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Centauriad #1: Daughter of the Centaurs by…

Centauriad #1: Daughter of the Centaurs

by Kate Klimo, Kate Klimo

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
An entertaining if not entirely successful book.

The plot starts well enough then takes needless and sometimes absurd turns.
I got the sense that, by its subject matter, this book was meant to be Young Adult, but the writing is too simplistic. Don't get me wrong, you don't need big words to convey big emotions and there were certainly several descriptive passages that proved just that. But the characters' motives, the plot itself, were too simple and it was sometimes jarring to read mentions of rape and murder in a child-like prose.

Malora, the main character, is a mix of wild child (a part of her that was well-written and compelling) and Mary-Sue (a part which, obviously, was not). You have an extremely pragmatic character, who will not cry for her father's death or the destruction of her people because life goes on and she needs a level head to survive, then later on takes to her bed in a fit of tears because some minor character she
barely knew gets himself banished for his own stupidity (an event for which she absurdly blames herself when in similar situations back in her village she'd brush it off and recognise the ridiculousness of it all). Her behaviour, even given all the changes she goes through, was not credibly consistent.

The centaur society had a lot of potential to be explored, especially the whole issue of class differences, but it never gets the attention it should.
The culmination of the story ends up being a horse race which, not only plunges the impoverished centaurs into deeper poverty keeping us from rejoicing over her victory (though that's later resolved), but also ends up being anticlimactic given that the book opened with a horrible attack from winged demons.

I really liked the whole scents and visions aspect of the story, I hope the next one will explore this.

Still, this one was a light and nice read. ( )
  Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
The horrifying thing is that the cover isn't 100% whitewashed. This is set in a dystopian future Africa, in which the polar ice caps have expanded to cover at least as far south as England, and yet the cover model looks Mediterraean — green eyes, olive skin — and yet the description in the text is that her skin is "red-brown". What the actual fuck. Like, the further into this you go, the worse it gets.

The literature which has survived (preserved by fauns, wtf) is Western canon — Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot, Shakespeare, Epicurus — none of the potentially interesting class, race, free will, etc., issues are ever unpacked, the heroine's motivations are opaque at crucial moments, the supporting cast is largely made up of stock characters who aren't written against the trope's grain, and all in all, this does not have much except the premise (which is never explored) to recommend it. ( )
  cricketbats | Apr 18, 2013 |
Daughter of the Centaurs is a charming book. The language is simple but clean and vivid, making it easy to see and follow the many characters, cultures, and settings in K.K. Ross' fantasy future-earth. The book tackles some pretty heavy concepts, first when Malora loses her family and her tribe and then, later, when she's captured and introduced into Centaur society as a "pet," pampered, indulged, and powerless. I caught my jaw dropping when, for example, the centuars would sigh with relief every time Malora confirmed that her tribe (i.e., her mother and father and friends) were all dead.

The heroine, Malora, sets the tone for the whole novel - and she refuses to mope or be defeated. She's steadfast, loyal, smart in a salt of the earth way, and good-natured. She's definitely a glass half-full kind of girl and while she can be uncompromising, she also knows when to go with the flow. It's easy to spend time in her head.

The book moves along at a good clip. I worried when I read other reviews that it would dwell for too long on her childhood learning to train horses, or her years all alone with her herd, but Ross gives us just enough to get the flavor. Once the centaurs capture Malora, DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS becomes a fish out of water tale. Everything is new and unfamiliar and Malora has to struggle to find her place in a new world, especially if she's not content to remain a pet.

The climax of the novel revolves around a horse race - naturally, since Malora's earliest ambitions were all about horse training - but we get tantalizing glimpses of where the sequels will take us. By the end it's clear that the cultured, highly classed society of the centaurs is due for a shake-up, and that Malora will be at the center of some pretty major changes.

DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS is on the sweet side but it's got real depth, and more grit than you'd expect from a girl-and-her-horse book.

( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
First book in the Centauriad series

Set sometime in the not-so-distant future…

Malora loves horses. Even though she is a girl, she hopes to one day become a great huntress and care for the beautiful animals instead of becoming an herbalist like her mother. But before she comes of age, her village is struck by the terrible Leatherwings, great bat-like monsters that kill all the men and then slowly pick off the women. Malora’s mother tells her to flee as far as she can and to never come back, so Malora does – and for several years, she wanders the plains, gathering a herd of horses from strays she finds during her travels. But the horses soon capture the attention of the Centaurs, who race horses on their greatest festival, the annual Founder’s Day. Their pleasure over the horses is nothing compared to their shock at finding Malora – humans are supposed to be extinct! They take her back to their city as the “pet” of Orion, son of their ruler, and Malora begins to learn about both the centaurs and lost human civilizations.

