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The Owl Service School & Library Binding – Aug 1 1999


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • School & Library Binding: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Rebound by Sagebrush (August 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613221443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613221443
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 12.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 263 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,806,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) on Dec 12 2001
Format: Paperback
_The Owl Service_ is a book that has to be read twice to be understood--and a familiarity with the myth of Blodeuwedd doesn't hurt either. This novel takes place in the selfsame valley where Blodeuwedd, Lleu, and Gronw played out their tragic love-triangle in times long past, and the spirit of the conflict still haunts the valley. Every generation, the situation crops up again, with different people playing the parts, but always ending badly.
One summer, it is three teenagers who enact the old story; a young girl and her stepbrother, visiting from the city, and a local boy. At first read, it isn't clear what Alison, Roger, and Gwyn have to do with the legend of Blodeuwedd, since their situation is different on the surface. If I'd only read the book once, I might give it two and a half stars. But upon re-reading, the resonances became more apparent, and I began to see the points in the story that correspond to events in the legend.
I want to give it three and a half stars, but Amazon won't let me do that, and my grade school teachers drummed it into my head that something-and-a-half rounds up to the next whole number. *wink* So, four stars. I would have liked it better if the characters had been fleshed out more before the legend started controlling their lives; the spirit of the old conflict started turning them into unsympathetic jerks before I had a chance to develop a liking for the people they really were. Still, a decent piece of myth-based fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin on Dec 14 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well written and unusual fantasy novel. In some respects, it is a horror novel with the traditional theme of an ancient curse working out its consequences in the modern world. Based on a story from the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths, The Owl Service is set in a small Welsh valley in the contemporary world (or least contemporary when the book was published). The three principal characters, a teenage girl and two teenage boys, seemed doomed to repeat the tragic consequences of a love triangle described in the Mabinogion. Various aspects of the story involve combining mythological events with the actual geography of the valley, a method that Garner uses very well and used well in other books. The quality of writing is very good and Garner mixes the mythological aspects of the story with contemporary elements, in this case featuring the class consciousness of British life. As commented by other reviewers, this is not a book for younger children. Best enjoyed by adults and older, more intelligent teenagers.
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on June 17 2002
Format: Paperback
One thing that could never be said about "Owl Service" is that it is like every other fantasy book. Because it's not. Alan Garner skillfully weaves Welsh mythology with a suspenseful, almost horrifying story about ancient power reaching to the modern day.

Something is scratching through Alison's ceiling, when she is sick with a stomachache. She and the cook's son Gwyn venture up into the loft, and there find a heap of strangely patterned plates. At first glance, the pattern appears to be an abstract floral; upon closer examination, Alison finds that when she traces around the pattern on pieces of paper, that they form tiny paper owls. Alison's brother Roger is inclined to be dismissive, but Gwyn isn't so sure.

For some reason, discovery sends Gwyn's mother into a near-crazed frenzy, and attracts the attention of the old handyman, Huw. Huw tells Gwyn a tragic old story -- one that is connected to Alison's strange behavior. When their mothers forbid them to speak to one another, Huw reveals his true nature. To save Alison from repeating the cycle, Gwyn learns that he must discover things about his own past...

Like the previous two children's books by Alan Garner, this is about modern-day children swept up in mythical forces, but while the creatures and people of "Weirdstone" and "Moon" were solid and easily-defined, here everything is misted and ghostly. So much so that the climax, while exquisitely written, is very hard to decipher, and which will leave readers feeling deeply unsatisfied. Just what happened?

Garner takes a relatively obscure myth and spins up a strange tale around it. The writing matches that.
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Format: Paperback
Definitely NOT a book for most children. I read THE OWL SERVICE many years ago in part because I had enjoyed Garner's earlier books so much. I remember having nightmares afterwards, and steered clear of it subsequently. At the same time, the book stuck with me, and when I saw it in a used book shop a while ago I picked it up and re-read it. Second time through it is captivating, haunting, disturbing, and yes, very very strange. perhaps the perfect book to curl up with on a rainy autumn afternoon and find oneself going somewhere where the real and the possible somehow get turned inside out and we end... I am not sure where. I'd be reluctant to give this to other than a very mature child, but if you have one, he or she may well be entranced. I know I am.
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By A Customer on Sept. 30 2001
Format: Paperback
Oh Boy! If you want to read a slow book...this monster is for you! This book had an air of mystery around it that I thouroughly enjoy, but the sad fact is that the author didn't take the plot anywhere! The story begins to get interesting when noises come from the attic and the three main characters find a box of plates, but then, as quickly as the suspense came, it died. It was a struggle for me to read because in order for a book to be mildly interesting it has to keep going, am I right? I'm sorry, but this didn't cut it....
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