Author: Carmen Capuano
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Upfront Publishing
Genre: Fantasy / Dystopian / Teen
Series: The Owners, Volume 1
Best Read in Order: Yes
Purchase Now: Amazon
About the Book:
Loni is terrified. Her very, very worst fears have come to Life. Her Eyon Hatchling, her “Little” is about to be taken from her. Ok, perhaps not actually taken away…but once he is connected to his work machine, Loni knows exactly what will happen to him. He will be gone. Changed. Different. And she can’t let that happen.
Not now, not EVER!
Not that Little is prepared to let that happen either! Different to other Eyons, he loves his Pet Human, Loni, with every feather on his body. And if that means leaving his egg-mother and his home and all he has ever known behind, then that is exactly what he will have to do. And if it means protecting Loni from the brutal never-ending wars, which rage in the distant villages of Humans, well then, he will do that too.
Far across the land, San knows that things aren’t quite as they ought to be. Comfortable and secure as his life as a Human Pet is, he is convinced that there is something else, some truth that he doesn’t yet know… something… darker.
And he isn’t alone in thinking that either. Only a chance meeting with another Pet, sets him thinking that perhaps Humans had some other history, that they were not always Pets, kept in comfort but denied freedom of will. And if Humans had a different history to what was communally believed, could they also have a different destiny?
When the dreaded appearance of a work machine forces the 14 year old Human, Loni and her Eyon Owner, Little, to leave their home, they have no idea that far away, someone else, haunted by nightmares and enthralled by the mystery of an old medallion, has simultaneously been compelled to embark on a quest, which will inexorably draw all three together and thrust them into a world of danger where nothing is quite as it seems
Fast paced and gripping, while vastly divergent from my normal fare, this story held my interest and kept me reading. The ambitious storyline tackled world-building and characters with equal success, providing references that were easy to relate to even as the plot seeks to carry you to places unknown.
For a debut novel, this book provided several high points: Capuano is a good storyteller with the ability to present her characters in a manner that instantly provides empathy or scorn. I’m still undecided if the alien language used, and depicted phonetically worked for me or simply made those passages more difficult to read. While it was cleverly presented, I’m not a huge fan, and much of my understanding of conversations was directly derived from the other context of the story.
There were a few moments where the underlying moral dilemmas presented by the action felt a bit heavy-handed, but the scope for further thought about the underlying question of what it means to be human, or have humanity are threaded into the tapestry of the plot, providing plenty of options for questions without the author’s overreach to provide simple one-dimensional answers. To her credit, Capuano manages to bring questions that young and old have pondered for ages, and provide enough information that everyone will draw their own conclusions in the many shades of grey within a moral choice.
This is a really good start to a series: enjoyable because of the dimensional layering of subtext and lack of reliance on more traditional fantasy / sci-fi tropes.
I received an eBook from the author for purpose of honest review for inclusion in children read week at I am Indeed. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
Carmen Capuano was born in 1966, in Govan, Glasgow and came to England at the age of eighteen. A full and varied working life saw her move from London to Birmingham and finally to the small Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove.
Interested in writing from an early age, it was only when she had her own children that she found her enthusiasm for story telling had not waned in any way and was still as alive and enticing as ever.
“The Owners was a tale which demanded to be written down. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.”