Review: The Story of Owen

Hello readers!

I read The Story of Owen back when it came out, in a fevered haze while I was ill. And while I remembered that it’s the reason EK Johnston is one of my favorite authors ever, but I couldn’t remember why. So to celebrate the release (finally! five years later!) of the paperback version, I reread it and–yeah. Johnston is one of my favorite authors ever.

Siobhan meets Owen, the destined, legacy-carrying Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, Ontario (you know, Canada), in history class, and makes the questionable life choice of saying yes when he asks her to be his Bard–to share his and his family’s stories, to help bring the Dragon Slayers away from their corporations and back to the people they are meant to protect. Their friendship grows through fire and sword practice and algebra tutoring (Owen might be great at dragons, but he’s terrible at math–I can relate!), through several adventures until the two teens have to take on a whole dragon hatching grounds on their own…

Johnston’s characters are instantly relateable for any teen (and older not-a-teen-anymore person). She writes real people who just happen to be stuck on book pages, and it’s my favorite thing about every one of her stories. Siobhan is a fantastic exploration of the idea of unreliable narrators–because she is, and she isn’t, and I love trying to parse what’s real and what’s embellished and what Siobhan really means the myriad times she says, “It should have happened that way. But it didn’t.” And Owen is the perfect nerd-jock intersection, the best of boys, who I love with my whole heart. He’s very soft and good and also carries knives in his shoes, and I love him with my whole heart.

This book is soft, full of music and a subtle alternate history that occasionally hits you over the head with its silliness; but it’s also full of brass and fanfare and fire that leaves your emotions smoldering in its wake. It’s a simply gorgeous story about friendship and family. And dragons. Legacy and sacrifice, too. And it’s full of Very Good Words. It’s character driven and packed with heart. And it makes me ache because it’s just so damn beautifully written.

Johnston is a master, and I’m so glad she made this book. It sometimes feels like they’re all specifically for me. I hope that means they’re for you, too!


You can purchase The Story of Owen online or call the store to reserve a copy! 

Happy reading!


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