In this third installment of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, Soren is no longer that inexperienced young owl who didn't know his place in the world. Almost ready to become a Guardian of Ga'Hoole, his training nearly complete, Soren is confident of his skills and knowledge, yet he is far from happy. The loss of his grumpy and unpredictable teacher, Ezylryb, has left him very depressed and unable to enjoy his life and reunion with his sister.
Then, something truly bizarre and unsettling occurs. While on a training mission, Soren is visited by the scrooms, or ghosts, of his parents. They warn him of something terrible: "Metal! Beware Metal Beak!"
Soren and his friends had once witnessed the death of an owl who told them that there was something even more awful than the so-called owl orphanage that they had run away from. At the time they had found this hard to believe. Now they are beginning to realize that there is something truly evil out there, something dreadful threatening all the owls. They can also see that the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place --- there was the strange abduction of Soren's sister and the other little owls, the loss of Ezylryb, the death of the loner owl, and the warning from Soren's parents. Everything seemed to point to this unknown owl called Metal Beak. Who was he and what did he want?
Soren and friends Digger, Gylfie and Twilight set out to find the answers to these questions. They also take some new friends and companions from the Ga'Hoole tree with them. With the skills they have all learned, they hope to be able to handle whatever challenges face them on this new and frightening quest.
Once again Kathryn Lasky takes us into her fascinating world of owls. Not only do they have their own history, mythology, language and sense of humor, the owls also have their own unique way of seeing the world. For them the black of night has shades of black, tones and depths that give them the power to see the world in a distinctive way. Their gizzards do more than crush their food; they also warn and guide them, giving them a sense of the future and the past.
Lasky has given her owls a depth of personality that is fascinating and captivating. She also leaves us with enough questions unanswered that we are left hanging, wanting more.
--- Reviewed by Marya Jansen-Gruber (...)