This is the sequel to The Story of Owen, one of my favorites this year. And I’m going to see if I can write a 10-minute review in the interests of catching up with my back reviews.
Warning: this will contain spoilers. If you haven’t yet read The Story of Owen and don’t want to be spoiled, go do that before reading this.
Prairie Fire by E. K. Johnston. Carolrhoda Lab, 2015.
Siobhan McQuaid, our heroine from the last book, is back, graduated from high school. She and Owen Thorskard have officially joined the Oil Watch, where all dragon slayers are required to serve before going off to any other careers. Siobhan herself is an anomaly, serving as a bard when it’s been so long since there have been bards that no one knows anymore what a bard should do. They’re not about to let her off on any of the physical military requirements, either, even though her hands are still barely functional after being so badly burned at the end of the first book. And it’s clear that the military has not forgiven them for their actions – Owen’s girlfriend Courtney is assigned far away in an actually active zone, while Siobhan and Owen are assigned to the relatively boring and inglorious prairies. There they meet other dragon slayer team leaders, from America and Japan, and learn the story of Lieutenant Porter, who took unforgiveable actions to save the people from the largest and most deadly of all dragons, the Chinook. They also meet Peter, a First Nations member on base, who teaches them about their dragon-fighting traditions and music.
This is a wonderful continuation of the story. Also devastating. I think I’m still angry with Johnston, because of being so tied up with the characters. You should go read it.