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Dragon Slayer of Trondheim

(The Story of Owen #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,791 ratings  ·  594 reviews
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 defend ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published March 1st 2014 by Carolrhoda Books
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Sam Dalseide Actually, it takes place in Trondheim, Canada. Owen's ancestors are from Norway. …moreActually, it takes place in Trondheim, Canada. Owen's ancestors are from Norway. (less)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  2,791 ratings  ·  594 reviews

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Start your review of Dragon Slayer of Trondheim (The Story of Owen, #1)
I will write more about this book closer to its pub date, (full review on Pink Me but here is the quick version - SO GREAT. Unusually, spectacularly great. Very assured for a first novel. Full of banter and heart and imagination, but also terrifically grounded in the real world.

I will give it to my 12-year-old son, I will give it to my friend's 14-year-old daughter, it will be perfect for a large large number of teens, especially those who think romance
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Weirdly, I like the idea of this a lot more than I like the actual book.

Here's my main problem with this book: the plotting is a mess. It hinges on a pretty ridiculous supposition, it's got dangling threads all over the place, and two fairly central characters apparently are allergic to each other.

It hinges on the idea that our protagonist, the girl Owen coincidentally meets, not only has the musical talent to be a bard, but also the people skills - and the will to commit to it. A month after s
Feb 11, 2016 rated it liked it
I really wish I could have liked this book more because the idea of it was so interesting and I loved the world. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. I had a hard time rating this book because it was unique, but I wasn't a huge fan of it. I mean, I feel like I would have liked it better if I was comfortable with the writing style.

If someone were to ask me what I thought of this book, this would be my reaction:

“There was, apparently, no honor in driver's ed.”

This book is
Melissa McShane
It took me a really, really long time to get through this, probably longer than was warranted by the quality of the story. Much as I admired it (hence the four stars) I never really felt connected to it; it was a beautiful story, with a beautiful sense of place and history and intriguing characters, but I think it's Siobhan's telling of the story, and her frequent insertion of historical detail, that kept it at a remove from me. Or it was a result of taking so long to read it. In any case, I fou ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I think, to answer the question posed by the review form, that I really want to see the discussion when friends have read this one. That desire is not the only reason I'm hoping lots of friends do read it, because I think it's unusual and interesting and not perfect but mostly in ways that make me eager to discuss, rather than frustrated and bored. In no particular order, some thoughts: (Oh, but first - if you are like me, you will be confused by the subtitle "Dragon Slayer of Trondheim", or ope ...more
First Second Books
In an alternate reality that's full of dragons (think Naomi Novik's Temeraire, but all the dragons are wild and it's the current day), almost no one thinks it's time for a teen girl bard to swoop in and save the day. But -- they'd all be wrong, and this YA novel is amazing because of it. ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youngadult, dragons

Such an interesting premise! It's an alternate history in which dragons regularly ravage the world, and are fought off by trained dragon slayers. Dragon slaying has become sort of a paramilitary job, and one family in Canada wants to break free and sort of bring back the glory days. They do this by pairing up their young dragon slayer in training, Owen, with a schoolmate, the musically gifted Siobhan. Siobhan will be Owen's bard, and will tell stories and write songs about his deeds and t
Read for Family Book Group
While my second reading of this book was just as delightful as the first, the Family Book Group discussion was very polarized with about half of the group disliking the story intensely.  Reasons for their disinterested: nothing happens (so not true!) and the dragon slayers are the bad people (missing the dragons=climate change connection, and actively rejecting it when presented with it). Our ratings were siloed at the zero level and at the 9-10 level, with only o
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fantasy
This book is just so funny, warm, and just lovable in every way. Dragon-slayers in modern Canada! And the wry, deadpan voice of the narrator, Siobhan (Owen's bard, a wonderfully geeky, music- and history-obsessed girl whom I - surprise, surprise! - adore) is my favorite part of the whole book. (In different ways, the writing style reminds me a bit of Connie Willis and a bit of Robin McKinley in her contemporary, SUNSHINE/SHADOWS mode, but really, it's just original and heartfelt and funny and pe ...more
Joseph Pickell
Oct 11, 2016 rated it liked it
As a general rule, I do not enjoy fantasy that takes place in the contemporary world. However, the author did a better job than most making it believable. Her short rewrites of historical events to include dragons were the most interesting part of the book for me.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
I know it's not cool to "review" a book you didn't finish, so please take this with a huge grain of salt. I wish Goodreads had a separate category for DNF and categories for why you couldn't keep going so they could be separate from the actual reviews.

I was intrigued by what I'd read about the narrator telling different versions of the story, but just couldn't get past a logic obstacle. At first, I was thrown by the question of why people don't just blow dragons up with missiles, but I read som
I really, really enjoyed this book.

First and foremost, this is a really unique take on dragons and dragon tales. Owen, Siobhan, and their families live in the real world, as it is today, in rural Canada. Nothing has changed. History has all still occurred exactly as it really did. Except that there are dragons. So sometimes the history occurred in a slightly different way or for a slightly different reason. It's a very cool idea. Because of this, Owen and Siobhan are basically normal high schoo
Jana at
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-for-mlis
This book was a required read for my Young Adult Literature class as part of my MLIS program.

So… I’m not going to write a formal review of The Story of Owen. I’m just going to post my thoughts that I wrote for a couple assignments in my class. Unfortunately, this book was not my favorite. Its had its moments, but overall I had some complaints I could not reconcile.

1. It started out very slowly for me, and never really picked up very much. Maybe things were a bit slow going because the author too
Chandra Rooney
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
I received an ARC through NetGalley after the author told me she'd written a CanLit Pacific Rim but without the robots. Of course, I'm going to be all over that like a dragon on a smoke stack.

The Story of Owen is CanLit in its sensibilities and its humour and its completely illustrated view of what it's like to grow up in rural Canada. Also it has dragons, and swordplay, and a cast of characters you will love.

If you enjoyed The Curse Workers by Holly Black or The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton then y
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, ya
This book is definitely unique. I've never read anything quite like it. The matter-of-fact blend of industrial history and dragons (who love to eat carbon and thus their population has blossomed with industrialization) is pretty cool.

I picked this up to potentially booktalk to 7th/8th graders and I'm just not sure... content-wise it's fine, no sex, some dragon violence, very Canadian language... but it's very sophisticated and I feel like a lot of kids that age might not quite pick up the alter
Nov 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Interesting concept, but D-U-L-L. Notice any exclamation points? T'was that bored. ...more
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Okay, hang on...

Good to go now. That was really stressful, and no small amount of heartbreaking.

This is an amazing book. If it was murder horses instead of dragons it would be 100% my aesthetic, because DAMN. It's got diversity, Canadian pride, music and folklore, rural small towns... Everything I could want!
It's basically a book about my childhood and youth, right down to the mention of Junior Farmers (although I did 4-H instead) and using broken hockey sticks as swords. While I did not grow
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I liked the adventure and the exploration of how true (or not, or incompletely) storytelling can be. I also liked that unusually there was no romantic element: The female narrator makes it clear that neither she nor Owen are interested in such a relationship on top of their friendship. The convoluted narrative line was confusing after a while, though, and the insertion of dragons and their dangers into our world's history worked as a metaphor for pollution (dragons are attracted to carbon emissi ...more
Miss Clark
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Miss Clark by: R. J. Anderson
3.5 stars

Inventive and original, I enjoyed the story and the characters. A lot. Owen and Siobhan were wonderful and their friendship was a delight to watch develop. I thoroughly liked the premise of a modern dragonslayer and all the changes that would bring to our world should dragons be roaming the earth.

I wondered what it would be like - to lose something you love so much and have to live surrounded by constant reminders of it. I hoped that I would never find out.

Foreshadowing, much? As soon
Monica Edinger
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Witty, clever, and all in all, delightful. Excellent world-building. Enjoyed it very much.
Katie Hanna
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Okay ummmmmmmmmmmmmm ...

