than this book did.)
Some of the subject matter of the book reminds me a bit of the original Star Trek--which tried to tackle societal problems that might normally be taboo for television but were able to be written into a science fiction set in the future script. I'm not sure how successful this is in this series though.
Owls view themselves as the "best"--particularly compared to other birds that they call "wet poopers". (Apparently the author's attempt at bathroom humor to cater to her YA audience.) which comes across as "racism"--and it extends even to the teachers/leaders of the owl clan which is a bit disheartening. I could understand if the younger owls thought this and had to be taught the value of other bird species--and perhaps events in future books will address this issue, but it's not addressed here.
There are bad/evil owls who capture and mistreat other owls which could be a take on bullying--I have more faith that this will be addressed in the series than I do the previous issue. I also saw another reviewer mention cannibalism as one of the issues that they wondered about in the series.