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From the Stacks: E.K. Johnson delivers a new dragon slaying hero in 'The Story of Owen'

From the Stacks: E.K. Johnson delivers a new dragon slaying hero in 'The Story of Owen'

May 12th, 2019 by Samantha Pogue in Features

Owen Thorskard comes from a long line of dragon slayers dating back to the Vikings.

His aunt Lottie is one of the most famous dragon slayers of modern times. After Lottie is hurt battling a dragon, the family moves to the rural Canadian town of Trondheim, which is thrilled to get its very own family of dragon slayers. Owen's father, Aodhan, takes on the duties of protecting the area while Lottie and her wife Hannah train Owen.

Siobhan McQuaid meets Owen his first day of school when they are both late for English. She is a musician and is soon asked to become Owen's bard. Turns out dragon slayers used to always have a bard to tell the tales of their heroics. But modern dragon slayers are all corporate or military, and the charm of the profession is no more. Lottie and Aodhan want to bring back the traditional role of dragon slayers and they want to start with Owen.

Siobhan and Owen train together and Siobhan learns more than how to fight. The dragons are moving into the area in larger and larger numbers and the fear is a new hatching ground has been established. They have to find a way to stop the dragons before their area becomes just another Michigan.

I loved E.K. Johnson's book "The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim" and have now read almost everything E.K. Johnston has written. In this alternative history, dragons exist and feed on carbon. Consequently, as the world becomes more and more industrialized more and more dragons appeared. I loved all the little details we learned about the world, like the fact that Michigan had to be abandoned because the auto industry drew so much dragon attention it was overrun or the fact that Queen Victoria was the only non-dragon slayer to be inducted into the Order of St. George for moving a hatching ground and enabling travel between England and Scotland. There were lots of little things like that that made the story even more charming.

The true star of this story is Siobhan. She narrates "The Story of Owen" in such a charming and humorous way. Through her we learn more about the world, the history of dragons, music and dragon slaying.

I also really loved that there were no romantic feelings between Owen and Siobhan. They are friends and partners and that is it. It made for a nice change of pace to other books that always seem to force a romance.

I highly recommend this book and its sequel "Prairie Fire." While you are perusing the shelves you might as well pick up E.K. Johnston's other books. You will not regret it!

Angie Bayne is the children's services manager at Missouri River Regional Library.