05 August 2015

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

For some reason or another, this book kept popping up in recommendations for me from various sites, so I finally bit the bullet and read it.

THE STORY OF OWEN: DRAGON SLAYER OF TRONDHEIM takes place in a version of our own world where dragons are everywhere, where they feed on carbon emissions, and family lines of dragon slayers are the only line of defense.

It's a great setup, and Johnston executes it well, giving us the story of Siobhan McQuaid, a classmate of Owen Thorskard, the scion of the Thorskard family of dragon slayers. Siobhan becomes Owen's bard, teammate, and, eventually, best friend, following him around Thorskard, a small town in Ontario, as Owen trains to be a slayer.

THE STORY OF OWEN was fun, whimsical, and oh so Canadian. Except there was no poutine, which is delicious, but anyway...

Even though I liked the concept, the book didn't end up exciting me. It felt like Johnston was pulling her punches quite frequently, and so many of the relationships left me terribly unsatisfied.

Siobhan and Owen never even entertained the idea of being romantically linked, and I thought that was brilliant—it's great to see a strong platonic friendship rather than romance for a change. But said friendship never deepened the way it needed to in order to be fulfilling.

The same could be said of most of the relationships in the book, and indeed of the adventure as a whole. Even the fight scenes, which should have been great set pieces, ended up just a bit shy of awesome.


All that being said, I found THE STORY OF OWEN charming and fun. I enjoyed it enough that I already picked up the sequel.

One last thing: I noticed a lot of typos in the hardcover. It was a little off-putting. I don't hold that against the story, though.