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The Story of Owen
Cover of The Story of Owen
The Story of Owen
Dragon Slayer of Trondheim

Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival.

There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition.

But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected.

Such was Trondheim's fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds—armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard.

Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!

Listen! For I sing of Owen Thorskard: valiant of heart, hopeless at algebra, last in a long line of legendary dragon slayers. Though he had few years and was not built for football, he stood between the town of Trondheim and creatures that threatened its survival.

There have always been dragons. As far back as history is told, men and women have fought them, loyally defending their villages. Dragon slaying was a proud tradition.

But dragons and humans have one thing in common: an insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. From the moment Henry Ford hired his first dragon slayer, no small town was safe. Dragon slayers flocked to cities, leaving more remote areas unprotected.

Such was Trondheim's fate until Owen Thorskard arrived. At sixteen, with dragons advancing and his grades plummeting, Owen faced impossible odds—armed only with a sword, his legacy, and the classmate who agreed to be his bard.

Listen! I am Siobhan McQuaid. I alone know the story of Owen, the story that changes everything. Listen!

Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.6
  • Lexile:
    1020
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    5 - 8

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • The cool things about Emily Kate Johnston are that she is a forensic archaeologist, she has lived on four continents, she decorates cupcakes in her spare time, she adores the Oxford comma, and she loves to make up stories.

    The less cool things about Kate are that she's from a small town in southwestern Ontario, she spends a lot of time crying over books in random coffee shops, and she can't play as many musical instruments as she wishes she could. The Story of Owen is Kate's first novel. Visit her online at ekjohnston.ca.

Reviews-
  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2014

    Gr 7 Up-Siobhan is a typical teenager. Her hobbies include composing music, hanging out with friends, and driving her first car. Her biggest conflict is whether or not to tell her parents that she would rather pursue music than go to a university. All of that changes when she meets Owen Thorskard, currently failing algebra and potentially the nation's next great dragon slayer. Owen, nephew of famous Slayer Lottie Thorskard, goes to high school by day and trains to protect the rural town of Trondheim by night. The two teens become friends when it becomes painfully evident that Owen needs a math tutor. Little does Siobhan know that she's signing up for a lot more than tutoring. Soon she finds herself working as Owen's personal Bard. While he slays, she documents; together they work to show the country that dragon slayers are needed in more than just the big cities. Johnston seamlessly blends fantasy with realistic fiction; readers will have a hard time remembering that dragons aren't an everyday aspect of life. Suggest this title to reluctant readers as the fast-paced plot and witty dialogue will keep them turning pages until the tale's exciting conclusion. A great addition for any library with a strong fantasy following.-Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 20, 2014
    Debut novelist Johnston envisions an Earth nearly identical to our own, with one key difference: dragons, whose attraction to carbon emissions—whether from campfires or cars—makes them a persistent threat. Everything from pop music to industry, literature, and the historical record has been influenced. The Sahara desert has its roots in a botched dragon slaying after Rome conquered Carthage; centuries later, the logo for the Detroit Red Wings symbolizes the loss of an entire state: “the wheel, for the car that had brought Michigan up, and the wing, for the dragons that had brought it down.” After 16-year-old Siobhan McQuaid agrees to become the bard for dragon-slayer-in-training Owen Thorskard, who has moved with his famous dragon-slaying family to her small Ontario town, she winds up at the center of a grassroots effort to understand an odd spike in dragon numbers. Siobhan’s narration sings thanks to her dry wit, intelligence, and ability to see the inherent musicality of life, while also commenting on the unreliability of history (and storytelling) and the power of a community to rally to save itself. Ages 11–up. Agent: Josh Adams, Adams Literary.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from January 15, 2014
    In an alternate world where humans and dragons battle over fossil fuels, the tale of one slayer and his bard becomes a celebration of friendship, family, community and calling. Once, every village had its own dragon slayer, but those days are long gone; now, slayers are drafted by governments or sponsored by corporations. Sixteen-year-old Owen Thorskard, scion of a renowned line, wants to help reverse that--starting with the rural Canadian town of Trondheim. While Owen is brave, dedicated and likable, this story really belongs to Siobhan McQuaid, dauntless bard-in-training. In her witty account, Siobhan learns alongside Owen from his heroic aunt and her blacksmith wife, schemes with classmates to create local Dragon Guards and enlists the entire county in a daring scheme to attack the dragons' own turf. Humor, pathos and wry social commentary unite in a cleverly drawn, marvelously diverse world. Refreshingly, the focus is on the pair as friends and partners, not on potential romance; Siobhan places as much emphasis on supporting her allies as extolling Owen's deeds. Smart enough to both avoid unnecessary danger and be scared when appropriate, they prove all the more valiant when tragic sacrifices have to be made. It may "[take] a village to train a dragon slayer," but it takes an exceptional dragon slayer to deserve a village--and a storyteller--like this one. (Fantasy. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • The Horn Book Magazine

    "In an alternate universe much like ours, dragon-slaying is a lucrative corporate gig. Retired legendary dragon slayer Lottie Thorskard hopes to begin a movement to return the profession to its roots—local dragon slayers doing the unglamorous work of protecting their territory from ravenous, carbon-sniffing dragons. So she moves her family to tiny, rural Trondheim, Ontario, home of eleventh-grade budding composer Siobhan McQuaid, narrator of this original fantasy. Lottie asks Siobhan to be bard to her dragon-slayer-in-training teen nephew Owen: recounting his deeds, providing feedback on his technique, and promoting the idea of dragon slayers as public servants. (Also, he needs an algebra tutor, and Siobhan is good with numbers.) This means, however, that Siobhan will get much closer to dragons than she'd ever planned to. Johnston has great fun reimagining history in a dragon-filled world and takes on carbon emissions and global warming from a different angle. Modern references live comfortably next to those from Viking sagas, often to comic effect. With dragon attacks on the rise, Owen and Siobhan get wind of a new dragon hatching ground and lure the dragons away in order to destroy the eggs—a final confrontation that, in Siobhan's wry, heroic narration, is nothing short of epic." —The Horn Book Magazine

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    Lerner Publishing Group
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