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Children's LiteratureFantasy lovers will enjoy the action in this fourth title in the "Guardians of Ga'Hoole" series. In this novel, Soren and his friends are sent on a mission to the orphanage of St. Aggie's, the same place Soren and Gylfie had escaped from in a previous novel. The orphanage serves as a slave labor camp where kidnapped owlets are used to mine dangerous "flecks." The reason for the task is the Guardians' suspicion that members of the Pure Ones have also infiltrated St. Aggie's. They believe the Pure Ones' are attempting to discover more about how the flecks work, in order to disrupt other owls' mind and flight capabilities. The complex storyline interweaves episodes of battle and adventure with lighter moments, while highlighting the devastating effects of prejudice and censorship. Because Lasky instantly immerses the reader into a fully-realized fantasy world, new readers of the series may find the dizzying shift in vocabulary and numerous prior-plot references difficult to grasp. However, once the reader gains an understanding of the intricacies of owl life, the novel offers an enthralling science fantasy, which takes full advantage of the author's vast knowledge regarding the different species of owls. Her semi-scientific speculation on the effects of magnetism on an owl's sense of direction adds authenticity and depth to the fantasy. Other than the occasional vocabulary problem, the story is easily readable, and the fast-paced action will leave fantasy lovers clamoring for more. 2004, Scholastic Inc, Ages 8 to 12.