The Owl Tribe: Book 1
Creator: Lukasz Wnuczek
Editor: Luke Cartwright
A review by Josh Rose
The Owl Tribe is about a terrible killer called Awaheya ( which means “death” in the Mohawk language,) that is attacking and destroying several tribes on the east coast of Canada. After investigating a site that appeared to be destroyed by Awaheya, Viho of the Onego Tribe surmises that Awaheya might be from the land of the Norse. They go to seek out Arosen, a Norse man who was raised by the Mesquoi tribe, to help defeat this creature.
The story does involve some battles between the Indigenous tribes and the Norsemen, but for the most part they are only told in flashbacks. I know the synopsis sounds like there’s a white savior trope happening. However, in actuality, Arosen is just a man with his own backstory and does very little in stopping Awaheya. The Owl Tribe is not much of an action-adventure story, as it is a character-driven mystery. Who or what is Awaheya?
If you aren’t aware of this by now, I am a bit of a history buff. So when I heard about a story featuring Vikings and indigenous tribes, I knew I had to read it. Lukasz Wnuczek has done a lot of research on the Vikings’ expedition to North America, and just as much on the cultures of the various tribes. Each of the names, whether Norse or Indigenous, are deliberately chosen for their translation.
The art in The Owl Tribe is absolutely beautiful and looks like it’s been painted. In addition to a painting-like style, the characters are very expressive and show a wide range of emotions. The character designs for Saashim, Shepard of the Forest, and Kee-wakw, his half-human/animal companion, are particularly impressive. Wnuczek did a lot of equipment studies in addition to his research, and this lends the art a high level of realism.
That being said, I have two issues with this book. The first is that some of the dialogue bubbles could have been better placed for clarity in some instances. It isn’t poorly done, but it isn’t great either. The second problem is the dialogue one of the characters has when he is caught lying. It feels forced and completely unnatural for him. It is one of those things that could have been left out, and it would not have affected the story.
Buy it! The Owl Tribe is a fun story involving both Norse and indigenous elements: a mysterious creature responsible for the deaths of whole tribes, Viking settlements, and a mythological being from Algonquin mythology. I look forward to the release of Book 2. I recommend this series to people who are fans of Vikings, Indigenous cultures, and/or historical fiction.