The Story of Owen

The Story of Owen

Dragon Slayer of Trondheim

Book - 2014
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In an alternate world where industrialization has caused many species of carbon-eating dragons to thrive, Owen, a slayer being trained by his famous father and aunt, and Siobahn, his bard, face a dragon infestation near their small town in Canada.
Publisher: Minneapolis :, Carolrhoda Lab,, 2014.
ISBN: 9781467710664
Branch Call Number: TEEN FICTION Johnston E.K.
Characteristics: 305 pages :,22 cm


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JCLChrisK Aug 26, 2014

Life as we know it, but with dragons.

Johnston has imagined what the world would be like were dragons real, wild creatures. Not super intelligent, magical beasts as is often portrayed in fantasies, but wild animals that are fiery and feed on carbon emissions. Humanity's fiercest, deadly compet... Read More »

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Oct 10, 2019

At the end of my school’s book club every year, a box of free books is given out, and we go around taking out books until none or left. Except, I am known in that book club as the voice of reason and kindness. So they forced me to choose it in addition to my given one other book at the time, because the members from previous years found it so bad. So I read it, and I can honestly say that I agree with them. Aside from the moral questions aroused by some of the actions taken in this book, I really thought that dragons would have more of a presence in this book. I mean, they are there. The world created in this book is very deeply affected by dragons. But other than that, it’s almost as if they exist in the background of the story, or like a side note. For a book of dragons, there weren’t really a whole lot of, you know, dragons, in it. Six out of ten at best. @R2-D2 of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Dec 02, 2016

The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston has a really interesting dynamic: dragons and dragon slayers in modern-day Ontario (Canada). I don’t think I originally read the summary quite right because I expected medieval times so it was fantastic being introduced to this alternate timeline. Johnston gets bonus points for setting her story in Ontario and somewhat near (give or take) to where I live. I found the main character, Siobhan very likeable and Johnston’s book has that feel-good ending to it.

The book for the most part takes place in a small town called Trondheim, and having grown up in a small town, it was really easy to imagine. I’d actually imagine Siobhan and Owen in my old high school, so Johnston’s book had that extra interactive element to it, at least for me. The first couple chapters mentioned Toronto, and how the city fit into the dragon slayer dynamic. I loved hearing about something I’m familiar with combined with dragons. My favourite part was reading about Lottie, Owen’s aunt, going to the top of the CN tower to watch for dragons. I also loved that the author didn’t info dump. Being an alternate timeline, the author mentions historical events and how they’ve been changed by dragons, but only when relevant to the plot.

I loved reading Siobhan’s commentary throughout the book. Her humour was one of the things I instantly liked about her, and I could also see her as a normal teenager – well, as normal as can be when there’s dragons involved. I connected with Siobhan a lot and felt we had very similar personalities. Sometimes I did drift off, but I think mainly because the voice is better suited for someone a couple years younger than me.

Owen was an intriguing character to get to know. His father and aunt are dragon slaying legacies and he has a lot of expectations from other people – will he become a dragon slayer, will he be good at it, etc. Moving to a small town and meeting Siobhan was exactly the thing he needed. I loved how the two grew together and it’s through each other they find things like friendship and confidence. I actually half-expected romance to happen between the two and was pleasantly surprised when that didn’t happen. I wouldn’t have minded if romance had happened, but it was a surprise. Owen and Siobhan have a really endearing friendship; the two come together to break each other out of their shells and discover new things about themselves and the people around them. This was that feel-good ending – I was completely satisfied with the ending.

The Story of Owen is about Siobhan, a music lover, becoming Owen’s bard and telling his story as a dragon slayer – as well as going on dragon slaying adventures and figuring out a few mysteries. This book is the complete version of Owen’s tale and I loved that Siobhan is honest to the reader, letting him/her know how she originally started Owen’s tale and what parts she left out. This book has it all: friendship and bonds to last a lifetime, humour and heart, and most importantly, dragons – if you’re a fantasy lover like me. Johnston is talented and I recommend you pick up this book and others. I’m currently reading A Thousand Nights and am impatiently waiting for her next book Exit, Pursued by a Bear to be released.

DBRL_JerilynH Jul 29, 2016

Excellent world building--modern day with dragons causing problems. Told in the first person by Siobahn, bard-in-training about Owen, dragon-slayer-in-training. Well developed characters. The humor and action make the book hard to put down.

