Book Three: The Rescue
In some ways, the third installment of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series provided many of the same annoying tropes that plagued the first two books.
But, then, the ending of this volume, I must admit, threw me for a loop. I should have seen it coming, but, still, I must give credit where credit is due.
I wish Ms. Lasky has condensed Book Two into the beginning of Book Three. It would have made for one fun volume instead of two mediocre ones.
The Rescue picks up where The Journey left off. (SPOILER!!) Orensay’s istersay, Eglantineyay, ashay eenbay escuedray, utbay ishay entormay, Ezylrybyay, ashay onegay issingmay.
I can’t say much about this volume without spoiling the book, but we do get some vital background information about Soren’s mentor, Ezylryb, and more information about an evil plaguing the land that is even worse than the owls of St. Aegolius. And the book ends with a pretty exciting battle. It looks like the author is finally starting to warm up.
However, it still rankles me that she insists upon summarizing all of the major plot points in each of the books. This was especially irritating because I read all three books in the same volume, so there were certain parts of the book that I had to relive three times in a week.
I also don’t appreciate the obvious Hogwartsian quality of life in the Great Ga’Hoole Tree, complete with punishments for misbehavior, mean teachers, and even a prissy, know-it-all Hermione character whom the gang initially hates, but later comes to appreciate.
Finally, the only thing more annoying than all of the summarizing is all of the explanations of the owl jargon that Lasky has created for the owls. Okay, I get that giving the owls their own vocabulary and slang makes it seem like more of its own culture. But I think that Lasky overdoes it, as is evidenced by the fact that she has to explain all of those words every time she uses them in a new installment of her series. Used correctly, creating a unique and complete culture for your characters can ground the reader in your fantasy world (see: Tolkien, J.R.R.). But it needs to serve a purpose, and if you don’t know how to wield that weapon, you’ll end up hurting yourself.
That’s exactly what happens with Lasky’s owlspeak. It ends up becoming more tedious than it’s worth because it doesn’t add all that much to the story.
I do have to admire the author, though, for her thorough research of owls. She understands their physiology and habits. I know more about owls now than I ever did, and I think that’s valuable (what? You won’t be rolling your eyes when I win “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” with an owl question).
I still plan to read the rest of the books, as long as JN keeps lending them to me. But I hope that the plot starts developing a little faster.