The Owling

This science fiction/fantasy book is the second in the "The Shadowside Trilogy" by Roger Elmer and is published by Zondervan.

The Owling is written for kids ages 13 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.

Plot Summary

In book 1 of "The Shadowside Trilogy," Oriannon (Ori) Hightower learned about the existence of a nation of people called Owlings, who are living on the opposite side of her planet. In this volume, Ori's personal mission to help the Owlings is sabotaged when a charismatic leader named Sola promises to bring peace to the planet. Sola, playing on Ori's desire for a mother-figure, pulls Ori into a media frenzy and sets the young girl up as a champion for her (Sola's) cause. Ori's fascination with Sola quickly turns when she realizes Sola has destroyed the Owlings' homes, put them into prison camps and plans to bring them to Ori's side of the planet as slaves. Ori knows she must save her Owling friends, and she calls on her former teacher, Jesmet, for aid.

Christian Beliefs

"The Shadowside Trilogy" is a biblical allegory in which Jesmet, once a teacher at Ori's school, is killed by the Assembly (representing the Pharisees) and then comes back to life to share a message of love with the planet. Jesmet promises his followers that he will bring them a special power called the Numa (representing the Holy Spirit), which He does just when they feel all hope is lost. Jesmet has the power to heal and even raise the dead. He urges Ori and his other followers to take his "song" to everyone on the planet.

Authority Roles

Jesmet returns intermittently to help his followers through difficult situations. He also sends Numa so they will know he is always with them. Sola, hungry for power, imprisons the Owlings and uses them as slaves, all the while telling the nation of Corista that she is saving the Owlings. She raves about how they were living in horrible conditions, which she has actually brought on them herself. Ori's father, an Assembly leader who appeared unyielding and harsh in book one, recognizes the threat Sola poses and begins to listen more closely to his daughter regarding the Owlings' plight.

Other Belief Systems


Profanity/Graphic Violence






Discussion Topics

If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:

  • How did Ori feel about Sola initially?
    How did Sola's flattery change Ori?
    What did Ori discover about Sola's motives?
    Have you ever been blinded to the truth?
    What kept you from thinking things through clearly?
  • What did you think when you read about the Numa?
    How is it like the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to His followers?
  • Oriannon rushes boldly into the Owling camp in an attempt to save her friends.
    When Jesmet appears to Ori and the Owlings in the prison camp, what does he ask her to do?
    How difficult is it for her to wait?
    Do you have a hard time waiting on God?
    What is the difference between doing nothing and waiting on the Lord's timing?
  • What do Ori and her friends do that go against their authorities?
    When is it OK to question or rebel against authority?

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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