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Friday, February 8, 2013

Review: Daughter of the Centaurs by Kate Klimo

DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS

Centauriad #1
A new character joins the ranks of pwerful, kick-ass heroines such as those written by Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Esther Freisner, and Robin McKinley—Malora Ironbound. A great read also for anyone who loves horses and the Greek myths.

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.
Daughter of the Centaurs was not what I was expecting, but Kate Klimo has made me a believer in centaurs and this futuristic world she's created. Malora is one of the People, possibly the last of the People since everyone she has ever known was killed by ferocious Leatherwings. In an attempt to save her from the same fate, Malora's mother had packed up her favorite horse, Sky, and sent her out into the plains. After some of years wandering around, surviving, growing her herd of horses, Malora comes into contact with the perfect beings: centaurs. Half man, half horse. Orion vouches for Malora, considered to be an Otherian, and she's whisked into their home, Mount Kheiron. Though, there were certain aspects like the 14 edicts that Malora felt restricted her, she fit in well with the centaurs. I felt proud just to be reading her story, and that's how big a difference she made to the centaurs of Mount Kheiron. I actually got a little teary eyed towards the end!

Klimo introduces the centaur society with ease. From what I had heard about Daughter of the Centaurs before reading, I thought I would suffer from confusion or read too much going on at one time. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded because I had no trouble understanding and picturing this fantastical world Malora finds herself participating in. The plot is riddled with danger, fascinating events, and a culture very similar to our own but uniquely different. I thought it was so weird that the centaurs lived life like humans, with a few notable differences of course, but it was all new to Malora who lived primitively in her settlement in the mountains. The centaurs were led by Medon the Apex, who is then ruled by Lady Hylonome, Herself. If it weren't for the strict requirement to follow the Edicts, the separation of prosperous Highland centaurs from the Flatland centaurs, and the dissenting whispers of inequality and poor treatment from the Flatlanders, I would not have considered this story dystopian at all, just fantasy.

Malora was a character with character. She was strong and she knew how to take care of herself, and her horses. I loved the fact that she had such an affinity for horses. Maybe it was Klimo's style of writing, or personal experiences taken to write about these horses, but I was just so captured by the moments when Malora connected with her 'boys and girls'.

There's a bit of a history between centaurs and the People, and whatever other kinds of creatures may be lurking in the shadows of the story, and while Klimo does take a considerate amount of time to establish it I want to know more. Yes, you will find yourself asking many questions about where the centaurs, and even the Twani, originate from but that's the best part of reading Daughter of the Centaurs. It's only the beginning of the Centauriad series and there's opportunity to find out more in it's sequel, A Gathering of Wings!

Publication Date: January 2012 (paperback published Jan. 2013)
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages/Format: 362; Hardcover, Paperback, ebook

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