30 review for Owl Be Home For Christmas

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This is a really cute holiday story, and is the only story set in 2020 that I have been able to bring myself to read this year. (It does reference the pandemic; no story this definitively about this year could avoid that. But the focus is on the owl and the tree, and not the virus.) I think my enjoyment of the story was partly because I've seen pictures of Rocky and had no problem imagining her as I read. But also, it's a fun story, and—though Duane says "forget the heartwarming"—you know going This is a really cute holiday story, and is the only story set in 2020 that I have been able to bring myself to read this year. (It does reference the pandemic; no story this definitively about this year could avoid that. But the focus is on the owl and the tree, and not the virus.) I think my enjoyment of the story was partly because I've seen pictures of Rocky and had no problem imagining her as I read. But also, it's a fun story, and—though Duane says "forget the heartwarming"—you know going in that it will have a happy ending. I think it helps if you are familiar with the Young Wizards universe before reading this story, but you don't have to be up-to-date on the main novels. (I haven't read all of them yet, and it's been a long time since I've read any of the main series, so I have forgotten most of the events in it. That didn't hinder my enjoyment of this story.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Diane Duane has been writing a lot of shorter works set in the Young Wizards universe lately, everything from micro-fic to novellas. She's already done one (or maybe one and a half) Christmas pieces, so you might think that Owl Be Home For Christmas is redundant. You'd be absolutely wrong. It's a delightful little story that is, in many ways, the opposite of How Lovely Are They Branches. The Young Wizards series is very much a serial story - each book builds on the last, which means that later en Diane Duane has been writing a lot of shorter works set in the Young Wizards universe lately, everything from micro-fic to novellas. She's already done one (or maybe one and a half) Christmas pieces, so you might think that Owl Be Home For Christmas is redundant. You'd be absolutely wrong. It's a delightful little story that is, in many ways, the opposite of How Lovely Are They Branches. The Young Wizards series is very much a serial story - each book builds on the last, which means that later entries tend to be rather inaccessible to new readers. HLATB is wonderful, but it's for experienced fans. Owl Be Home For Christmas, on the other hand, is mostly focused on a new character who is experiencing the YW world for the first time, which makes it an excellent jumping-on point for new readers. OBHFC is inspired by the true story of Rocky, the owl who was found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It asks a simple question - what if Rocky liked her tree? What if she didn't want to leave it? What if she wanted it back? And what if she had a way to get it? OBHFC isn't really a Christmas story - it's a story about home, and about justice. Just because OBHFC is good for new readers, established YW fans have nothing to worry about. Even though the portions with the major characters from the series are fairly short, this is a significant and fascinating entry in the YW-verse for a number of reasons. First and foremost, OBHFC offers a glimpse at Kit and Nita as adults. The YW series originally used a sliding timeline - each book was set a few weeks or months after the previous one, but also at the time that it was written. This naturally led to some anomalies - for instance, Dairine got a state of the art Apple IIc just a year before the iPod came out. Obviously, this was untenable, so Duane eventually rewrote the earlier books and set the entire series firmly around 2010. But because the Rockefeller Center owl thing happened in 2020, that means we actually get to see what Nita and Kit are like all grown-up! I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that while I didn't see their fates coming, they are satisfying. There's another gem for fans here : as far as I can tell, OBHFC is the first time that Tom and Carl are canonically depicted as being in a couple, rather than just friends who live together. There's a long backstory there, but the simple version is this - Tom and Carl were closely based on an actual couple, but because the real Tom and Carl were actually named Tom and Carl, and they weren't fully out of the closet in every part of their lives, Duane couldn't out the fictional Tom and Carl. Do I have any quibbles or complaints? Really just one, and it's not even about this story. OBHFC references a minor tweak, from an earlier book, to the YW-verse's metaphysics that I didn't really care for. On the whole, it's a great story that's perfect for both new & long-time fans. It's also an impressive achievement, given how quickly it was written, edited, and published. Once again, my hat is off to you, Diane.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris Presta-Valachovic

