The Journey by Kathryn Lasky

The Journey, by Kathryn Lasky, was published in 2003 by Scholastic. It is the sequel to The Capture.

It began as a dream. A quest for the Great Ga’Hoole Tree, a mythic place where each night an order of owls rises to perform noble deeds. There Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, and Digger hope to find inspiration to fight the evil that dwells in the owl kingdom. The journey is long and harrowing. When the friends finally arrive at the Great Ga’Hoole Tree, they will be tested in ways they never dreamed of. If they can learn from their leaders and from one another, they will soon become true Ga’Hoolian owls—honest and brave, wise and true.

Rating: 3/5

The Journey picks up right where The Capture left off: Soren, Gylfie, Twilight, and Digger on their way to the Great Ga’Hoole Tree. And, despite what the title suggests, they make it to the Tree in the first third of the book, where even more things are discovered about the world of the books and of the main plot in general. Lasky is doing her best to create a rich, complex world, but it can be confusing sometimes. How did these owls get such knowledge of science? Why do they know their Latin species names? Why do they have books? I know, I know—it’s fantasy. But this is clearly a post-human world (“the Others” is the name given to humans in this book). What happened to the humans, and how did owls rise to become the dominant bird species?

I’m probably expecting a lot more than I should from a children’s book about owls!

The society of the Great Ga’Hoole Tree is a lot like…I hesitate to say Hogwarts…let’s just say a school. It seems any owl who arrives is welcomed into the community, and they are taught various classes until the day arrives when they are picked for a special “chaw.” Soren, the main character, gets picked for weather interpretation and colliering (which basically just means “coal mining”), and reveals hidden depths of gizzard intuition (since he’s the main character and all), attracting the attention of the old Screech Owl Ezylryb.

There are lots of new characters introduced, as well as new aspects of the owl world, so The Journey is chock-full of interesting concepts and worldbuilding. The book as a whole is still mainly set-up, though there’s a mysterious “you only wish” added onto the villainy of St. Aggie’s—something apparently far worse and may be related to the babbling, stunned owlets that the Guardians discover towards the end of the book.

The Journey builds a lot more of the owl world, though not much happens to advance the plot. More questions are raised than are answered, and though the whole concept of the Ga’Hoole Tree and the system surrounding it are cool, it leads to a bit of confusion in terms of how things got that way (at least to me). In addition, you can tell things are building up to some sort of climax, but at the moment it’s unclear how or what it is. Lasky generates a lot of mystery with the “you only wish,” but it’s frustrating to not get any answers.

Recommended Age Range: 8+

Warnings: Violence

Genre: Children’s, Fantasy

You can buy this book here:

One thought on “The Journey by Kathryn Lasky

  1. Pingback: The Rescue by Kathryn Lasky | Leaf's Reviews

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