Today’s review is Horse Charmer by Angelia Almos.
I found this book through an email when it was having a free day. The picture and premise really called to my 10-year-old horse, crazy self and I grabbed it. It’s the story of a princess (Cassia) who’s father dies, leaving her kingdom in chaos. Under the direction of her mother, she travels to a neighboring kingdom to learn more about her father’s death and honor the last treaty he signed for her to marry the prince there. But, of course, things aren’t what they seem and she escapes before the wedding to get to the bottom of her father’s death. Meanwhile, she discovers a connection with her horse and throughout her journey learns more and more about her power of being a horse charmer.
This book left me with a lot of questions. Now, some books are meant to do that, but I don’t think this type should. The beginning was slow, but I saw potential with the premise and kept with it. And all I got were more questions. Why didn’t she enlist the help of the prince (who was obviously questioning their betrothal)? Why didn’t she ask Luki (the horse wrangler she was in love with) to go on the journey with her in the first place? Why, when she needed information, but was concerned about being recognized didn’t she send one of her escorts to ask the questions, instead of strutting in herself? Why did every horse who she learned to talk to (through thoughts) suddenly become smarter, one even developing a sense of vengeance? And, above all, why didn’t I get an ending!? The story leaves so many questions, and, no it isn’t the first in a series, it’s a stand alone. I checked. The princess suddenly declares war, escapes the other kingdom, admits her feelings to the wrangler, and decides to ascend to the thrown. So, I’m left not knowing how this war is going to go, or even if it is going to happen, not knowing how in the heck she plans on making her relationship work, and not knowing how such a misguiding girl is going to lead.
If the writing was ridiculously beautiful, I might have been able to overlook some of that. But it wasn’t. The sentences were clunky and didn’t vary at all in length. I kept having to force myself to pick this up. I felt like I didn’t get enough credit as a reader. For example, I didn’t need to know that she had to be careful not to be caught when sneaking out, yet I was told. I will admit (from a grammar standpoint) the book was edited well. I also thought the premise was interesting and had a lot of potential, but this just didn’t meet it. Maybe when I was 10, I would have enjoyed it, and maybe that’s the true audience here. So, if you have a younger, horse crazy daughter, this just might be the book for her. Hopefully, she’ll enjoy it more than I did since all reading is subjective. Happy reading, my friends!