Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Mass market paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release date: January 24, 2012
Series: Centuriad #1
Source: Review copy from Random House Children's Books
Reviewed by: Jenn
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.
I 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.
For an alternate perspective, check out this post at Popcorn Reads!