The Black Stallion Series Relaxed Shared Read Part 2 (2018)
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Last year some of us decided to revisit/reread this series, while some joined in, reading the books for the first time.
There are more books in the series than there are months in a year, so here we are again
The series, in order, can be found here:
Here is the list of reads for 2018:
The Island Stallion Races
The Black Stallion's Courage
The Black Stallion Mystery
The Black Stallion and Flame
The Black Stallion Challenged
(aka The Black Stallion's Challenge)
The Black Stallion's Ghost
The Black Stallion and the Girl
The Black Stallion Legend
We've not yet decided what to do when we run out of the original series, but we'll figure that out by then.
Feel free to jump in, anytime, and post reviews or thoughts.
We do discourage revealing too much of the plot for others, so don't forget those spoilers!
Oh, and last year's thread is here:
>2 FAMeulstee: great, glad you're here!
I will probably read January's book fairly soon, to get it done, as I have a couple "chunkster" books I also plan to read.
De rode hengst op de renbaan by Walter Farley, original title (The Island Stallion Races)
Steve is alone on the island Azul, he dreams about racing with Flame.
Then aliens land near the island and they can make his dream come true.
I still prefer the Black Stallion books over the Island Stallion books.
This is probably the worst of the series, really horse loving ALIENS..?..
>4 FAMeulstee: I decided to skip the January book, since I have read it before and didn't care for it much.
However, the February book The Black Stallion's Courage is much better. I've almost finished reading it, and will post my review once it is completed.
Anyone else reading it yet?
And here's my review:
The Black Stallion's Courage by Walter Farley
Hopeful Farm is in need of a new barn, and the only way to raise the needed funds is by racing Black Minx, and The Black! Can Alec and Henry keep The Black's daughter in top racing condition after the Kentucky Derby, and also transition The Black from his life at stud to a successful new career as an older handicap racer?
Another good, solid entry in The Black Stallion series.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this entry into The Black Stallion series is that Walter Farley immerses you into the racing world, from the jockey's locker room to the handicapper assigning weights, and even gives you a glimpse of racing on the track itself.
Oh, and the back cover is a hoot!!
Oops! Forgot to post this one:
The Black Stallion Mystery by Walter Farley
Alec and Henry see some yearlings for sale that look as if The Black was their sire, so they jump on a plane to Europe to investigate, and take their prize stud and main money-making racing stallion along? Really?
Much of this entry in The Black Stallion series requires the reader to suspend common sense. I have no plans to ever read it again.
The Horse-Tamer by Walter Farley
Forget the last two books in the series, this one reads more like the Walter Farley we've come to appreciate!
The Horse-Tamer begins with Henry and Alec waiting for their plane to depart, and Henry starts talking about his brother, a horse "tamer", not trainer. The remainder of the book is the story of Bill Dailey, and how he managed to retrain vicious or severely unruly equines.
Sounds hokey, but the narrative works, has the elements that usually make Walter Farley a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
De paardentemmer by Walter Farley, original title The Horse-Tamer
While Alex and Henry are waiting for the plane to leave, traveling back to the USA with Black, Henry tells about his oldest brother Bill. Bill Dailey was a horse tamer, back in the day when horses were the main way for transportation. Bill tried to educate people about horses, using more gentle methods than most did. Henry worked some time together with his brother and learned a lot.
I enjoyed this one, despite the absence of the Black ;-)
Anyone read the book for May, yet?
The Black Stallion and Flame
I'm going to start it tonight. It's a reread, but it's also been a long time.
>14 FAMeulstee: me too!
I've not read any of the later books since I was a juvenile, so I don't remember much.
And I have read our July book early in the month: De geest van de Zwarte Hengst (The Black Stallion's ghost)
Alec and the Black are having a deserved rest near the Everglades. But a French dressage trainer (from the French Cadre Noir) has his mind set on the Black for a mating with his dressage mare. Beautiful descriptions of the mare performing classical "haute ecole" dressage.
The rest of the story is a bit thin, concerning superstition.
