Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Ride the Gods' Own Stallion

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I don't know what I expected, but this was given to me by a publisher, from whom I understood mostly that it was a "horse book." The Black Stallion and National Velvet are what come immediately to mind when I think of "horse books." Those, and the juvenile kinds of series whose covers feature cutsie girls posing with their shiny-coated steeds with names like "Lucky" and "Penny."

This book is nothing like either. It's not about racing, and there are almost no adolescent girls (the main character does have an older sister, but she only makes a couple appearances).

Soulai is a young boy living in ancient Assyria. He is a skilled artist but a poor goatherd. When a lion attacks his flock while he's on duty, his father declares "Better that you'd never been born." Soon after, tragedy strikes his family home, and his father sells him into five years of slavery to pay off their debts. While working in the royal stables, Soulai meets a horse unlike any other---a stallion named Ti. But the stallion is owned by the spoiled prince Habasle who breaks the animal's spirit by forcing Ti to carry him against a lion. Soulai stays by the animal's side, however, and together the prince, Soulai, and Ti help one another to fulfill their destinies.

Pretty fun action book, quick read, might be especially appealing to boys, considering the general absence of female characters.

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