Friday, February 17, 2012

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

Synopsis (Goodreads):
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.
My Thoughts:  I was intrigued by this book (because I have a thing for centaurs) and while there were things I definitely enjoyed, there were a few things that ignited my rage-o-meter. Most of them had to do with the way Malora was treated when she moved into the centaur city. This, I must admit, was followed by the way Malora abandoned her beliefs and her horses for the centaur way of life. While I can understand that she would be lonely and long for both contact and civilization, it bothered me.

That said, the descriptions of the plains and Malora's way of life were beautiful. The sacrifices her family had to go through and the lengths Malora went to so that her horses would thrive on the plains were heartbreaking and uplifting all at once. Then, Malora had to throw it all away and go to the big glittering city and get caught up in the frivolous lives of the centaurs. I think that might be the thing that bothers me the most - she gave up her beautiful horses (her best and only friends) and her way of life (which was admittedly hard and hand-to-mouth) for a life that seems so shallow and flighty. Plus, the way the centaurs seemed to dismiss her pain (Oh, you just found out your family is dead? Well, we're glad those wild animals have been wiped out!) and wanted to civilize her rubbed me the wrong way.

This isn't to say that I disliked the book. I found it entertaining once I could push aside my rage-y feelings (probably brought on by my fiercely protective mom-side. DON'T GIVE UP, MALORA! DON'T LET THEM STIFLE YOU!) and focus on Malora's interactions with those around her. I'm not the least bit enamored of Zephele (as everyone in the book seemed to be) and I frankly don't see why anybody bothers to put up with her. However, Orion grew on me as the story progressed, maturing from a flighty aristocrat into someone who sees how city life is smothering Malora and takes steps to bring her out of her funk.

I'm left with several questions about the overall world and how the centaurs evolved (not to mention the other critters) as well as whether or not Malora's penchant for visions is something all humans had or is unique to her. While I thought the book redeemed itself somewhat at the end, the fact that Malora abandoned the animals who looked to her as a leader still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now, the target audience (middle grade readers) very likely won't see things in that same light but for me it was a tough thing to overlook.

More books by Kate Klimo

Reading challenges: Ebook Challenge
Daughter of the Centaurs was provided for review by Random House through NetGalley.

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