Title: Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Siege.
Author: Kathryn Lasky.
Genre: Fiction, YA, children's lit, animals, adventure.
Publication Date: 2004.
Summary: Soren's beloved mentor, Ezylryb, is finally back at the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. But all is not well. There's a war between good and evil in the owl kingdom. On one side is a group led by Soren's fearsome brother, Kludd, who wears a terrifying metal mask to cover his battle-scarred face. On the other side are the owls of the Great Ga'Hoole Tree, who must fight to protect their legendary tree from Kludd's attacks.
My rating: 8/10.
♥ "It is now time of this night, the twentieth night in the season that we owls of Ga'Hoole call white rain. A few hours ago, I received our monarchs' commission, along with the approval and the wish and the will of our parliament, to form a war cabinet. I must, with great dismay and loathing, announce that our attempts to make peace with these baleful and most brutal owls who call themselves the Pure Ones have all been in vain. These owls are determined to lay siege to our great tree and seize our island more dear.
"So now we are at war. We will persevere at war. We will make war to the very best of our ability. They are nothing but a seething mass of criminals. On our side there is quality and there is a cause that sparks the spirit and rouses the gizzard. For we fight for a good cause - the cause of compassion, of freedom, of the belief that no one owl is better than another due to birth, breed, or kind of feather.
"Now the mists and storms of the winterlies wrap our island. The so-called Pure Ones, although their numbers are great, fear flying in such weather. Bit we owls of Ga'Hoole fear no such whimsies of weather. Have we not flown through worse?"
There was a loud cheer from the weather and colliering chaws. "This is a solemn moment in our tree's history, but one supported by determination and hope. I would be foolish to say that the task ahead of us is not of a most grievous kind. There will be struggle. but let us not despair, for we are owls of valor, Guardians of Ga'Hoole - every one of us, young or old, Barn Owl or Pygmy, Burrowing Owl or Boreal, Short-eared or Long-eared, Great Gray or Elf. It is in the very diversity of our breeds, the rainbow of our colors, the multiplicity of our shapes, that we find richness. We shall never submit to such a terrible and lamentable notion as that of owl purity or owl superiority. And in service to defeating such an evil and ruinous idea, we shall wage war against this monstrous tyranny that threatens all owl kingdoms. We shall wage war over sea and on the land with all the strength that Glaux gives us. Our aim is victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror. Victory, however long and hard the war may be. For without victory, there will be no survival for Ga'Hoole, the great tree, and all we have stood for; no survival for the best of the urges and impulses of owlkind, those impulses for life, for honor, and for freedom. Come then, let us go forward together to preserve owlkind."
♥ Soren regarded his chaw. They were scared. He was scared. And fear could be as awful as any disease, as terrible as the fever he had just survived. It could spread. It could rage. He must do something to stop it.
"We are the Chaw of Chaws. Do you forget that?" Soren asked. "We have already battled Metal Beak once. We have flown into the heart of tyranny in the St. Aegolius Canyons and flown out again. You heard Twilight say the Pure Ones are afraid to fly. We must not be afraid. You are noble birds. Never has it been more true that we seven, this Chaw of Chaws, are Guardians of Ga'Hoole. Out island stands in danger. We must go forth to warn and protect our island and our great tree with every bit of strength we have. We must not hesitate, for the battle will soon come to the shores of our island. So set your wings and point your beaks to slice the raging winterlies of Hoolemere. Bend your gizzards to the task. Let us fly, mates. Let us fly!"
♥ "Her Majesty Barran spoke of the hideous fury of war that brought down our beloved soldier Strix Struma. She died with her claws on. You have heard Barran refer to Strix Struma as her sister, and I am glad she did this. For we have just been fighting a war that was instigated by the vile notion that declares that some breeds of owls are better than others, are more pure. Not one of us shall ever again say the word 'pure' or 'purity' without thinking of the bloodshed these words have caused.
"We know that one breed or species of owl is not better or more pure than another. We are all of us sisters and brothers in owlkind. I mean to turn that word around and speak of the pureness of spirit of our dear friend, our fierce warrior Strix Struma, who died protecting those very values.
"Last night an owl perished, but on this night, a new constellation rises. Fly out now, young'uns, and find her to the stars that she so loved."
♥ "I know," Soren said.
Otulissa blinked. "How do you know?"
"I dreamed it."
"Then you have what they call the starsight," she said. "You dream about things and sometimes they happen. I've read about it. The stars, for you, are like little holes in the cloth of a dream."