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First, a good-sized chunk of the proceeds from this book are being donated to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, who helped the real-life Owl, Rocky, found in the 2020 Rockefeller Tree. So, yes, Duane based this Young Wizards' tale off of Rocky, adding in her own wonderful twist that we can only wish had been what actually happened. We follow the little Saw-whet owl from birth through growing up, learning life's painful lessons, and finally finding her true home, an ancient evergreen tree which we First, a good-sized chunk of the proceeds from this book are being donated to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, who helped the real-life Owl, Rocky, found in the 2020 Rockefeller Tree. So, yes, Duane based this Young Wizards' tale off of Rocky, adding in her own wonderful twist that we can only wish had been what actually happened. We follow the little Saw-whet owl from birth through growing up, learning life's painful lessons, and finally finding her true home, an ancient evergreen tree which welcomes her as much as she welcomes it. It's *her* home. When humans come along & cut the Tree down for use in NYC's annual Christmas Tree extravaganza, the little owl is an unfortunate, unwitting victim. She's trapped in the tied-up branches for days before she's finally discovered, rescued, rehabilitated & cared for until she's well again, then released back onto the wilds. Yet during her ordeal, a Voice offers her a choice, and the Owl makes her Promise...an owl-version of the Wizard's Oath. Yet her ordeal becomes The Ordeal, the dangerous test that all new Wizards go through. The Owl (unnamed in the story. A nice touch) wants her Tree back...and The Lone Power flings his challenge at her -- Come and get it then -- then accosts her as she's doing just that. Right now, with US events being as they are in real life, the little Owl's answer, defiance, and utter takedown of the Lone Power (with the help of hundreds/thousands of her fellow owls) are extremely satisfying. Allegory? Oh HELL yeah. The little owl only defeats the Lone Power (Death/Entropy/Evil) with the help of many, many other owls, acting in unison -- the owls aren't always allies. They are sometimes predators of each other, & undoubtedly will be again when the immediate task is finished. But they lay that aside to defeat the greater threat. So the little owl recovers Her Tree, to the shock of thousands of humans watching the Rockefeller show via TV and live-streams. A wonderful, charming story that'll have you grinning like a loon in sheer joy... And that's when the story shifts to the human Wizards & how they deal with the "problem". That's when the story collapses, unfortunately. The story could easily have ended with the little owl & her Tree back in the forest; the entire human-Wizard section & their "solution" feels pasted-on as an after-thought. It could easily have been cut out. Gods only know that humans need a swift kick in their sense of "reality" -- sometimes the Young Wizard series gets annoying with its insistence on keeping Earth's humans behind a baby gate for extremely spurious reasons. Considering we've dealt/are dealing with the massive horrors of WWII, Chernobyl, 9/11, COVID19, etc etc etc etc ETC, the reasoning behind keeping secrets like Wizardry & ET life wears very thin as the series goes on. There'll always be idiots who refuse to accept new/different stuff....but that goes for everything Humans have encountered & learned. Even inside the series, there's many people who've uncovered the "secret" and are fine with it. I love the YW books, but can we please have the Wizards stop baby-gating Earth's humans & let us actually deal with shit & grow up? So the human section of the tale opens with Tom & Carl commenting on how social media is blowing up over the broadcast of thousands of owls taking a Tree back. Bluntly, it only makes it very, very plain how nonsensical Wizardry's baby-gate on Earth's humans is: they're focused on "oh no, everyone's noticed! Everyone saw that! Some Fox News idiot is making stupid statements again!"...and not "holy shit, we gotta protect that owl before human idiots invade the forests with guns & get a lot of innocents hurt". I wish I was joking. That's how the entire section comes across: protect the humans from seeing something outside their tiny comfort zone. I'm not sure what the Wizards' metric is for determining whether Earth's humans are "mature", but we're sure as hell never going to reach it if Mommy & Daddy keep us locked in our rooms. Yes, I'm annoyed. What starts as a great tale about the little owl & her Wizardry Ordeal devolves into "protect the humans from anything that challenges their egocentric worldview". The human section gets even more annoying for a personal bugaboo of mine: writers,please stop explaining all the jargony details of whatever techie/magic solution is needed to fix a techie/magic problem. To quote John Campbell, "grant the gadgets & get on with the story!" Aka: "oh noes, the Techie/Magic Thingamajig is broken! We gotta do Imaginary Jargon Nonsense to fix it!". As SF/F readers, we know that the tech/magic is arbitrary fiction, just as we also know that the jargon to fix it is likewise arbitrary & pulled out of the writer's ass. Giving us a crap-ton of jargon-y jargon as a solution is mind-numbingly boring & very transparently fake. Mind, it was nice seeing the grown-up versions of Kit & Nita, and learning that Carmela is involved in interplanetary diplomacy (which is another inadvertent, in-story reason for why the enforced baby-gate makes no sense). It was a bit jarring to find out that "Games Wizards Play" is given the definitive date of 2011...which means it takes place ten years after the events of "Wizard's Holiday", where Nita's father & Tom Swale are overheard discussing 9/11 & why wizards couldn't stop it. But seeing old friends also brings up other issues & spoils ongoing arcs inside the main books: Kit & Nita are apparently no longer together & Nita is an assistant to Irina (Earth's Planetary), Dairine is helping Camilla with the interplanetary chocolate thing. So....we know they'll survive whatever happens post-"Games". Worse, there's an implied plot in "Games" where Nita may start working with/for the Lone Power: again, all's well here, in this 2020 tale. Tl;dr: great story, worth the buy & read, just skip the "human" chapter & enjoy the tale of the tiny Owl rescuing her Tree.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bentgaidin

