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Updated: April 25, 2011 15:49 IST

Get set for an owlish adventure

R. KRITHIKA
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Life at the Academy of Owls is not fun, as Soren finds out. So what can he do about it? An exciting read with some rather tense moments.

The first book in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series — The Capture — introduces you to Soren, a young barn owl. Soren's flight feathers have not yet grown when he falls out of his nest and is taken away to the Saint Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. Now Soren is pretty sure he's not an orphan but can he find anyone to listen to him?

Life at the Academy is tough. The young owls are being brainwashed into being mindless slaves. They are not allowed to question anything; asking questions can result in a Laughing Ceremony, which is no laughing matter. The recalcitrant owl's feathers are ripped off. Then there are the sleep marches where the young owls are forced to sleep at night while marching around a box canyon with their heads turned to the moon.

Soren, of course, is not going to submit quietly to all this. He makes friends with Gylfie, an elf owl, and the two began to recruit allies to help them. Soren also tells them stories of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole, the owls who are renowned for their great deeds, which he has heard from his parents. The only way out for them is to fly. And that's something they have to learn on their own.

While you get involved in the story of Soren and Gylfie, you also pick up quite a bit of information about owls and their lives. All the different kinds of owls and their special features pop up in the book. Also the fast pace and easy-to-read language keeps you riveted. There are 15 books in this series and The Capture is just the first.

The recent Guardians of Ga'Hoole movie was based on the first three books so it did leave out a lot of details. If you've seen the movie, go ahead and grab a copy of the books. Those who haven't seen the movie should still grab their copies. Enter a wonderful world of owls and learn about courage, overcoming difficulties, about family and growing up.

GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE: The Capture; Kathryn Lasky, Scholastic, Rs. 150.

Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

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