You were kinder than I:
The Black Stallion's Ghost by Walter Farley
Another weird/strange entry into an otherwise enjoyable series: Alec and the Black encounter a haute ecole horse trainer and his grey mare deep in the Everglades, resulting in a supernatural experience. No, just no.
It does have a lovely cover...
>20 fuzzi: Mostly because of the dressage descriptions, I was a big fan of the Lipizzan horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and of the Selle Français horses from the Cadre Noir. I still knew the names of all movements :-)
Two more to go, I will read The Black Stallion and the Girl in August.
Our August book: De Zwarte Hengst en het meisje (The Black Stallion and the Girl)
The race track is no place for women, according to Henry Dailey. But when a girl wants to work on the farm, and a farmhand is needed, Alec hires her. Pam is good with the horses, but it takes a lot before Alec can convince Henry.
Next month the last book!
>23 FAMeulstee: I borrowed that one from the library, hope to start reading it in a couple days.
Speaking of women and race tracks, the regular exercise rider of Sham was a woman. She currently writes blog posts about her experiences with that racehorse, who was probably known best for challenging Secretariat in the Triple Crown races, back in 1973. So there were women working at the tracks at the time of this month's book.
>24 fuzzi: When I was a regular at the racetrack (1979-1982) most excercise riders were women. There were two female trainers, two female (professional) jockeys and a lot of female amateur jockeys. But racing is a very small branch here, the majority of racing is with trotters. These days there are many trotter race tracks and only one racetrack for thoroughbreds is left.
#83 The Black Stallion and the Girl by Walter Farley
I changed my mind...
Sometimes when I've read a childhood favorite, it remains a favorite, but more often it loses something in revisiting. Frequently I regret rereading a story, once so beloved, but now become tarnished. I never considered The Black Stallion and the Girl as a favorite, so I approached my reread with less than high hopes for a change in feelings.
And yet, they were there.
With the addition of a new trainer to Hopeful Farm we are once again treated to not only schooling methods and daily care of thoroughbred horses, but also shown the racing world struggling with changes to its long held domination by men. The author explores the inroads women were making into the sport at the time this book was written, some fifty years ago, done with a fairly deft hand, much more realistic than agenda-driven. And through it all Walter Farley shines in his details of the jockey rooms, the paddocks, the announcer's booth, even the starting gates so central to it all.
While I would not place this with the best of the series, it's close. Don't judge this book by its cover, or title.
And the last book of the series: De legende van de Zwarte Hengst (The Black Stallion legend)
One of the worst entries in The Black Stallion series.
It felt like I was in the middle of a writers bad trip. I understand Farley wrote this after his daughter died, the grief in the book feels real, the apocaliptic part of the story isn't worth the read.
>27 FAMeulstee: I tried to read this one, got a couple chapters in, put it down, picked it back up this afternoon. I kept reading, hoping it might get better. It got worse. I finally put it down without finishing it. Too bad.
I'd recommend people stick with the first seven or eight in the series, and skip most of the rest.
>28 fuzzi: Too bad indeed.
As a completist I am glad to have finished the project. As a reader I am going to read the first book again, to finish with a good one.
My top 3:
1 - The Black Stallion
2 - The Black Stallion's filly
3 - The Black Stallion's blood bay colt
The first because it is the first book of the series, where the bond between Alex and The Black is starting.
After The Black, Black Minx was always my favorite horse in the series.
The last one because Bonfire takes us to the very different world of the trotters.
I didn't care much for the Flame books and the later Black books. The two worst books were The Island Stallion races and The Black Stallion Legend
>31 FAMeulstee: I feel the same way as you, in the order as well!
1. The Black Stallion
2. The Black Stallion's Filly
3. The Blood Bay Colt
I did like The Black Stallion's Sulky Colt and The Black Stallion's Courage quite a bit. I also enjoyed The Horse Tamer. I was disappointed in my reread of The Island Stallion, don't think I'll read it again.
Ever read Walter Farley's bio of Man O' War? I liked it as a youth.
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