Mr. Graham's Reviews > The Journey

The Journey by Kathryn Lasky
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's review
Feb 15, 2011

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bookshelves: childrens, fantasy

** spoiler alert ** The Journey is really just an extension of the story of Soren, a young owl who grows into himself as a leader. In this, the second book in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, the main character, Soren, learns many things about himself as he leads his “band” of four owls to the “Great GaHoole Tree.”
As in book one, the title of the book is slightly misleading. The title really only applies to the first seven of the 25 chapters. A better title might be The Training, for the majority of the book deals with the education and training the young owls receive to hopefully one day be Guardians. The plot, climax, and resolution are missing from this book even more than the first. The resolution is the rescue of Soren's sister, Eglantine. However, while Eglantines destiny weighed on the heart of Soren, it wasn't treated as the main thread of the plot throughout the story. The journey itself certainly includes some interesting events, there is very little action that really drives a reader.
In the first stage of their journey, they are immediately confronted by an owl who scoffs at their very purpose. “It does not do any good to believe in things you cannot see, touch, or feel. It is a waste of time.” She goes on to belittle them for being young and orphans. How easy it is sometimes to allow someone like this to give up on what we know is true. Mrs. Plithiver, the blind nest-maid snake, replies to these remarks, “I am ashamed of anyone who has eyes and still cannot see. But, of course, to see with two eyes is a very common thing...To see with the eyes is so ordinary.”
Chapter five tells us the part of the journey where they are relaxing and enjoying life at the Mirror Lakes. Once again our wise sage, Mrs. Plithiver, brings some wisdom. She realized that the Mirror lakes had transfixed them. “They had forgotten all they had fought for and fought against.” They also forgot their mission. How easy that is to do when life is comfortable.
When they reach the Great GaHoole Tree, the difference they see from St. Aggie's is striking. This is place of true learning where questions are encouraged and the library is open to all. Knowledge, experience, and individuality is valued highly. This is a place, also, where everyone is devoted to the good of Owlkind. The value of reading is affirmed in Soren and Gylphie. In chapter 13, as they “learned to read they began to get glimmerings of worlds unseen.” In chapter 15 Ruby is excited that this place of learning is giving her opportunities to do things her owl species would never do otherwise, which is a great benefit that real education gives.
Once again, there is great value in what I've learned about owls. However, as in the first book, this one cannot stand alone. I'm starting to think that books 1-3 were written as one book, but 700+ pages were too much for the target readers. I'm hoping that book 3 will have a great fight and resolve some of the lingering issues of Kludd, the flecks, and the Barred Owl's “you only wish.”

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