December 28, 2012

The Black Stallion Returns by Walter Farley

The Black Stallion series is one that is known to many. The story of a boy, shipwrecked with a wild horse who becomes his friend, captures the heart of many. This book, The Black Stallion Returns, is the second in the series. You don't necessarily have to read the first book before this one, but it does help to read it for background, so I recommend going in order.

Alec has had quite a shake up. First someone tries to kill the Black Stallion, and then, just hours later, his real owner shows up to claim him. After all that he's been through he can't stand to lose the horse. So when an opportunity comes for him to go visit the horse in Arabia, Alec takes it. But the journey will be much more dangerous than he can imagine and even if he gets there, it's no guarantee that he will be able to get his horse back, or even make it out alive.

Alec is the main character of the series. And we can clearly understand his love for his horse. But to be honest, we never really know any of his other hopes and dreams, and it would have been nice to have his personality expanded on those things. Still, he does take good care of his horse, and is brave for wanting to go to the unknown to find him again. Henry the trainer, and Mr. Volance, the men who go with Alec to the desert aren't really described that much either. We know Henry is kind of cranky and Mr. Volence is the money of the operation, but they don't feature much in the book. The Bedouin though, are described somewhat stereotypically although not unkindly and are described as a fierce but hospitable people.

The plot is actually pretty good. There is a lot of adventure, and while there is violence and murder, it's not very descriptive so I think this is still an ok book for young readers. It's more a story of overcoming odds and finding something that you care about no matter what. So it is inspiring in that regard. It's a little too fast paced at time, I think this book could have easily been twice as long. And there are some things that wouldn't really happen in reality, but this book is good for escape.

It's an exciting adventure about a horse. There's not much to dislike about that. And for children and even adults revisiting their childhood, this is a good book to read.

The Black Stallion Returns
Copyright 1945
199 pages

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