Once upon a time there was a sixteen-year-old boy named Owen Thorskard, who was the son of two dragon slayers and nephew of one of the most famous dragon slayers of the late 1980s, Lottie Thorskard. Though this is Owen's story, it could not have happened if: 1) his parents, who had experienced horrific experiences fighting dragons in the oil-rich Middle East, had not separated, his mom returning to Venezuela; 2) his aunt Lottie and her wife Hannah, a smith who forges all their swords and weaponry, hadn't offered to help raise Owen; and 3) Lottie hadn't been badly injured fighting a dragon off the Burlington Skyway, cutting short her urban career and compelling her to choose to live in the rural community of Trondheim, bringing Owen's dad Aodhan, Hannah and Owen with her. Oh, of course, also if Owen hadn't met Siobhan McQuaid, musician and composer extraordinaire and his math tutor, and asked her to become his bard. Without teen Siobhan to tell his story, there would never be The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim.
|Pg. 303 The Story of Owen Dragon Slayer of Trondheim|
The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim is a history of dragons and dragon slayers wrapped up in the story of a boy who would follow in his father's, mother's and aunt's footsteps and become a dragon slayer extraordinaire. But it’s also the story of Siobhan finding her musical voice to compose a symphonic story for Owen’s actions.
This was it, I realized. This was what I had to make other people feel, even if they didn’t get to see it like I had. I could already hear the first whispers, the line of brass and the faltering drums of the dragon’s dying hearts. This was something I could do. (pg. 144)Through Siobhan’s eyes and ultimately through her music–I wonder if E. K. Johnston has any plans for sharing the music composed to accompany Owen’s story–readers will be taken into an alternate history and a world in which dragons must be slain and carbon, fire and smoke draw the creatures to attack. There is so much in The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim that it defies my inclusion of all in this simple review. But all readers, particularly those participating in the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine reading program in which The Story of Owen is a nominee, will be grabbed by the completely unique premise for the book, E. K. Johnston’s exceptional characters, and an ending that is hardly formulaic and definitely startling. And I’m sure that they will be as primed to read E. K. Johnston’s follow-up book, Prairie Fire, released earlier this year, as I am.