A friend of mine gave me this book to borrow because a) her kids love it, and b) she uses it for one of her classes on Language and Literacy development and all of her students love it as well. With some parallels to Harry Potter and other assorted YA novels in history, she knew that I would adore this book - no matter its intended target group. Because, really? Who decides those anyways?
The Capture, by Kathryn Lasky, is a book about owls. And it's also a classic tale of good versus evil and the hero mythology that usually accompanies that.
The Capture is the first book in the series called The Guardians of Ga'Hoole. You are introduced to Soren, a young barn owl who is the main hero of the series. At the beginning of the book Soren is pushed out of his nest by his bother - a horrible fate for a young, flightless owl. While on the forrest floor, trying to figure out how to survive the night, Soren is grabbed by a mysterious bird who brings him to a school called St. Aggies.
At St. Aggies orphaned (or, rather, snatched) owlets are brought together and trained. Soren, along with his newfound friend Gylfie suspect that St. Aggies is more than a school, but instead a sort of training camp that brainwashes the young owls to aide the plans of the headmistress. Soren and Gylfie, along with some help along the way, are determined to figure out just what the school is intended for and to escape the brainwashing for good.
The Capture, while intended for young readers, is an excellent story. The characters are intriguing, the rituals described are creative, and the plot is captivating. I was rooting for Soren through it all. I'm really glad it was recommended to me - both because I enjoyed it, but also because now I get to enjoy the conversations with my friend's kids. They're really into it and it's fun to hear (and understand!) their thoughts on the book and the series. It's a great book to read with kids as well as they eat up the characters and the plot.
I would totally recommend this book to anyone - and have received a few strange looks from some when they realize the age level of the book. Just because something is an easy read doesn't mean it's not worth reading. Look at how popular YA novels are - and no one is turned off because they're targeted to teens. Why should younger books be different? Read it, and then try and tell me it wasn't worth it. :)
Title: The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole #1)
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Genre: Fantasy, Young Reader
Date Read: 22 November 2012
First Line: Noctus, can you spare a little more down, darling?
Favorite Line: Legends were not only for the desperate. Legends were for the brave.
Recommended: Of course! It may be a kids book, but it's an excellent kids book.
Recommended For: 9+ - but don't let that deter you if you're not still in elementary school. This book is well worth the read!
Source: Borrowed from a friend!