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Malora is who I wanted to be as a young girl. A girl who could survive in the wild, who could hunt and ride, who knew how to read the clouds and tracks left in the dirt, who could make anything from whatever was at hand, who could talk to animals.
This world that Malora lives in, I could have done without that.
It is the future. There have been mutations, or perhaps things that were hidden have the liberty to crawl out and thrive. At any rate, centaurs and satyrs and strange cat-men now walk the earth. Black harpie-like creatures sow death and destruction from the skies. And humans may be reduced to a population of one — Malora.
Her village is destroyed. Everyone she knows is dead. Except one horse. Together they go into the wilds. Malora lives without human compaions for many years, tending to an ever-growing herd of tough, willful horses. She survives. She becomes one of the herd.
And then the centaurs trap her herd to be sporting animals for the entertainment of their upper classes.
Loneliness, curiosity, and the need to protect her remaining horses compel Malora to go with them as their new pet human. She is as fascinated by them as they are by her. She is civilized by them; they are trained in survival by her.
And then they reach the court and things get complicated and somewhat murky.
I like Malora the horse trainer, Daughter of the Plains, better than Malora the pet, Daughter of the Centaurs. But court intrigue and impending invasion — plus a dab of horse racing with an old nag — keep the story interesting to the end. Which end is rather more a set-up for the next book than a finale to this one.
And Malora the survivor will have to resurface if they are all to survive the next installment of the Centauriad.
This is a great twist on the "horse book". It could have done with, perhaps, stronger characters for the centaurs. They seem rather effete for a thousand pounds and four legs. But I think the next part of this series will show that there is still backbone in this race of creatures. That, or it will be a very short, bloody book. I'm betting on the former.