The War of the Ember, by Kathryn Lasky

2012 Book 91: The War of the Ember, by Kathryn Lasky (6/23/2012)

Reason for Reading: 15th and FINAL book in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series (link to 14th book review)

My Review 3/5 stars
In this final installment of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, King Coryn and the Band must fight a final war against the Nyra and the Striga, who’ve teamed up to raise an army of hagsfiends. This was a good ending to the series, although it was perhaps a little too sad.

Exile, by Kathryn Lasky

2012 Book 76: Exile, by Kathryn Lasky (5/13/2012)

Reason for Reading: 14th book in 15 book series (almost done!!!)

My Review 3.5/4 stars
The Band is exiled from the Tree when an evil blue owl (the Striga) gizzard-washes the young King Coryn. Can The Band get rid of the Striga before it’s too late for Coryn? I was pleasantly surprised by this fourteenth installment of the Ga’Hoole series. There’s a little life left in this series after all! Like The Golden Tree (the 12th book), this installment was an allegorical critique of organized religion (this time it criticized witch hunts, censorship, and apocalypticism). I was a little disappointed at what Lasky did with the Striga’s character…he seemed so nice in The River of Wind, and since we were omniscient (and could therefore hear his thoughts) you’d think we would have noticed that he had an evil streak in him? After all, can someone go from wonderful kindness to pure evil in a period of one month? In fact, time makes no sense in Lasky’s world. But I guess that’s what I get for reading children’s fantasy. 🙂

The River of Wind, by Kathryn Lasky

2012 Book 53: The River of Wind, by Kathryn Lasky (3/24/2012)

Reason for Reading This is book 13 of the Ga’Hoole series which I’ve been slogging through for years. Since well before the movie came out! I’m getting close to the final book!

My Review 3.5/5 stars
Coryn, Soren, and the Chaw of Chaws discover a sixth kingdom of owls across the ocean. While they are on a diplomatic envoy, evil war-like owls make trouble back home. This 13th installment of the Ga’Hoole series is cute (like all the others), but I’m afraid some of my enjoyment has ebbed after slogging through so many books. In the first several books the plot got thicker as each book progressed, but that development ended somewhere in the middle. Now, it just seems she throws in something new and something old and mixes it together for another installment. In this book, the “new” is a previously unknown kingdom of owls who live by some Buddhist-like values. The old is spoiler but not really because it’s achingly predictable the shocking return of the evil owl Nyra who just won’t die no matter how many times you kill her. The nice thing about these books is that they’re really short and I’m SO close to the end that I can’t give up now!

Aside Really, though, if you like anthropomorphic children’s fantasy, then you would probably enjoy the first 6 of the series. It really should have stopped there, even though I did really appreciate a couple of the books after that.

The Golden Tree, by Kathryn Lasky

2012 Book 6: The Golden Tree, by Kathryn Lasky (1/9/2012)

The Golden Tree is the 12th book of the Guardians of Ga’hoole series, which I have been reading for years (long before the movie covering the first three books came out). In this book, the new king Coryn explores his identity as the possible son of a hagsfiend (an evil owl-witch). He leaves with Soren and the Band for a short adventure to distract himself from his woes, but finds more than he’d bargained for. In addition, he’s left the ember back in the Tree under the care of owls with weaker personalities than himself—leading to self-absorbed ember worship (almost akin to a criticism of organized religion?). I can’t say that this book is as good as the first 6 (which could have been a complete series in themselves), but it was cute enough. This series has a 3 book detour in the middle, and this is the first book that picks up where the story left off. Much of the book was spent reminding the reader of things that occurred before the detour, and I think that subtracted from the normal action of these books. Therefore, I only gave it 3/5 stars. However, I am curious how the story will proceed, as the series seems to have started out with themes of Cute Kids against Naughty Bad Guys (book 1), progressed to Valiant Knights against Evil Racists (books 2-8), detoured to Good vs. Evil (books 9-11), and now seems to be entering Inward-Strength vs. Inward Weakness. What next?