January 09, 2012
Daughter of the Centaurs by K.K. Ross
Oh my goodness. I haven't read a book this bad in awhile. I rarely give one star reviews and this book inspired me to do it. The book had a good idea, but the follow through was absolutely terrible. I really didn't enjoy it at all if you couldn't tell that already. I should warn that this review will probably contain spoilers, because in an effort to tell you what is wrong with this book, I will have to provide some detail.
Melora lives in a tribe of People. There aren't many of them left and when the Leatherwings come, they destroy what Melora has left leaving her the only human left alive that she knows of. She wanders with her herd of horses until they are forced into a gully by a Centaur group who need fast horses for a race. She takes in with these Centaurs, and a little race of cat people who serve them and is brought to a wondrous city with her horses. Here she starts to receive an education and talks with all the elegant centaur people who have dedicated their lives to being noble and artistic. But she has to find a purpose for her own life, and the centaur leader isn't willing to let her do what she desires.
So let's talk about the characters in this novel. Melora could be a good character. She has all the right stuff for it. But we are told rather than show how wonderful she is. And she's a little too perfect at times with no recognizable flaws, or at least not any that matter. She just doesn't seem believable and her emotions are incredibly skewed and don't make sense compared to the trauma she goes through. And after being brutally set upon and losing some of her horses because of the Centaurs, does she feel anger. Why no, she's ready to take up with them even though they have killed some of her horses! Completely unrealistic. The rest of the Centaurs are pitiful creatures who are wimps. There's such a thing as being soft and artistic but it doesn't mean you have to be boring and weak as well. Its a wonder that they survive being what they are. And then there's the cat people. For some reason or other they decide to enslave themselves for generations in gratitude for a rescue the centaurs did when their homeland was destroyed. Ok, they're cat people. Cats are too persnickety and proud to ever become unpaid servants for generations. Not a good choice of animal for her people. About the only character I was really impressed with was a lowlander Centaur who was a "peacekeeper". He at least had some grit.
And now we go into the novel itself. First of all, its supposed to be a dystopian future of our world. But nothing is ever explained as to how there are Centaurs or why civilization collapsed. And how do we know its the future? Why there are books and such classics like Shakespeare, Dickens, and wait for it.........the author also includes with these ancient tomes Stephanie Meyer as proof that its our world. And I hurt when seeing Meyers included with these other authors. There is the problem with facts as well. Somehow, Melora has a herd of 2 horses and in just three short years has increased this herd to 15 horses (not including other ones that come in as well) descended from the original two. She makes sure to point out that they are bloodline related and I just can't really fathom how that number is possible even knowing as little about horses as I do. Then there's the gem of saying hippos aren't dangerous to humans and a hippo eating or killing a centaur. Killing I could see, but the book implies that the centaur was eaten by the hippo.
The writing itself is very juvenile and almost reads as fanfiction. The dialogue is stilted and doesn't feel like real people talking. There aren't believable motivations as said before. And she mixes tenses all over the place. The plot, while it could have been very exciting with the history behind what had happened in the world, Melora losing her family, and everything else, instead centers on a race with only hints of better conflict to come as this seems to be setting up for a series. But I have to say, those hints didn't do a thing to inspire me to read the next book in the series. I won't pick it up at all. The pace is way too fast and jumps all over the place with sections of the book that could use detail not really having any, and sections that didn't need expanded on, having way too much detail. For instance, I really don't care what color a cloak shimmers when that writing could have been put to better use describing Melora's family and culture.
Not a book I could ever recommend. It needs a lot of work and really should just be redone by the author as the idea has potential but the finished product as it stands is not enjoyable. I feel bad bashing a book like this, but there were just so many problems that couldn't be overlooked.
Daughter of the Centaurs