Book Review: The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Roland L. Smith

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away: Smith, Ronald L.: 9781328841605:  Amazon.com: Books

Title: The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away

Author: Roland L. Smith

Genre: Middle Grade Sci-Fi

Number of Pages: 272

Rating: B-

Recommended?: Yes


Twelve-year-old Simon lives with his parents on a military base and is completely obsessed with aliens, U.F.O’s, and similar phenomena. When he’s on a camping trip, he blacks out and wakes up later with what he thinks is an implant in his stomach. Unsurprisingly, neither of his parents believe him when he says he was abducted by aliens and he goes to increasingly intense lengths to prove his fears aren’t simply the product of a unstable kid with an overactive imagination.

This book started out great. I connected with Simon’s character, a sensitive and nerdy misfit who’s too smart for his own good, and I liked how a novel he was writing was interspersed with the story. His story was an earnest but cheesy attempt at a ‘chosen one’ fantasy novel and it added some humor and diversity to the narrative. It didn’t feel necessary (in fact, there were multiple sections of the book that felt like filler) but I did enjoy it.

This easily could have gotten a much higher rating if it hadn’t been for the last chapter, which was abrupt and completely tonally inconsistent with the rest of the story. It felt like the author didn’t know how to end things in a satisfying way and just threw something together last minute. I was mostly interested in this book because of it’s title (which is great) and middle grade science fiction isn’t something I usually read; it had a lot of potential but Simon’s great characterization seemed to conflict with uneven storytelling.

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