Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: The Story of Owen

The Story of Owen, Dragon Slayer of Trondheim #1 by E.K. Johnston
A delightful tale about modern day dragon slayers. As told by a bard-in-training.

Set in modern times, but a modern times that includes dragons, this book is told bu Siobhan, Owen the dragon slayer in training's friend and bard. Owen has just moved to Trondheim from the big city. His father and mother are both dragon slayers, although his mother is absent for most of the book as she lives in a different country, and his aunt Lottie is one of the most famous dragon slayers of all time.

Owen and Siobhan meet on Owen's first day at a new school and they are fast friends. Siobhan is a music nerd, and everything she thinks and feels is through music. Owen quickly decides Siobhan is the perfect person to be his bard, sing his praises, and bring back some forgotten or dropped dragon slaying traditions.

As this book is about a dragon slayer and friend, there is of course much dragon slaying and training for dragon slaying. The action takes a back seat to the various relationships in the book: Siobhan and her family, Siobhan and Owen (SPOILER: not a romantic relationship!) Owen and his family, and all the other friend and family dynamics included in the story.

I liked Siobhan and enjoyed her story telling. She often gave the version she fed to the press, and then the more-or-less true version, which made her more believable. Owen was a likeable high school guy who happened to carry a sword at all times and be a trained killer (dragon killer, of course).

Over all, the conflict was minimal, even if it did involve dragons, and everyone in the story was so...nice. Really, there was not a single mean character.

This book will appeal to people who like a bit of action, and people who like human interaction. The story was entertaining and didn't require much thinking. A good book to pick up for an action packed day at the beach or a kick ass plane ride.

Friday, January 2, 2015

What I Learned From My 2014 Reading Challenge

More than a year's a blog post.

In 2014, I joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the third year in a row. My goal was to read 80 books. I read 90.

I read fiction, non-fiction, comics, manga, YA, and adult books. Judging from the number of books and the span of categories I covered, You would think I read everything there was to read. However, that isn't necessarily true. Many of the YA books I read were contemporary or fantasy, as were the adult books. The non-ficton was few and far between. The comics and manga provided the most diversity in genre; I read super hero books, fantasy, contemporary, horror, and a little bit of crime-fantasy-ish (whatever you consider Chew to be). It was not until the end of the year when I started reading award nominees that I reached out and read something outside of my range of normal.

What does this tell me? That I need to set new reading goals in 2015. Not just a number of books, but to make what I read more diverse. So here they are, my 2015 reading goals:
  • Read 1 non-fiction book every month. This can be is prose or graphic novel form.
  • Read a horror book (I don't usually read horror because, well, it scares me).
  • Read at least one comic book/ graphic novel every month
  • Read the pile of Manga in my room that a friend lent me.
  • Read a Goosebumps book. I have never read one!
  • Don't just prick from the 'New' shelf. Read some of the book that are more than a year old, too.
  • Begin re-reading the Harry Potter series. It's my favorite and I have not read it in a while.
  • Complege Goodreads reading challenge of 75 books. Five less than last year.