Friday, April 1, 2016

The Bark of the Bog Owl (The Wilderking Trilogy)

Title: The Bark of the Bog Owl

Series: The Wilderking Trilogy (Book #1)

Year: 2004

Author: Jonathan Rogers

Summary: Twelve-year-old Aidan Errolson comes from a long line of adventurers. His grandparents were among the first settlers of Corenwald’s Eastern Frontier. His father had been one of the kingdom’s greatest warriors. Aidan, on the other hand, lives the quiet, comfortable life of a nobleman’s son. He never has any real adventures, and that, he believes, is the one great injustice of his otherwise happy life. All that will change the day he first hears the bark of the bog owl and meets Dobro Turtlebane. Dobro is one of the feechiefolk—a tribe of half-civilized swamp dwellers who fight too much, laugh too loud, cry too easily, and smell just terrible. But another meeting on that remarkable day may change Aidan’s life even more profoundly. Bayard the Truthspeaker arrives with a startling pronouncement: Aidan Errolson will grow to be the Wilderking—the long-prophesied wild man who will come out of Corenwald’s forests and swamps to lead the kingdom back to its former glory. There’s just one question: Is Bayard the Truthspeaker a prophet or a madman? This initial installment in The Wilderking Trilogy is sure to capture the hearts of young and old, boys and girls alike. Written in the same fashion as The Lord of the Rings or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Bark of the Bog Owl, as the author says, will help “direct a God-fearing boy’s sense of adventure and warrior spirit – his God-given wildness.” (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Aidan Errolson
~ Dobro Turtlebane
~ Arliss

Review: I'd seen this book floating around in a few of my favorite reading circles, and with such a strange title it picked up my interest. However, it was one of those books that seemed to be too difficult to procure right away, so I pushed it off as a "I-want-to-read-it-but-perhaps-later-if-I-find-a-copy-somewhere" type of book. I never expected to read it until years in the future.

Ha. I found it a few months ago at Goodwill. Gorgeous, like-brand-new copy. Just waiting to be read. Don't you just love Goodwills? And boy howdy, was this a good book!

First off, Aidan is your typical gotta-love-him-from-the-start hero. His opening letter of introduction to King Darrow immediately placed him on my favorite characters list -- and that was only on the first page of the book! And it only got better after that! He's funny, and smart, and reckless at times, and his adventures are so much fun to follow!

This story is based off of the Biblical account of David and Goliath, yet there's a lot more added in with Aidan's adventures with the feechiefolk, miners, alligators, and thunder powder. Yes, we all know the traditional tale of David and Goliath, but Jonathan Rogers did a superb job at taking the greatest tale of a little hero and twisting it so that the Biblical account is still very clear, yet at the same time, still feels incredibly fresh. Two thumbs up there in my opinion.

I loved the subplot that wove around the feechiefolk. They're a swamp people who really don't have much to do with the political affairs of the "civilizers." Even when war threatens the kingdom, they don't have much to do with the civilizers' war. And yet, when Aidan finds himself getting mixed in with them, and becoming great friends with one of their own, crazy things are bound to happen. And life in Corewald will never be the same again. I can promise you that. The rollicking tales of Aidan's adventures will keep you equally in suspense and in stitches. 

I also loved the miners. Plot twist. I did not see all of their importance coming. And it was amazing. Arliss definitely has that miner's head. If you want to understand that inside joke, go read the book.

If I were to complain about anything, it'd be just a little poke here at Jonathan Roger's style. The book is written in a very easy-to-read style, and I often got lost watching the movie playing inside my head, but there are a few parts that get a little bogged (no pun intended) down with details, and the story kinda stalls. A few awkward paragraphs and sentences, but they're easily forgivable, given the rest of the amazing novel.

Okay, I'm done gushing. Maybe. I have to go get my hands on the second book ASAP.

Advisory: Some fantasy violence/fighting scenes. True to the David and Goliath story, *spoiler alert* our Goliath here does die in the same way as the historic Goliath. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars