Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky

(I’ve read so many books lately but haven’t had the chance to write about it them, so I guess today I’m trying to play a bit of catch up…)

Reading books that have been made into movies has always been one of my favorite things so naturally, when I saw commercials for the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, I had to read the first book. (An important note: I am generally not a fan of things that involve talking animals because they rarely look anything but silly onscreen.)

The Capture is about a young owl named Soren who finds himself knocked out of his nest and taken away from his family before he’s gained the ability to fly. He is taken, along with many other young owls, to St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls (St. Aggie’s for short). He meets another young owl, Gylfie and together they fight to retain their individuality and their love of the sky, for those are things St. Aggie’s tries to steal away. But there is an even bigger scheme afoot. Can Soren escape, find his family, and stop St. Aggie’s from its larger goals of controlling all the owls.

I was impressed with the way Lasky can really make you feel like you understand what it’s like to be an owl. You understand how they develop, how they live, what marks important moments in their lives. I like that it wasn’t a detail that was mostly sidestepped. They didn’t feel like humans. They felt like intelligent, emotional owls.

There’s also a lot of psychology mixed into the book. The process of brainwashing is particularly interesting. Despite being nocturnal, the owls of St. Aggie’s are required to sleep in during the nighttime and work during the day. This is only the first step in the process. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t go into further detail, but the whole process is a fascinating one, as is the process of resisting it. The legends of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole play an important role, but only in a background sort of way (in book one at least).

But the best part of the book, is the complex emotions and characteristics that are examined. Loneliness, jealousy, arrogance, determination, the desire for power, heroism.

I was hesitant about the book, but I was surprised to find myself really enjoying it,. I definitely plan to get book 2 and see where Soren’s adventures take him.

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