This is a book for a very young audience, something that completely escaped my notice when I requested it through Amazon’s Vine Program. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason I thought this was yet another YA supernatural romance book. (Which made me a little nervous, because centaur-on-human action? Squicky at best, and far more likely to be just disturbing.) But no, it turns out the book is for kids. The language is extremely simple, with lots of description that, at times, gets rather repetitive. The book is also written in present tense, which is a little unusual. At times, the text is so basic that it’s almost distracting; the book is so clearly aiming for the young that it never transcends to become a book that can also appeal to adults ala Harry Potter.

In spite of this, I liked the book. There are some very disturbing implications that I hope will be more fully explored in future volumes. For example, the centaurs revere human culture. They read our books– one of Malora’s new friends adores Jane Austen novels, for example. Their architecture, as described by the author, sounds like a nightmare of imitation Baroque and Rococo ornamentation. At times, they seem ashamed to be centaurs – they wear clothes designed to hide their horse-halves and use heavy perfumes to mask their horsey scent. Why on earth would they be like that? Well, at one point a faun who, like Malora, is the last of his kind lets slip that scientists created many of the ‘hybrid’ creatures like the Leatherwings and the Twani, a race of humanoid cats. So this begs the question – are the centaurs also human creations, and if so who did it? How? Why?

It’s also curious that while the centaurs can read and write, they no longer have printing presses. So while they treasure the precious books they’ve saved for untold eons, they can’t produce new ones. Stranger still, apparently none of them has ever felt compelled to create new fiction. This seems so strange to me. Again, why can’t the centaurs write new stories? They’re certainly creative – Orion is a perfumer while other centaurs create mosaics, compose music, and engage in other artistic vocations. It’s just a weird little detail that kept bugging me as I read.

The book itself is fairly predictable, especially in the second half. Malora is interesting, but a lot of the other characters are so utterly two-dimensional that I can describe them with one or two words. Orion = Prissy Intellectual, Zephele (his sister) = Flighty Blonde, and Neal Featherhoof (what a name!) = The Cool One. But I’m so intrigued by this dystopian future – how does it come about? Why are there centaurs and fauns and talking cats in our world? I’ll definitely read the next book just to learn the answers to these questions. ( )
  makaiju | Jul 21, 2012 |
was very excited when I received my review copy of DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS. I thought the concept was exciting and different and I loved the idea of a book about centaurs. Unfortunately, DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS wasn't for me. There are some nice elements but, as a whole, I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped I would.

If you've read my interview with Kate Klimo, you may remember that this book is set in the future -- a future where there are few humans, who live a very primitive lifestyle, while centaurs thrive. I didn't realize this when I started reading DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS but I thought it was an interesting way to give the author some extra room to play around. And play around she does! There are some lovely moments where characters refer back to authors and historical figures that the reader will instantly recognize. I particularly liked the way they talk about ROMEO AND JULIET, but there are dozens of these little asides that will tickle you. They're actually my favourite part of the book.

I also think that Kate Klimo did a nice job of writing Malora. Her time with the People (the humans) is well written and provides a solid base for Malora's actions and opinions later on in the book. Her bonds with the horses was also really nice, which is good since she spends a significant portion of the book roaming around with them.

Unfortunately, there were also things I didn't like about DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS. I found many of the other characters to be shallow and one-dimensional. I realize that I'm much older than the intended audience but I wish the characters had been a little less stock. They're almost all predictable, which made it difficult for me to connect with them. I also found the pacing challenging. I had to force myself to read certain chapters and then I flew through others because there are definitely some great scenes. For me, at least, the slower sections outweighed the gripping chapters.

I'm sad to say it but I don't think I can recommend DAUGHTER OF THE CENTAURS. I can see why some people might like it but there's not enough good stuff for me to suggest it. I appreciate Kate Klimo's effort to create a unique world -- and she has succeeded in many ways -- but it didn't click for me.

http://www.tyngasreviews.com ( )
  jthorburn | Apr 14, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Klimoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klimo, Katemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375869751, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Alone after her village is destroyed by Leatherwings, young Melora and her father's horse, Sky, survive on their own with a herd of wild horses until she finds a new home with a civilization of centaurs.

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