I was hesitant when I started reading this book. Was I going to enjoy this adventure? Was it going to be like all the other books in the fantasy genre with the same basic plot? In a way, it was yes and no for the plot. The plot had a similarity to many books, but also had it's own flavor. As the king's hostage, Owen has a lot to fear. He is ripped away from his family and taken to live at the castle with a king who is often unkind and cruel. The king taunts and harasses Owen and the other child hostages at breakfast. It does not take long for Owen to make an enemy inside the castle, and we rarely hear about the other children. I rather enjoyed Owen's adventure, even if it was predictable at times. At one point, Owen meets Lady Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer. I was never so happy in my life to see a character get a nick name (even though it took Owen a while to give her one). Lady Elysabeth Victoria Mortimer appears to have mixed reviews in other comments, but there was something about her spunk that I actually enjoyed. Maybe it's the fact that she reminds me of my own childhood friend (and whom is still my best friend to this day)? This story has all the ingredients needed for a fun read. There is a pinch of magic, characters that have room to grow, hard choices with painful consequences, learning that people are not only evil or only good. The only part of this book that bothered me was Owen's maturity level. He has the body of an eight year old, with the thinking process and maturity of a grown man. I have four nephews. Two are twins at the age of eight. Eight year old boys simply do not act or think that rationally. Emotions control them more than anything at that age. They react with how they feel first often times before thinking things out. Perhaps that is simply going to be something that helps Owen in the future? We will never know unless we read the next book.