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Daughter of the Centaurs

Daughter of the Centaurs is a YA futuristic fantasy by Kate Klimo.

Malora has always wanted to be a master horseman like her father, despite it being traditional that she follow in her mother’s steps instead and pursue healing. Yet nothing could keep her from the horses.

But at the very young age of twelve Malora watches as a horrid species called Leatherwings attacks her small settlement of People and kills both horses and People. Her mother encourages Malora to flee on the horse Sky and never return.

With time, Malora learns to survive on the land and begins to gather around her a large family of horses. She rescues some, she raises some, and she names them all. They are her boys and girls. Yet she longs for conversation, for the small talk she had with her mother, for human companionship. She hopes that somewhere, someplace there are more People that she can find.

Instead, her path crosses a group of centaurs – the very beings that were the humans’ downfall many years ago. To them she is a revelation, a surprise, as they believed all People to be dead and gone – which could very well now be true, except for Malora.

She allows herself to be taken to their city and begins to enjoy a life of entertainment and dialogue, and her horses are taken to a stall to be trained in a race the leader of the centaurs’ is determined to win.

But did she make the right choice, or did her loneliness blind her to the centaurs’ danger?

Today we are happily part of the Daughter of the Centaurs blog tour!

Daughter of the Centaurs is sad and tragic to start but also increasingly engaging and engrossing as we follow years of Malora’s life in a few short pages. There is a subdued yet powerful vibe.

In this mixture of sci-fi, survival, and fantasy, we have a strong, capable heroine in Malora. Her family of horses, whom she loves earnestly, intensifies her likability factor – though it also provides fodder for more extremely wretched moments later on. Kate Klimo certainly makes the grief potent. Grief for what?

Do you think I underwent a complete personality change overnight and now will provide spoilers? Ha!

Once we become involved with the centaurs we are presented with a truly magnetic, detailed idea that is executed relatively well. I certainly haven’t read any books about centaurs lately, which helps to make it feel fresh. The centaurs are a race of their own, both fascinating and superficial oftentimes, living in a world in our future where novels from Stephenie Meyer are considered “ancient”. That gave me a laugh. Kate Klimo has clearly created an entire world and history for the species that we only get a small glimpse of here.

Though Daughter of the Centaurs has much more telling than showing, it is still a fast-moving and gripping debut. I enjoyed the novel, but the story kind of plods along at a leisurely pace without any real discernible plot. So, my feelings were rather mixed. I was never once bored, yet desired more. You know what I mean?

Later on I became frustrated with Malora and the way she’s swept away, a bit, by the life of the centaurs – and this only increased as some later plot developments with her horses reveal themselves. The last quarter of the novel is an improvement, but kind of comes out of nowhere.

Yet, again, Kate Klimo provides the horses with delightful personalities and gives them a voice through an animal lovers’ consideration and gives us an interesting novel here.

Despite the surprising lack of incentive to return for a second book (Daughter of the Centaurs declares itself the first in a series called Centauriad), I would probably give it a shot. I just really wanted more plot and purpose.

Let me know what you thought!

*By the way, this week will be the last week in the foreseeable future that I will have five posts a week. Starting on Monday March 5th, I will be returning to three reviews a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’m sure we’ll have another month or two in 2012 of five reviews a week, but let’s give our bibliophile selves a little time to breathe for a while, agreed? :)

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