The Owl Service - Alan Garner

by , Monday October 10, 2016
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 The Owl Service - Alan Garner

The Owl Service may have been great once, but today it's strange and old-fashioned.

I've had The Owl Service on my bookshelf for a long time. My writers' group told me to read it years ago. This is no exaggeration. I think it's been on my shelf for almost four years. So on a bookless free Saturday, I decided to pick it up.


The first issue I had with this book was its age. I rarely read books that are over ten years old, and this one's almost 50 years old. I didn't think this would matter, but even in the first chapter it felt very strange as it's so old-fashioned and dated. The dialogue especially suffered from this. I'm fairly certain children don't speak this way to one another in the 21st Century. By the end of chapter one, I wondered what I'd got myself in for as I struggled onwards.


The characters were bi-polar a lot of the time. One minute they'd be happy chatting to each other, and then they'd be arguing or fighting and hating each other. A lot of the time none of the characters liked each other at all, and I found it very strange. I could hardly keep up with their emotions they changed so fast. I also didn't feel like I got to know them very well. I wanted to know their fears and hopes and dreams, and I felt I only got a little snippet of that.


As for the plot, I'm not sure what was going on a lot of the time. I followed it, sure, but nothing seemed to happen.


It might be because this is aimed at younger readers than I'm used to, but this felt more like a short story than a novel. It seemed to end quickly, and I was left wondering what I was supposed to have taken away.


I'm not sure if I totally followed it. It's very bizarre and strange. I put it down thinking, what did I just read? I wasn't really sure what to think. I didn't particularly enjoy it or know what to say.


Just a very, very bizarre, old-fashioned book.


The Owl Service may have been great once, but today it's strange and old-fashioned.


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