The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole #1)
A classic hero mythology about the fight between good and evil, Guardians of Ga'Hoole is filled with adventure, suspense, and heart.Soren is born in the forest of Tyto, a tranquil kingdom where the Barn Owls dwell. But evil lurks in the owl world, evil that threatens to shatter Tyto's peace and change the course of Soren's life forever.Soren is captured and taken to a dark and forbidding canyon. It's called an orphanage, but Soren believes it's something far worse. He and his friend Gylfie know that the only way out is up. To escape, they will need to do something they have never done before -- fly.And so begins a magical journey. Along the way, Soren and Gylfie meet Twilight and Digger. The four owls band together to seek the truth and protect the owl world from unimaginable danger.
Lasky's (The Man Who Made Time Travel) Guardians of Ga'Hoole series opens with this unevenly paced tale centering on Soren, an owlet whose nasty older brother pushes him out of the family nest. A large owl snatches Soren up and carries him to a deep, dark canyon, the location of the St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Its nefarious nature is apparent from the start: Soren and other new arrivals are given numbers to replace their names, they are forbidden to ask questions and are required to sleep with their beaks "tipped to the moon" and to walk, herd-like, during the night when a full moon is shining. This "sleep march" leaves the young owls "moon blinked," after which, in the words of Soren's friend Gylfie, "You no longer know what is for sure and what is not. What is truth and what are lies." Soren and Gylfie discover a means of resisting the sleep marches and vow to escape the canyon by learning to fly, a feat they accomplish with the help of a sympathetic elder owl. Though much of the narrative is encumbered by excessive detail about the rituals of the repressive regime, the story moves at a quick clip once Soren and Gylfie find freedom and embark on a quest with two other orphaned owls. The likable characters may well entice fantasy fans to accompany them as they fly on to The Journey,due in September. Ages 8-12.