Random House Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012) 384 pages
Description from Amazon:
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.
There's a couple of things to know about Daughter of the Centaurs before you decide to read it.
I don't recommend picking it up unless you're willing to give it at least 100 pages. There were many times I was tempted to give up on it, because it was just weird and a bit boring. Since I agreed to review it, I told myself to give it 100 pages. Somewhere between 75-100 pages, it got interesting enough that I kept reading. It did get better. I still won't pretend like it was my favorite book ever, but I am curious where the author will take the story in the following books. It's hard on the first book in a series, because there's so much background information that needs to be told. This book definitely seemed like a "set-up" book.
Also, Centaurs are secondary in the story to horses. This really is a book about horses, for the most part. The Centaurs could have been replaced by any other creature and it probably wouldn't have changed much at all as far as the story goes.
I do think that there was so much potential for this book. Centaurs aren't exactly a popular subject for books, and it had an opportunity to really stand out from all the other young adult books out there. I do love horses and all animals, but I really didn't care to read all the information that I got on horses and racing.
There was just lots of little things that bothered me throughout the story, too. One example: The Centaurs have a library filled with Classics. (This story takes place in the distant future). They no longer print or write books. Some modern day popular authors were listed in there with actual Classics, and it just really bugged me at some of the authors named. (One was an author of a popular young adult paranormal series. I don't have anything against the author or the series. I liked it! But, to call it Classic?) There were also too many mentions of horses having bowel movements and what kind of movement it was(runny). I just don't care for all that. I know those are just picky kind of things, so those might or might not be something that would bother you.
There is some violence, but not much. There's mention of dead bodies, and bones. Malora goes hunting a few times. At one point, she snares some squirrels and then bangs their head against a wall to finish them off. Again, that's just some details I could have done without. It wasn't enough that I wouldn't read it based on that alone, though.
The highlights of the book were definitely Zephele and the Twani! Zephele is a female centaur, and she was just unique and fun. I enjoyed reading about her. The Twani were also fun creatures to read about. When they were first mentioned, they just seemed so weird, I didn't know what to think of them. They grow on you, though. Although, I didn't hate the main character, Malora, I didn't overly like her either. I just really didn't feel anything reading about the characters. I like books that transport me into the book. When I'm told a character is happy, I want to feel that. When a character is crying, I want to feel some sympathy and tears of my own. I just didn't get that with this book.
It was a pretty clean book. "A**" is used a few times, and "pi**. That was all as far as language, though.
Overall, I'd say if you really like reading about horses, give Daughter of the Centaurs a try.
*I was provided an Advance Reader's Copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
**I also thought I would mention that the cover shown is the one I have. Apparently the final cover is a bit different. You may notice the author's name, though. My cover has the author's name as K.K. Ross. As far as I can tell, they decided to go with Kate Klimo on the final one. (??)