Soaring to New Heights with “The Summer King”


Looking for something that will bring your imagination to new heights? Try “Song of the Summer King,” by Jess E. Owen.

Imagine a world with animals. Not just the ones we know of and see in the zoo such as lions, but creatures of legend such as griffins as if they existed together for years. Owen opens up our eyes to such a world and lets these creatures share the islands that she envisioned. However, not all are willing to keep the peace of balance.

Jess Owen’s idea for the Summer King came from drawings she made as a 13-year-old of a griffin and a wolf fighting.

“It’s funny,” said Owen. “I’ve always considered myself a writer, and written various stories that I didn’t intend to publish. While I was in school I wrote, but I studied theater. I worked for 10 years in the theater industry deciding to focus on writing. The idea for the Summer King came to me during a slow work day.”

Aside from simply being an enjoyable read, “Song of the Summer King” touches on ethical concepts that we all seem to know, but keep trying to figure out. Among them are brotherhood, honor and consideration of the other.

Now some of you might be skeptical as to why I would even suggest a book written based on mythical creatures and animals. But, if you like works like “The Lord of the Rings,” or “The Lion King,” I can’t see how this would disappoint.

Owen has always been a fan of fiction featuring animals, which encouraged her to write this series.

“I loved animal fiction growing up,” Owen said. “Griffins combined two of my favorite creatures. I think there are lots of people like me who enjoy the same kinds of books so I went for it.”

“Song of the Summer King” is the first of four in Owen’s “Summer King Chronicles” and centers on a griffin named Shard, born in the mythical Silver Iles. At first, he is very supportive of the griffin known as the Red King, but he later learns of his true heritage. He learns that he is among the last of a conquered pride, and discovers that he is destined to be the legendary Summer King, who is foretold to reclaim the Silver Iles and bring justice to those who were wronged during the conquering.

Shard’s adventure to find his destiny takes off in his quest to find peace, to be the griffin he is expected to be and to restore what rightfully belongs to him and his kind.

Owen would like readers to give the books a chance.

“If they think ‘talking animal’ books are just for kids, or if they don’t like fantasy they may find themselves surprised. There’s a deep tradition of metaphor in fantasy,” Owen said. “I just want the books to be beautiful adventures. I hope people take something away from the stories, even if I didn’t set out to have a message in them. It’s a stressful time in our world right now, and I encourage people to escape for awhile in books and come back again.”

Don’t just take my word that this is a good book, discover Shard and his world for yourself. You may find your imagination levels soaring to new heights on eagle’s wings, or in this case, griffin’s wings.