Rating: Hated (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
When I saw this book was by the author of Guardians of Ga'Hoole, I figured it would be good. I hadn't read Guardians, but I thought I had heard good things about it, and it had had a movie made of it (which I also hadn't seen), so I had hopes that Horses of the Dawn would be good.
Oh how wrong I was.
I love talking animal stories, but the biggest sin one can make while writing them is to make the animals be nothing but humans in animal shape. This book could not have done that more if it had set out to do that. (WHY, author? Why would you do that? Why write about animals, then make them not animals?)
Nothing in this book made sense:
- The horses had never been on a ship before, but they knew technical names for items on it and the ship itself.
- The horses were kept in slings, their hooves barely touching the ground. One horse gave birth, and they took the foal away immediately, before it could nurse even once, and put it into a sling. They kept it there for the first month+ of its life, taking it down only once or twice a day to hold it up while it nursed.
- The horses were thrown overboard. The foal who had never once even stood up under her own power swam a league (3.4 miles) to get to an island. (Yes, swimming would be easier than standing, but still. She wouldn't have developed the muscles to be able to swim far! Plus when they got to the island, she had no problem at all walking, running, and keeping up with the other horses.)
- While the horses were swimming, a shark attacked them. A single shark. It killed and ate the foal's mother. No other sharks showed up.
- Once they reached the land, a jaguar attacked the horses. It pounced on one, hard enough to knock it down, and was biting it... until a pair of parrots drove it off, leaving the horse with nothing but the shallowest of cuts from where one of the claws caught her skin...
There were more minor annoying things too, like even in the blurb of the book, the author kept calling a group of horses a 'pack'. "All but one -- the ghost horse, the leader of the pack."
I really should have given up on this book immediately instead of pushing myself to hit the 50% mark so I could count it. It was just bad, bad, bad. I'd rate it lower than 'hated' if I could.
Currently reading: Ebon Moon by Dennis McDonald. A story about werewolves (supposedly).