Friday, April 17, 2009

The Owling

Title: The Owling

Series: The Shadowside Trilogy #2

Author: Robert Elmer

Genre: Tween (10-13) sci-fi/allegory

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Owling:

Oriannon jerked awake, jolted by the shuttle’s sudden dive and the high-pitched whine of ion boosters. The unseen hand of several Gs squeezed her squarely back in the padded seat, and she gasped for breath.

Where were they?

Off course, without a doubt, and certainly not heading home. The fifteen-year-old managed a glance out a tiny side viewport, though her eyeballs hurt to focus and her stomach rebelled at the sudden drop. Outside, space appeared cold, dark, and colorless—not the dense, bright violet atmosphere she would have expected to see above irrigated farms and the well-watered surface of Corista, her home planet.

Just across the aisle, her father unstrapped from his grav seat with a grunt, gathered his gold-trimmed ceremonial robe, and struggled down the narrow aisle of the shuttle toward the pilot’s compartment. Several passengers screamed as they banked once more, sharply, and the engines whined even more loudly. He seemed to ignore the panic; he put his head down and tumbled the last few feet to the flight deck.

An elder’s daughter seeks for a way to help her Owling friends amidst political and global upheaval.

The Craft: Clean, easy to follow, The Owling provides a fast-paced story of suspense and political intrigue.

What more can I say than that? The characters are varied and complex, the heroes of the kind that make you root for them all the way—even when they err. Descriptions are vivid enough to provide clarity without slowing the pace. Twists and turns keep the reader guessing, with enough predictability to prevent them from being knocked clear out of orbit. The allegory element is handled so that it flavors the story without bogging it down.

The Content: While The Owling doesn’t match the Bible event for event (a good thing in my opinion), it does a great job of capturing the anxiety, confusion, and impatience that must have belonged to the first believers as they waited for the Holy Spirit. And since this is a story first and an allegory second, many other themes are woven in—such as the problems of deception and of trying to do things your way in your time instead of waiting on God.

Summary: Good writing, good content—what more can you ask for? This is a delightful and insightful story appropriate for all ages.

Rating: Craft—4, Content—4, Overall—4.0 stars out of 5

See my reviews for Trion Rising (book 1) and Beyond Corista (book 3) or order the series here.

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