The Journey — "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" Series
The Journey by Kathryn Lasky has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in the "Guardians of Ga'hoole" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Soren, a young Barn Owl, his three friends — a Great Grey Owl, an Elf Owl and a Burrowing Owl — and a blind snake named Mrs. Plithiver, but often called Mrs. P, search for the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. The owls of Ga'Hoole are rumored to do good deeds. Soren's small band of owls hopes to join this noble order and fight the evil of St. Aegolius, an "orphanage" that steals eggs and young owls and brainwashes them.
As Soren and his friends journey, they are attacked by crows, talk to a dying owl who warns them that there are greater dangers than St. Aegolius, kill a bobcat, are enchanted by the waters of the Mirror Lakes and learn to see the worth of other bird species. In the end, they work together, using their individual talents, to find the island of Ga'Hoole and the famed tree.
Soren's band chooses to live with these noble owls. They enter into training and learn about the different areas or chaws, groupings of owls that do specific jobs, such as taking care of the tree or studying weather patterns. Each owl in Soren's small band is chosen for a different chaw, and Soren struggles with the chaw he is given because of his instructor. He eventually realizes it's a good fit for him.
Throughout the story, Soren fights against his feelings of loneliness and anger over how he was pushed from his parents' nest by his brother and consequently captured and taken to St. Aegolius. He worries about his little sister, Eglantine; he doesn't know if she is dead or alive. In the end, a large group of owlets and young owls are rescued and brought back to the tree. Eglantine is among them, but all the owlets seem to be under a spell. They do not respond to anything until they hear strains of music; only then do Eglantine and the other young owls begin to recover.
The word faith is exclaimed as an encouragement to a group of owls so they will have enough faith in what they are doing to keep going when one of the owls is injured. A book with pictures showing various types of churches fascinates Soren. Barn Owls formerly lived in churches. However, he is told by one of the teachers that Barn Owls don't belong in churches, but he is given no reason. In the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, the songs sung at twilight are called "Evensong." When the young owls are rescued, one comment reflects the form of Jesus' cry on the Cross: "My Tyto, my Tyto, why hast thou forsaken us in our purity?"
Other Belief Systems
Some owls tell Soren and his friends that the Great Ga'Hoole Tree is a legend, not a true location. Glaux is the most ancient order of owls, from whom all owls are said to originate; the name is invoked frequently. Other references include how Glaux is near and has given them gifts.
At the end of the book a group of young owlets are found that only talk and sing about a world full of pure owls, the Tytos. From their words, the Ga'Hoole owls can tell that they consider the Tyto owls as being supreme over all other owls. They also seem to talk about one owl in particular, to whom righteousness belongs. This owl seems to have withdrawn from them, and the young owls plead for his return.
Soren is told that he has the ability to see and understand reality. He does this by being alert to the physical world.
Frequent exclamations of "Great Glaux" or similar phrases are said in this book. The way "Glaux" is said is similar to how the modern world takes the Lord's Name in vain. There are references to cursing and foul words, but no words are given.
Though not graphic, violent actions are mentioned. There are several references to deserts stained with blood and a brief mention of an eye being burned out and blood splattering. Cannibalism is also mentioned, but no details are given; the owls eat both raw and cooked animals.
There are references to mates preening each other and a discussion of how some owls constantly touch each other. Soren observes that his parents never did this in front of him, but he still assumes they loved each other.
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