Saturday, October 18, 2014

ARC Review: Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

Centaur Rising
Author: Jane Yolen
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (October 21, 2014)

Description: One night during the Perseid meteor shower, Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family’s horse farm. About a year later, one of their horses gives birth to a baby centaur. The family has enough attention already as Arianne’s six-year-old brother was born with birth defects caused by an experimental drug—the last thing they need is more scrutiny. But their clients soon start growing suspicious. Just how long is it possible to keep a secret? And what will happen if the world finds out?

At a time when so many novels are set in other worlds, Jane Yolen imagines what it would be like if a creature from another world came to ours in this thoughtfully written, imaginative novel, Centaur Rising.

My Thoughts: CENTAUR RISING was a sweet story that combined historical fiction with fantasy and a very engaging way. Thirteen-year-old Arianne lives on a horse farm with her mother and her younger brother Robbie. Robbie is six and a thalidomide baby who was born with grave physical deformities. He doesn't have a pelvis his hands which are fused together grow out of his elbows. There is nothing wrong with his brains, though. He is full of six-year-old jokes.

They get up in the night one August to watch the Perseid meteor showers and Arianne sees an unusual flash of light. Some time later they learn that their elderly pony Agora is pregnant. When she gives birth almost a year later, her baby is a centaur. The family and their vet Dr. Herks immediately decide to keep the birth a secret. But secrets have a way of getting out.

In the quiet before they do, the family watches the centaur they've named Chiron, but call Kai, grow and learn and bond with them all. Kai quickly grows through the stages of babyhood and toddlerhood. Then he is discovered and many, including the rock star father who abandoned the family after Robbie was born, are eager to exploit him. It takes good planning and lots of love and luck to come up with a way to protect Kai but still give him a purpose.

Yolen interweaves information about therapy horses and information about Greek gods into this engaging story. But the core of the story is about love. Fans of horses and fantasies will enjoy this delightful story.

Favorite Quote:
By the time Kai was in his stall, the house and barn lights were blazing. Martha was there with her pitchfork, her nightgown flapping about her boots. Mom had taken up guard duty in front of Kai's stall, holding on to a rolling pin I didn't even know we owned. 
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

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