I genuinely enjoyed most of this book, but was vaguely disquieted & disappointed by the ending. I thought it was a standalone, which felt weird because the final chapters were so unsatisfying?? Turns out, The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim is the first book in a duology, and there's a REASON the ending feels disturbing, because it's setting up for Book 2, which (according to a brief internet search) promises to be EVEN MORE DISTURBING.

Knowing that, I don't ha
May 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I seem to be having an issue with endings lately. It's annoying.

I was going to leave a much longer review to this book, but I'm probably not now, because I'm vaguely sad. I absolutely adored 99% of this review. To the extent that I was sure that this review was going to start with "I LOVE THIS."

You will have no doubt noticed that this review did not start that way.

It's not even a bad ending. It's probably the most appropriate ending there could have been, given the themes of the book, the way it
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I waited too long to read this book. Seriously. When it came out back in March, I was intrigued. Many people I trust said read this. It's good. Why did I wait so long? The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston is a perfect blend of myth, reality, sly humor, and exhilarating action-adventure.

As the title implies, this is the story of Owen, a teenage dragon-slayer-in-training who helps guard the small town of Trondheim from dragons while trying to
Adriyanna Zimmermann
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston has a really interesting dynamic: dragons and dragon slayers in modern-day Ontario (Canada). I don’t think I originally read the summary quite right because I expected medieval times so it was fantastic being introduced to this alternate timeline. Johnston gets bonus points for setting her story in Ontario and somewhat near (give or take) to where I live. I found the main character, Siobhan very likeable and Johnston’s book has that feel-good ending to it.

The b
This was fabulously fun! I love how grounded this book was--family dinners, schoolwork, music practice, all those things that end up painting such a vivid, relateable picture of Siobhan and Owen's daily lives and how the existence of dragons does and doesn't affect their world.

I particularly adored:
- Siobhan's love of music
- Owen's aunts, and the way their relationship was simultaneously not a big deal and still affected them and their histories
- Siobhan and Owen's totally platonic friendship--
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Hear ye, hear ye, the story of Owen, a teenager in rural Canada who has descended from a long line of dragon slayers and is in training himself to pick up the dragon-slaying mantle. Told in sequential episodic structure, 16-year-old composer Siobhan tells how she becomes Owen's bard, working to destroy dragons (which are overrunning the world) and reform corporate dragon-slaying culture.

The truly wonderful thing about this book was that there was no romance involved - it was so refreshing! It wa
Jessica Rackley
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Shakespeare wrote of a fictional land where dragons were myth, Vlad the Impaler was really a dragon slayer, Queen Victoria banished dragons from Scotland. Those are all parts of this book. I am loving it so far!

I absolutely loved this book! It is part of my Girl Scout reading challenge. I know that sounds funny, but I am reading books that the author has the same name as the girls in my troop.
I loved the idea of a book taking place in Canada (first for me), dragons taking over entire state
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
**3-3.5 stars**

I enjoyed this waaay more than the first white pine book I read.
For one, I really like how the story is an alternate universe with drAGONS!! I love how the author incorporated our worlds history with dragons. Another thing I enjoyed was the two main characters relationship -- it was just friendship, no romance there's also an LGBT+ element, always a plus.
The pacing was meh and the plot was sort of predicable. Some characters were annoying.
(I'm just writing a quick review to rememb
katayoun Masoodi
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy, ebook
4 1/5 and really loved it! thanks hallie
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I want to like this book, really. The idea is unique and the premise is interesting. The problem is I found the book was written like textbook. It's dry. The small fonts didn't help either. ...more
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E.K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes.

You can follow Kate on Twitter (@ek_johnston) to learn more about Alderaanian political theory than you really

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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“Let me get this straight...You are sending me out in a minivan whose date of manufacture predates the year of my birth, so that I can watch two dragon slayers track down enormous fire-breathing animals, in an effort to prevent me from spending time in the library?” 23 likes
“There was, apparently, no honor in driver's ed.” 8 likes
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