Here be dragons

18 Apr

I have often thought about writing a YA novel about growing up in Southwestern Ontario, where i grew up.

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It is predominantly farmland, tucked in between Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. there a re a few large cities, but it is mostly small towns, like the one I grew up in. New hamburg, Ontario, population 3500 in 1975, when I moved there.

It is not the most exciting of places, though, so how could an author make it interesting enough to write about it. I suppose you could focus on a small but significant moment.

Or, you could transform the whole world and add dragons!

That’s what E. K.  Johnston does in  The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim.

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The book is one part humour (let me be Canadian here) one part epic saga and an accurate depiction of what it is like to grow up where I did. The story is story set in present-day Canada, but in an alternate reality where dragons prey on humans and dragon-slayers are employed by the government and large companies. Lester B. Pearson established The Oil Watch, not the UN Peacekeepers. Queen Victoria cleared Scotland of its dragon egg hatcheries. There is some light-handed social commentary on the corporatization of the world. but it is all set in places with names I know.

The story is narrated by Siobhan McQuade, who is more interested in music than hanging out with her fellow teens until she meets Owen Thorskard on their first day of 11th grade. The story is told from Siobhan’s perspective and at times she tells the truth to the reader after she tells you how she told it to the media. 

There are lots of strong female characters and no romance to speak of.

This is one of may favorite books of 2014.

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