Guardians of Ga’Hoole Series by Kathryn Lasky
Review by Jennifer (mywolfalways)
There’s something about the hidden lives of animals that sparks the imagination. Over the years many authors have used animals to create worlds that would not be possible with human or human-like characters. Lasky creates an imaginative world with a dedication to providing accurate information to the various species of owl, along with a cast of inspirational characters.
In book 1 of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series, The Capture, the reader meets Soren, the middle chick in a clutch of three. Inspired by the stories told to him every night by his Da, Soren decides that he will discover where the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, the heroes of the Owl world, reside and become one himself. His dreams are cut short, however, when he is kidnapped from his nest and taken to a terrible place called St. Aggie’s, an academy for “orphaned” owls. The books follow Soren’s escape from St. Aggie’s, his search for the Great Ga’Hoole tree, his training, his friendships, and the battles against the enemy.
Book 7, The Hatchling, leaves Soren to follow Nyroc, Soren’s nephew. Breaking free from his abusive mother, he seeks to escape her reputation and become his own person. While Soren’s battles were more to do with enemies and the hostile environment, Nyroc has to face many internal struggles and outside prejudice. His perseverance through the difficult journey to find freedom is an inspiration that many will find relatable.
Books 9 thru 11 are a prequel trilogy that tells the tale of Hoole, the founder of the Ga’Hoole, his upbringing, the origin of the Ember, and his taking of the crown. Often an author is not given the opportunity to tell readers about the origins of the world they create, so these were a delightful treat.
Book 12, The Golden Tree, returns to Soren, Coryn, and the familiar cast of characters. They search out new lands to seek alliances with owls and other animals, including wolves and polar bears. These alliances come into play as they face the new threat of the Hagsfiend, a creature of myth and dark magic that has come to destroy Owldom as they know it.
Even though the series is listed for readers of age “9 and up” many of situations and events that take place are intense. While not detailed, they can be unnerving. The antagonists in the series utilize brain-washing techniques and they are regularly abusive. Many other difficult subjects come up, such as manipulation, crowd mentality, peer pressure, censorship, and even pacifism in the midst of war. I feel that this series is great for both young and old alike.