Parents' Guide to

The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Intriguing fantasy mixes modern-world dragons and politics.

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With THE STORY OF OWEN: DRAGON SLAYER OF TRONDHEIM, E. K. Johnston creates a vivid, realistic modern world -- in which there are dragons. The level of detail is remarkable, encompassing everything from the effects of dragons on daily life to popular culture, as well as small-town and global politics. As a result, the dragon-fighting action tends to get lost in the shuffle, and kids looking for traditional dragon-fantasy lore might be disappointed. The premise, overlaying the world we all know with the fantasy element of dragons, is engaging and unique. Late middle-school- and high-school-aged kids ready for some broader context for their world, or perhaps who are budding politicos themselves, will enjoy the seamless integration of dragons into human history.

The backdrop of an evolving friendship between Siobhan and Owen as they navigate 11th grade will give kids relatable, admirable characters. Telling, small moments between the two create a touching friendship worthy of emulation. The action builds slowly between long passages of history and politics, but for the more mature teen reader it strikes a good balance and builds well to the final action-filled climax.

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