PimaLib_KendraD May 21, 2015

I was intrigued by the concept of carbon eating dragons in an alternate earth but I was not prepared for how much I loved this book. There were so many little touches that were just perfect. I audibly exclaimed at the end of the book much to the surprise of people around me.

Nice twist on both hero/heroine and dragon themes--gritty and well-imagined.

sorenkrane Dec 26, 2014


Picked this one up at the library, completely random, excited for a story about dragons. Boy, what a find. Incredible. Honestly, I swear this book was written for me - music, dragons, Canada, history with a twist.

LOOOOOVED it. And, the writing was impeccable. It was like a rich dessert, one that you looove but have to eat slowly to savour it.

Recommended for the dragon lovers!

JCLChrisK Aug 26, 2014

Life as we know it, but with dragons.

Johnston has imagined what the world would be like were dragons real, wild creatures. Not super intelligent, magical beasts as is often portrayed in fantasies, but wild animals that are fiery and feed on carbon emissions. Humanity's fiercest, deadly competition for territory.

As told through the eyes of a teenage girl in contemporary Canada who has been recruited by a family of famous dragon slayers to help de-corporatize the profession, an aspiring musician and composer who is asked to be the bard for young Owen as they attempt to re-establish the tradition of every village having a dragon slayer who works for the community instead of hiring out to the highest-bidding government or corporation.

An amazingly realized scenario with great characters and great commentary on reality as we know it.

teardropinhand11 Jun 11, 2014

A really good story told in the traditional way of an epic. Develops the story really well, revealing all in good time. I definitely hope that there is more to come!

KCLSLibrarians May 17, 2014

Owen Thorskard, a dragon-slayer in training, and Siobhan McQuaid, a young musician chosen to tell his tale, team up to save their small town from an ever-increasing dragon threat. Set in a contemporary world where dragons thrive on carbon emissions, this is an adventurous and eloquent modern-day epic tale that will appeal to both teen and adult readers.

ChristchurchLib May 05, 2014

"Once, dragon slaying was a noble calling, with slayers guarding their neighbours from ferocious, carbon-hungry dragons. These days, however, most slayers work for big cities and corporations. That's why the citizens of Trondheim, a tiny town in rural Ontario, are so grateful for the protection of a renowned family of slayers like the Thorskards. It's also why Siobahn, a gifted musician, agrees to become bard (and algebra tutor) to trainee slayer Owen Thorskard and to join his family's campaign to return dragon slaying to its roots. Similar to The last dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, this modern, inventive spin on dragon lore will enchant readers with its strong characters, quirky humour, and intricate world-building." Teen Scene May 2014 newsletter


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JCLChrisK Aug 26, 2014

I never understood teenagers who escaped to their rooms and hid all the time. If they didn't know what their parents were up to, how did they hope to properly evade them?

JCLChrisK Aug 26, 2014

After World War II, when automobiles became a staple of Western culture and the dragon population boomed thanks to the glut of carbon emissions over Europe, the United States, and Japan, there were a bunch of car-related tragedies in rural North America. It wasn't so bad in cities or in Europe, where the population was concentrated and there were always more appealing targets for dragons to go after than a lone car. But in the countryside, a carbon-burning car was one of the most dangerous places to be. After a dozen years of debate on whether to allow teenagers to drive, the government finally implemented an education program to teach young drivers how to drive defensively, providing the basics of what to do in case a dragon tried to make off with your car while you were in it.

JCLChrisK Aug 26, 2014

A botched dragon slaying can be something of a disaster. Since dragons enjoy feeding on carbon emissions and do so whenever possible, a messy dragon slaying with multiple leaks can cause upheaval in a local environment. After Rome defeated Carthage, for example, the legionnaire dragon slayers went out of their way to butcher dragons improperly in the area around the fallen city. The resulting desert eventually spread to cover most of North Africa.

JCLChrisK Aug 26, 2014

"It will let Owen learn how to track dragons properly, and it will keep you out of the library, where you might get into something you're not supposed to."

"Let me get this straight," I said, having swallowed. "You are sending me out in a minivan whose date of manufacture predates the year of my birth, so that I can watch two dragon slayers track down enormous fire-breathing animals, in an effort to prevent me from spending time in the library?"

"There's no supervision in the library," Dad said.


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Dec 02, 2016

akzfineart thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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