Ahoy there me mateys! Older members of me crew may remember that before I gave me heart to the sea, I had an obsession with horses. I read a myriad of pony books and so every now and again me soft spot for these types of stories leads me back to the equine world. When I discovered this young adult novel involving a strong female rider I gave it a shot. Plus this cover:
Pretty no? Unfortunately while there be enjoyment in reading this novel, there be
some many flaws as well. Let’s look on the bright side first . . .
- Horses. The main horse in this novel was Fallion. He is a special breed called an Amalanee. Loyal, loving, speedy, strong, and special. What’s not to like? And he may or may not have special powers.
- Strong female protagonist. K’Irsa is a member of a nomadic tribe of horse loving people. She can ride and shoot with the best of them. She is loyal to her family and has morals. I always like that.
- Wonderful parent. K’Irsa’s father is an encouraging, loving parent. He loves his daughter even though she doesn’t not fit in the traditional tribal roles. He facilitates her independence and pushes her to succeed.
- Lodie. This woman was a fun side character. I enjoyed her very much and wish the book would have been her story instead. Snarky, intelligent, and determined. Yup.
- Revenge. I rather enjoyed the ramifications of getting revenge in this story. Not the plot of the revenge itself but some of the ideas about what the consequences of fighting for revenge can be and what it can do to the person out to get it.
- Moon and Sun stones. I enjoyed the magic of these items. But sadly they didn’t really play a huge enough part in the novel.
The not so good . . .
- Horses. Yes I know I picked the book for the ponies. There were just not enough of them in the book. Basically the horses only matter in the beginning of the story and the very end. I wished that Fallion was central to the entire story. Also I did not buy the story of how K’Irsa got him.
- The female protagonist. She may be strong and intelligent but she doesn’t always use her brain. She can be impulsive. K’Irsa likes to whine about how hard her life is despite her special treatment. She is also rather naive about the world and the darker side of human nature. Her internal monologue became rather wearisome. She is a bit too much of a special snowflake.
- The love story. Ugh. I rather hated it. The two lovers first meet in a dream and are instant soul mates. Sigh. Of course when they meet, the cliches abound. I did like the idea that the perfect dream lovers have major issues in real life but the plot twists concerning their relationship were just annoying and rather disheartening. Obviously K’Irsa’s lover cannot be perfect if he can treat her like he does. And she just sighs, justifies, and forgives him. Because he can change! No thanks.
- The setting. Basically there be the desert horse tribe and the city folk. The city folk are evil and ignorant and commerce driven. Okay fine. But what was not fine in me world was that the city and politics seemed to be based on every cliche of Muslim society but worse. The women are veiled, are property, and have no rights. The Daliph’s harem, I mean Doranas, literally have their fingers encased in finger traps, wear metal corsets so they can’t really move, and have servants that have to feed, bathe, do everything for them. They cannot eat or even shit without a man helping them. And it’s considered a privilege.
- The plot. Ugh I am sorry but writing the last paragraph just made me more grumpy about the book as I wrote those thoughts out. And if the setting bothered me, the plot was horrendous . The strong female protagonist pretty much makes no major choices of her own. Even the Gods give her directions at the beginning. She actually tries to do the training to be a regular Dorana. The justification is revenge. The actuality is that most of the book finds her trapped in a room letting everyone dictate her life and thinking that it can be justified or okay in any circumstance. I have to admit that I don’t like reliving the details of this.
So basically even though I got the next book in the series, I am not sure if I am going to read it . . . despite the cool ponies. It is a novel that I seem to dislike more and more with reflection. Some cool concepts. Just not me type of execution.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
K’lrsa is a Rider for the White Horse Tribe who sets out to avenge the brutal murder of her father but finds herself in a society very different from the one she’s known. She also finds that revenge isn’t near as simple as she thought it would be and that she’ll have to choose between killing the man she thinks is responsible and being with the man she loves.
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