    'Owl Be Home For Christmas' is a cute story in the Young Wizards universe, based on the owl found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree this year. We get to see this little owl do magic, defy evil, and save their home, while the human wizards scramble to keep everything from getting _too_ weird in an already trying year; fans of the series will also enjoy a bit of domestic life with Tom and Carl, as well as a look at the Nita and Kit of the future. Overall, a fun afternoon's read when you nee 'Owl Be Home For Christmas' is a cute story in the Young Wizards universe, based on the owl found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree this year. We get to see this little owl do magic, defy evil, and save their home, while the human wizards scramble to keep everything from getting _too_ weird in an already trying year; fans of the series will also enjoy a bit of domestic life with Tom and Carl, as well as a look at the Nita and Kit of the future. Overall, a fun afternoon's read when you need a bit of magic and cheer. Also, the story's available directly from the author, with part of the sales being donated to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center that did the rehabilitation for the owl, so it's for a good cause. :)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    A cute story, definitely made me wonder how far DD will delve into Nita and Kit’s adult lives in this series (ie this is still a YA series and I don’t mean it That Way, get your heads out of the gutter. More like what they grow up to be and such). As it’s been for the past 20 years (oh god I’m old) I’ll eagerly await DD’s next writing in the YW universe!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Cute but weird. I was dying for more details on Nita and Kit, but I see why she wouldn't want to box herself in too much with this. Cute but weird. I was dying for more details on Nita and Kit, but I see why she wouldn't want to box herself in too much with this.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    At one point, I was simultaneously grinning with delight and grumbling, because 2020 versions of characters we know and love appear...and I want to know all the in-between stuff from the last book to now! As with any YW story, you find yourself wanting to be there, enacting the wizardry with the characters you love. And the owl - starting with her was a nice change of pace, and I like the form wizardry takes around her. Short, but worth it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Teresa Carrigan

    Interesting novella in The Young Wizards series. For most of the first half the POV is an owl. I recognized five named, speaking characters from the main books in the series. Fans of the series will enjoy this one. If you are new to the series but like fantasy you are likely to enjoy it as well. Recommended. I’ll be rereading this one in a year or two.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    In which we learn the true story of Rocky, the owl rescued from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Ms. Duane wrote this novella shortly after Rocky was rescued and released it as an ebook after the bird's release. The story is written in her Young Wizards universe which I'm not familiar with, but I didn't need to know anything about that series to enjoy her clever and entertaining fantasy tale. In which we learn the true story of Rocky, the owl rescued from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Ms. Duane wrote this novella shortly after Rocky was rescued and released it as an ebook after the bird's release. The story is written in her Young Wizards universe which I'm not familiar with, but I didn't need to know anything about that series to enjoy her clever and entertaining fantasy tale.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  11. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ay

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Wagner

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Palmer

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin Channell

  17. 5 out of 5

    Boomer

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  19. 4 out of 5

    M. Todd Webster

  20. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Harriet Lois Culver

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth Waters

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom Denker

  24. 4 out of 5

    AB

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Fuller Becker

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vmaganti

  30. 4 out of 5

    Beth

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