i would say this is probably aimed at older teenagers but seeing as i am not, I also really enjoyed it. at first i thought it was too easily written but somehow you cannot put the book down. I am half way through and enjoying it a lot,. but agree you have to read past a couple of pages to give it a chance but worth it :)
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There's a couple of things to know about this book before you decide to read it.
I don't recommend picking up this book unless you're willing to give it at least 100 pages. There were many times I was tempted to give up on it, because it was just weird and a bit boring. Since I agreed to review it, I told myself to give it 100 pages. Somewhere between 75-100 pages, it got interesting enough that I kept reading. It did get better. I still won't pretend like it was my favorite book ever, but I am curious where the author will take the story in the following books. It's hard on the first book in a series, because there's so much background information that needs to be told. This book definitely seemed like a "set-up" book.
Also, Centaurs are secondary in the story to horses. This really is a book about horses, for the most part. The Centaurs could have been replaced by any other creature and it probably wouldn't have changed much at all as far as the story goes.
I do think that there was so much potential for this book, and unfortunately, it just didn't live up to it for me. Centaurs aren't exactly a popular subject for books, and it had an opportunity to really stand out from all the other young adult books out there. I do love horses and all animals, but I really didn't care to read all the information that I got on horses and racing.
There was just lots of little things that bothered me throughout the story, too. One example: The Centaurs have a library filled with Classics. They no longer print or write books. Some modern day popular authors were listed in there with actual Classics, and it just really bugged me at some of the authors named. There were also too many mentions of horses having bowel movements and what kind of movement it was(runny). I just don't care for all that.
There is some violence, but not much. There's mention of dead bodies, and bones. Malora goes hunting a few times. At one point, she snares some squirrels and then bangs their head against a wall to finish them off. Again, that's just some details I could have done without. It wasn't enough that I wouldn't read it based on that alone, though.
The highlights of the book were definitely Zephele and the Twani! Zephele is a female centaur, and she was just unique and fun. I enjoyed reading about her. The Twani were also fun creatures to read about. When they were first mentioned, they just seemed so weird, I didn't know what to think of them. They grow on you, though. Although, I didn't hate the main character, Malora, I didn't overly like her either. I just really didn't feel anything reading about the characters. I like books that transport me into the book. When I'm told a character is happy, I want to feel that. When a character is crying from hurt, I want to feel some sympathy and tears of my own. I just didn't get that with this book.
It was a pretty clean book. "A**" is used a few times, and "pi**. That was all as far as language, though.
Overall, I'd say if you really like reading about horses, give it try.
K. K. Ross creates a futuristic world with humans becoming an extinct species. When Malora Thora-Jayke's village is destroyed and all are killed, she believes she is the only human left. She finds refuge with her horses on the plains until a group of Centaurs capture her. It's through this race, Malora learns more about her ancestry and the war between humans and the Centaurs.
Even though the Centaurs have evolved into gentler creatures since the war, they aren't perfect. Some have gone rogue. The ones that remain are leery of this human. Through Malora's love and compassion for her horses, they come to respect and admire her.
The book is part action/adventure and part coming-of-age. There's also a promise of romance to come later. Though the middle became a bit weighted down, I loved the story as well as the characters. I look forward to finding out what happens next.
"Centauriad" is the first installment of the Daughter of the Centaurs trilogy. I recommend this for middle-grade (or older) girls who have a love/appreciation for horses as well as love for memorable characters.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Standard young adult fare and an interesting tale and setting28 Feb 2012
Vampires . . . werewolves . . . centaurs next? I can think of worse beings to populate the next wave of young adult (YA) literature. The tale of this book, and its setting, are actually pretty interesting. The narrator adopts an omniscient third person, present tense tone which tends to distance the reader from what are pretty much single dimensional characters. That is, instead of the usual 'She rode down the path, then suddenly spotted the leopard which was licking its paw,' you'll read something like, 'She rides down the path, and spots the leopard which licks its paw.' You'll notice this consistent narrative style.
The world in which the book is set is probably the book's strongest suit. The city of the centaurs is a place I'd like to learn quite a bit more about. The dichotomy between the abode of the Highlanders vs. the abode of the Flatlanders (centaurs all) is very well done. There's a shining city on a hill, and lots of poor, surly centaurs living below. I liked that element of the plot very much.
The scenes of tragedy and violence are rather muted in their descriptions. I'd say they don't rise up to the level of Disney's THE LION KING or even BAMBI. Likewise with the relationships in this book. I expected a little more romance and attraction, perhaps a "human falls in love with centaur" theme, but that doesn't happen. Now, having centaurs as your best friends, that's kind of cool. Any parent worried that this might approach the erotic tensions found in the Twilight series? Fuhgeddaboudit.
I wasn't bored reading the story, and suspect neither would a 12 to 15 year old young girl (my projection of the target audience), but this wouldn't go into my pantheon of must read YA works. If the potential reader is in to centaurs, this is the book to read. The entirely predictable and perfunctory happy ending isn't necessarily a bad thing for younger readers. The ending is a sort of "can't we all just get along?" finale that was oddly unsatisfying.
