The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E.K. Johnston

The Story of Owen by E.K. JohnstonDon’t be fooled–this is not the story of Owen Thorskard, dragon slayer of Trondheim. This is the story of Siobhan McQuaid, the first bard in over half a century. She is a loyal companion and fearless friend who revolutionizes a nation by being cunning, faithful, and brave.

The Story of Owen is set in modern-day rural Canada. With dragons. That feed on carbon emissions. It’s amazing. Seriously–there’s even a joke when Siobahan’s parents buy her a car and she asks, “What, you didn’t love me enough to buy a hybrid?”

For ages, dragon slayers protect the people from these carbon-eating dragons, and their trusty bards tell the tale. Until Henry Ford hired dragon slayers to protect his car factories and soon dragon slaying became commodified and commercialized, and bards become all but extinct. That all changes when, following an accident, Owen and his family of dragon slayers move out to rural Canada and decide to shake things up.

Enter Siobahan McQuaid. Music courses through Siobahan’s blood, and she sees the world as a composition waiting to be written. When she meets people, she can’t help but write them into the symphony in her head, identifying them by instrument–flute, french horn, trumpet. Before she even heard the word, “Bard,” she started composing The Story of Owen in her head, so when Owen asks her to be his Bard, it’s a fairly simple decision.

Owen Thorskard is a generational dragon slayer. His father and aunt is a dragon slayer, and his aunt’s wife is a blacksmith. Dragon slaying oozes through his blood as much as music does through Siobahan’s. His dragon slaying aunt is famous, so when he moves to a small town and starts high school, every one knows who he is. He takes it in stride, though, and adjusts quickly.

The pacing starts a bit slow. The story is from Siobahan’s perspective, and as she is learning dragon slaying history, so are we. So it starts off a little dry, but hang in there–it’s well worth it. The plot really starts to pick up once they realize the dragon population is booming in Trondheim, which indicates that something is not good.

As Siobahan and Owen train together, they form a friendship and partnership. They trust each other with their lives. It’s a beautiful thing to watch, and one of my favorite parts of the story. In my opinion, the best part (spoiler alert) is that they DON’T have a romantic relationship. If you’ve read a YA novel at all, then you would know how hard it is to find a book about a boy and a girl who form a deep, trusting relationship and don’t date. It’s a wonderful thing, and I hope to see more of it. Romance is great, but I want to read more books that show how girls and guys CAN be friends without ulterior motives.

The Story of Owen is, without a doubt, my favorite book I’ve read this year. It is a fun, alternate universe, urban fantasy–WITH DRAGONS! It was a bit exposition heavy in the beginning, but otherwise, this novel is amazing, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!


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