Author: Kate Klimo, aka K.K. Ross
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: January 24th, 2012
Read an excerpt from chapter 1 here!
There are some books you come across, and everything about that book just seems to draw you in -- from the cover, to the buzz, to the description, to the first few chapters, even -- and then you reach a certain part of the story, and it all just falls flat. Then, there are other books that just can't seem to spark your interest no matter what, yet for some reason you still pick up the book and try to read it...only to find out what an amazing story the author has weaved (one of my more recent reads was like this. I so did not want to read it--was certain I was going to hate it--but it was a review book so I made myself give it a try, anyway. Now I'm glad I did, but that's a whole other review...). And then, there are some books like this one.
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.I'll admit, It sounded a little weird at first, but still, it had me intrigued. Until I started reading it, at least. Honestly, I'm amazed I even made it past the beginning. There were several times I wasn't so sure I would, and was ready to type a big, fat DNF for my Netgalley review. It was a very rough beginning, and managed to read like what I imagine the author's notes may be like. It was a definite exposition overload.
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.
Still, somehow I managed to push through, and the more the story picked up, the more I started to enjoy it. I found the shared background of the species intriguing. I liked how Malora sought to find her place in the centaur-run world, even if I found the opposition and prejudice against her predictably human.
And then the book reached it's end. Rather abruptly and anticlimactically, I might add. During then last third of the book there was so much build up to a possible uprising of the Flatlanders (the centaur society is broken up into two groups: the noble (read: richest) Highlanders, and the common (read: poor) Flatlanders), I was expecting a major conflict to arise toward the end. It almost did, but almost doesn't count. No, instead they were pacified SPOILER.
But, I did, at least, enjoy the meat of the story, and there had to be a reason. My guess would be the characters. True, some of them were rather flat, others rather frivolous and shallow. Yet, as with any story, there are some characters that shine brighter than the rest. Zephele Silvermane, for one, is just one of those fun, energetic characters that can make just about any book enjoyable. For another, Neal Featherhoof, who was quite possibly the most centaur-like centaur in the book. Which is kind of a shame. Especially since the majority of centaurs in this book seemed rather ashamed of their horse halves, which might explain why the acted so human.
The Twani, also were a rather awesome race. Half-humam and half-cat, they had sort of a thing for wishing to serves those who saved their lives (even after a life-debt has been paid, it seems). Whether or not this is what makes them awesome friends to their centaur "masters" or not, I don't know, but I loved them nonetheless. Especially West.
Overall, while I did enjoy the story for the most part, so much was introduced to it, and I felt very little was followed through, even for a first book in a series. The beginning and ending, which are, understandably, the hardest parts to write, I felt could have used some more attention. Also, as far as the ending is concerned, had the author taken the risikier direction (pro-uprising), I felt it would have improved the story overall, and would have been a nice set up for the future novel(s) of the series. Still, I might still be inclined to pick up the second book, when it comes out, if only to revisit some of these characters.
I wouldn't say this book rates higher than a 2.5 on our Crazy Hearts scale. While I can't say to whom I'd recommend this book to, if any of you Pretty Readers do happen to pick up Daughter of the Centaurs, I wish you a better reading experience than I had.