The single thing that really grated on me (this is a personal opinion and quirk but I must share) is the naming of one of the characters. In the midst of fine fantasy book names like Malora (the young female protagonist), Thora and Jayke (her quickly deceased parents), Orion and Zephele (centaur brother and sister), et al, you find one of the centaur characters introduced later in the book. He's the "bad boy" centaur, a member of the Peace Keepers (centaur police and army), a rakish carnivore with a surly attitude, nice pecs, and a heart of gold: They call him Neal Featherhoof. Neal. Featherhoof. Not so fearsome.
I give this three out of five stars, but likely would give it three and one half if possible, because I actually enjoyed the read. I just didn't love it. Note: I am a voracious reader with low standards. When I express my personal opinion (that I like the book) you should take that with a grain of salt!
Oh my goodness. I haven't read a book this bad in awhile. I rarely give one star reviews and this book inspired me to do it. The book had a good idea, but the follow through was absolutely terrible. I really didn't enjoy it at all if you couldn't tell that already. I should warn that this review will probably contain spoilers, because in an effort to tell you what is wrong with this book, I will have to provide some detail.
Melora lives in a tribe of People. There aren't many of them left and when the Leatherwings come, they destroy what Melora has left leaving her the only human left alive that she knows of. She wanders with her herd of horses until they are forced into a gully by a Centaur group who need fast horses for a race. She takes in with these Centaurs, and a little race of cat people who serve them and is brought to a wondrous city with her horses. Here she starts to receive an education and talks with all the elegant centaur people who have dedicated their lives to being noble and artistic. But she has to find a purpose for her own life, and the centaur leader isn't willing to let her do what she desires.
So let's talk about the characters in this novel. Melora could be a good character. She has all the right stuff for it. But we are told rather than show how wonderful she is. And she's a little too perfect at times with no recognizable flaws, or at least not any that matter. She just doesn't seem believable and her emotions are incredibly skewed and don't make sense compared to the trauma she goes through. And after being brutally set upon and losing some of her horses because of the Centaurs, does she feel anger. Why no, she's ready to take up with them even though they have killed some of her horses! Completely unrealistic. The rest of the Centaurs are pitiful creatures who are wimps. There's such a thing as being soft and artistic but it doesn't mean you have to be boring and weak as well. Its a wonder that they survive being what they are. And then there's the cat people. For some reason or other they decide to enslave themselves for generations in gratitude for a rescue the centaurs did when their homeland was destroyed. Ok, they're cat people. Cats are too persnickety and proud to ever become unpaid servants for generations. Not a good choice of animal for her people. About the only character I was really impressed with was a lowlander Centaur who was a "peacekeeper". He at least had some grit.
And now we go into the novel itself. First of all, its supposed to be a dystopian future of our world. But nothing is ever explained as to how there are Centaurs or why civilization collapsed. And how do we know its the future? Why there are books and such classics like Shakespeare, Dickens, and wait for it.........the author also includes with these ancient tomes Stephanie Meyer as proof that its our world. And I hurt when seeing Meyers included with these other authors. There is the problem with facts as well. Somehow, Melora has a herd of 2 horses and in just three short years has increased this herd to 15 horses (not including other ones that come in as well) descended from the original two. She makes sure to point out that they are bloodline related and I just can't really fathom how that number is possible even knowing as little about horses as I do. Then there's the gem of saying hippos aren't dangerous to humans and a hippo eating or killing a centaur. Killing I could see, but the book implies that the centaur was eaten by the hippo.
The writing itself is very juvenile and almost reads as fanfiction. The dialogue is stilted and doesn't feel like real people talking. There aren't believable motivations as said before. And she mixes tenses all over the place. The plot, while it could have been very exciting with the history behind what had happened in the world, Melora losing her family, and everything else, instead centers on a race with only hints of better conflict to come as this seems to be setting up for a series. But I have to say, those hints didn't do a thing to inspire me to read the next book in the series. I won't pick it up at all. The pace is way too fast and jumps all over the place with sections of the book that could use detail not really having any, and sections that didn't need expanded on, having way too much detail. For instance, I really don't care what color a cloak shimmers when that writing could have been put to better use describing Melora's family and culture.
Not a book I could ever recommend. It needs a lot of work and really should just be redone by the author as the idea has potential but the finished product as it stands is not enjoyable. I feel bad bashing a book like this, but there were just so many problems that couldn't be overlooked.
Malora is the last of the people after all her family and friends are killed by leatherwings, a half bat half human monsters. She is an expert horsewoman and lives with a herd of black horses. The last thing her mother said to her was stay away from the enemies of the north, but the enemies, the centaurs, come to capture the horses.
There is much about horses in this book but the centaurs are unhappy about their horse parts so they try to hide it. I found that very strange. I just found many things about the book strange, for example Malora is able to survive alone, she does not grieve her dead horses nor is she angry with the centaurs who killed them, and she is willing to go into the city of those her mother called the enemy.
This book has a good plot, but some unbelievable story lines. The writing is good and the book is readable. However the ending is abrupt. This book is the first one of a series and I understand that there are more planned, but I felt like this story wasn't finished.