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House of the Star

House of the Star is a YA fantasy by Caitlin Brennan.

When horse lover Elen, princess of Ymbria, is told her dreams are to come true and she is to go to the House of the Star, a ranch on Earth that houses the most magnificent horses in the world – worldrunners who provide the only safe way to travel between worlds – she does not want to go.

Because despite her deep, desperate desire to become a rider of worldrunners and spend her days with horses, she knows that this trip is only a cover for a meeting with a representative of Caledon – the world they’ve been at war with since long before she was born.

In the past the Caledon citizen would be a boy of the same age as the girl from Ymbria and they’d usually be forced to marry to facilitate peace. The unhappy marriages only caused the war to get worse, though.

This time, Elen is shocked to find that the traditional meeting at the House of the Star is far different than normal. But as much as she tries, her hatred of the traitorous world of Caledon makes it impossible to make peace.

If no peace is found, however, the Master of the House of Star will cut off both Ymbria and Caledon from the worldroads forever, which would be devastating for their people and economy.

With the help of a wise, stubborn worldrunner named Blanca, can Elen find it within herself to save her world?

House of the Star starts with a wonderfully descriptive prose that brings about a magical, perilous, ethereal vibe, but a rather perplexing and resultantly slow plot. With patience, however, the plot does pick up as details of the long, bitter war are illuminated and brought to the forefront. As well as the ardent love of horses and ranch living, which is fascinatingly gripping.

This is truly an original fantasy story that doesn’t ring of really anything I’ve read before. The mixture of prejudice, war, politics, and intrigue with absolute love and admiration for horses makes it uniquely recommendable to both fantasy and animal lovers!

House of the Star is gentle, yet engrossing. It becomes steadily more suspenseful and nail-biting, and is ultimately tremendously satisfying and rousing. I really was surprised by how into it I ended up being.

Maybe you will, too!

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