Wednesday, October 24, 2007

CSFF Tour: The Wilderking Trilogy, Part I

Title: The Bark of the Bog Owl

Series: The Wilderking Trilogy #1

Author: Jonathan Rogers

Genre: Mid-grade (8-12 years) Adventure

Excerpt from Chapter 1, “The Bark of the Bog Owl,” of The Bark of the Bog Owl:

Holding the stiff palmetto paper between ink-stained fingers, Aidan admired his letter one more time before rolling it and putting it back in his side pouch. The mail wagon wouldn’t be by for another couple days, and he thought it best to keep the letter on hand in case another postscript came to him.

Besides being an avid letter-writer, Aidan Errolson was a warrior and an adventurer. He lived to ride with King Darrow’s armies. He thrilled to hear the clank of plate armor, the bright ring of a sword unsheathed. He would rather sleep on a bedroll in a battle camp than in the finest bed in the finest castle in all of Corenwald.

At least, that’s who he was on the inside. On the outside, Aidan was a shaggy-headed shepherd boy—a twelve-year-old bundle of knees and elbows in a homespun tunic and leather sandals. He had never had any real adventures. Being the son of one of Corenwald’s great landholders, Aidan lived a comfortable and settled life. And that, he believed, was the one great injustice of his otherwise happy existence.

A 12-year-old shepherd boy yearning for adventure gets more than he bargained for when an old man proclaims him the prophesied Wilderking.

The Writing: I have very few complaints about the writing. Both the beginning and the epilogue are unimpressive, and I felt discombobulated at times by the omniscient voice that does some head-hopping. But I immediately identified with Aidan, his longing for adventure, and the 12-year-old confidence that he can take on the world—even if that doesn’t match present reality.

Humor flavors The Bark of the Bog Owl without detracting from it, and even though this story is a very close parallel to the familiar account of David, Mr. Rogers presents the plot in such an engaging and surprisingly suspenseful manner that I kept turning the pages long after I would have normally put a similar Bible retelling down.

The Story: This is an unmistakable parallel of David, from Aidan’s ability to compose songs to the fact he carries bread and cheese to his brothers at war. Therefore, The Bark of the Bog Owl carries many of the same wonderful themes as the Bible story in a manner no more graphic, and as a whole, no more preachy. Finally, the closest thing to “magic” in this fantasy world (for those of you sensitive about such) is the prophetic ability of the Samuel-like character.

The Summary: It’s hard to find a safer read than this that is as entertaining. While not without its flaws, The Bark of the Bog Owl is clean, suspenseful, funny, and only marginally preachy, providing a fun fantasy for all ages.

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

Can't wait to read it? Order it here now!

(Check out the reviews for Book 2 and Book 3.)


Becky said...

It was that "Bible story retelling" that kept me away from the books for so long. Was I ever surprised by how fresh and exciting Jonathan made the story. I'm glad you enjoyed the book too, Chawna.


Becca Johnson said...

It's comforting to read that it's not preachy. I wasn't concerned about it yet, but it's nice to have that reassurance beforehand. Thanks for an informative review! :)

-Becca Johnson