Reviews of Rise of a Legend
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Readers of the "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" series (Scholastic) know Ezlyryb as Soren's mentor, the venerable strategist, and scientist of the Great Tree. In this prequel, the old owl tells how he came to renounce war and become the great teacher of Ga'Hoole. Born in the North Kingdoms during the War of the Ice Talons, young Lyze is eager to join the cadets and become a great warrior like his parents. When he arrives at the Academy, however, he learns that the current battle techniques are no longer effective in against the invading forces-and there are far too many hidebound traditionalists in the officer corps. The young bird proposes a new concept-a fighting unit that includes not only owls, but also snakes and snow leopards. But, can such different creatures learn to work in an alliance before the Ice Talon invasion destroys everything? The narrative ranges from a charming and humorous account of owl chick childhood to thrilling battles to deep, personal tragedy and spiritual renewal. There are also subtle messages about tolerance and respect for individuality. Other characters from the series make appearances, including Ezylryb's lost mate Lil, his friend and companion; blind nest-maid snake Octavia; and Thora, a female owl blacksmith. Owl languages, songs, and legends add depth and realism to the fantasy. Fans of Ga'Hoole will welcome this new adventure.—Elaine E. Knight, formerly at Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Lasky continues her best-selling Guardians of Ga’Hoole series with another skillfully crafted fantasy that imagines the lives of owls. In this volume, owlet Lyze tells his own story, beginning with his confusion after he pecks through his shell and begins his life. In his accounts of both youthful joys and increasingly dramatic adventures as his Northern Kingdom fends off a guerilla-like army, this small screech owl emerges as a courageous thinker and fighter for his fellow creatures. Lasky’s turns of phrase and fully developed emotional lives for her owl characters allow the story to speak some mature truths to young readers without veering into didactic territory, and footnotes including interesting and unobtrusive information further develop Lyze’s personality without interrupting the flow of his tale. A wonderful family read-aloud as well as a compulsively readable addition for young fantasy and naturalist fans. Grades 4-7. --Francisca Goldsmith
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