Monday, January 07, 2008

Guardians of Ga'Hoole Book Nine: The First Collier (Book review)

(This book is also for the Four-Legged Friends Challenge.)

The First Collier, the ninth book in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky, is the story of Grank, an owl who serves the noble King H'rath and Queen Siv. It takes place in the midst of a bloody war between owls and hagsfiends (part crow/part owl creatures possessing natchmagen, or bad magic). Grank is gifted with firesight, which means that he can see visions in flames. But that won't help him when one day King H'rath is killed in battle. The hagsfiends want Siv's egg to use for their natchmagen, and Siv doesn't intend to let them have it. She leaves the egg to Grank and takes the hagsfiends on a wild goose chase in the far north while Grank flies the egg to an uninhabited, forested island to care for it. They both meet unlikely allies and enemies, and make important discoveries that could change the course of every owl's life.

I liked the story's complex characters and plot, and also the wide range of animals featured in it. There were not only owls and crow/owls, but also dire wolves, polar bears, and other birds. The end was a cliffhanger that left me wishing I had the next book!