Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daughter of the Centaurs (Centauriad #1) by Kate Klimo

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0375869751
ISBN-13: 978-0375869754

Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.

Kate Klimo has masterfully created a new world, which at first seems to be an ancient one or perhaps another world altogether, but is in fact set on earth sometime far in the future.

I love when stories--particularly with "selfless" female protagonists/heroines--live by the seat of their pants and know the skills--or slowly learn, in this case--how to survive and be independent. When Malora must leave her People and live alone forevermore with just her horses as company, she saw a restless but fortifying life ahead of her. When she went back to discover the desolation of her people it destroyed something in her. That's when they discovered that the People were not as dead as they thought. A society of human and horse hybrids have been living successfully since the war with the People of Mount Kamaria--known now as Mount Kheiron, habitat of the centaurs--occured. From Daughter of the Mountains, to Daughter of the Plains, to Daughter of the Centaurs, Malora "Ironbound" Thora-Jayke does not fail to capture the reader's heart and symbolize inspiration for a whole other race.

Such vivid descriptions of mountainous and barren landscapes. So easy to hear the hoofs of Malora's "boys and girls" stampeding across the plains. Without the need  to learn to read or write, Malora's voice captures more abstract concepts and appreciated the primal nature of the land she knows by heart. Her love of horses became my love of horses for all their nickering, whinnying, snorts and eye-rolls. When first encountering the Highlanders and their method of living, the frivolity was comforting but seen as a waste through the main characters'. The author's writing ability to depict all the monuments, murals and colorful aspects of a Highlanders' life was dazzling and absolutely awe-inspiring to behold. With the minor addition of its own terminology, Daughter of the Centaurs was originally created and uniquely executed. I did not want to put down this book for longer than six hours, couldn't part with it; not the world or the characters.

It was nice to see Malora grow throughout the time that she left her People and joined the centaurs. Granted she did lose herself from time to time with the centaurs but she never truly forgot her roots. That's what excited me the most. She could never truly be a centaur and she didn't spend useless time thinking she could; she just enjoyed the luxuries they provided that she never knew of. The plot was successful in appealing to the no-nonsense side of me. I can't stand when authors make up unnecessary conflict between two parties just to liven up a certain scene. The book's solitary, soothing tone after the bloody mess and grief Malora went through because of the demise of her people was easy to use as a filter to distinguish traits and personalities of other characters.

It is obvious, reading the ending and knowing all the other unanswered questions, that there will be a second book in the series. No doubt the "Centauriad #1" gave that away. Its the waiting that might do me in if I don't get another horse-y book-related fix in the next six months. 

Grade: A-

Highlight for minor spoilers: However, I want to know specifically Centauriad the series and Brion the Blacksmith and how Malora's training with her Hand goes, and not to mention, the decree the Apex made in the end should make life definitely more interesting for both Flatlanders and Highlanders.

e-Galley Source: Netgalley


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