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Centauriad #1: Daughter of the Centaurs

Daughter of the Centaurs - Kate Klimo Malora's dream has always been to become a huntress and to ride over the plains with her father and the other hunters, but her tribe (the People) have very strict rules about what men and women should do. One day the Leatherwings (bat-like creatures) attack and kill all the men in the village. While every woman and child in the village mourns, Malora teaches herself to train, mount, ride, and do tricks on her father's horse Sky. She's determined to be prepared in case of another attack. The Leatherwing attacks continue and Malora's mother decides to send her away, instructing her to run to the farthest reaches of the plains. Before Malora goes, her mother warns her of an ancient enemy to the north. Four years pass and though Malora has rounded up an impressive herd of black horses that keep her company, she longs for human company again. So she goes back, only to find her whole village dead in a final Leatherwing attack. Blinded with grief Malora rides hard to the north forgetting about her mother's warning of the People's ancient enemies who live there. She finally meets one of them when she is rescued by Orion Silvermane, a centaur. The world Malora lives in is supposed to be a very distant future of the real world. Meaning you'll read mentions about Romeo and Juliet, The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and even (sigh) Stephenie Meyer. I think it's pretty great how the new, the old, and the fantastical come to blend together in this book. But the one thing that bothers me is that it's never explained how this came to be. Where did all the mythical creatures come from? I liked Malora a lot as a heroine. She is so brave and cunning from the star, and having lived all those years on her own has really made her grow up into an amazing young woman. She's the last human alive, so she decides to take her chances living with the centaurs, though they treat her more like a pet. I kept cheering her on to break some rules, or run away. I hated that she forgot about her horses after everything she said about them being her 'boys and girls.". Also, Malora seems to have some kind of magic in her, though this isn't fully explained or developed.I liked Orion well enough, but not the rest of the centaurs and their frivolous attitudes. Zephele especially wasn't one bit endearing with her incessant chatter about silly things. Centaurs are clearly ashamed of being half horses. They use scents to mask their horsey odor, and use clothes and even boots! I almost put the book down at one point, but then came in Neal Featherhoof...a couple of quotes about him:Neal Featherhoof has a dazzling but dangerous smile. It isn't the incisors, Malora thinks, as much as the mind at work behind the smile.""I am unbearably infatuated," Zephele says without missing a step. "How could I not be? Have you no eyes in your head? Did you see his pectorals and his biceps? The centaur looks as if he were chiseled from marble. Flawless golden marble. And those flanks! Sheer, unadulterated bliss!"Not only is he great to imagine and look at, but he is super caring of the Flatlander centaurs and tons of fun. Sadly he is introduced near the end of the book, so we don't get much time with this charming centaur. One thing I had issue with is that Malora seems to be the same height as the centaurs as she sometimes would put an arm around their shoulders and such. So either she's a giant or the centaurs are pony size. I loved the Twani. They're cat-like people, and like Malora I kept imagining them like Puss in Boots. Sadly they're the servants of the centaurs. I kept waiting for an uprising of the Twani or the Flatlanders, but it just never happens. Overall I feel like this book had great potential with there were too many loose ends. What happened to the Leatherwings of the beginning? How did the mythical creatures came to replace the humans? Where did all the technology and previous buildings go? What is up with Malora's visions? Who is the silver haired, silver eyed stranger of her dreams? I'd sure love to know. *I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*