VOYA - Barbara Johnston
In the second book of the Centauriad series, Malora, the last of the (human) People, is living on Mount Kheiron with the victorious centaurs and other hibes (combinations of different animals). Malora's dreams indicate that her horse, Sky, is being held captive. Accompanied by the ruler's daughter, Zephele, and others, Malora sets out for Kahiro to find Sky. After an exciting journey, they reach Kahiro, free Sky, and return home. In retaliation, the wild centaurs steal into Mount Kheiron and abduct Zephele. An expedition forms to retrieve her but this mission is fraught with great peril, including an attack by the Leatherwings. Lume (a masculine, human-like winged Wonder) saves Malora. Pressing onward, the brave friends encounter the Beast from Below (shades of the Wizard of Oz), the fire spewing monster, and the frightening Chimera. The successful quest ends with a triumphant celebration. In Klimo's phantasmagoric world, eye-popping mythical creatures and a strong heroine join forces to give readers a thrill-filled adventure. Malora and the ingenious hibes battle ferocious bat-like creatures and frightening other-worldly beasts. The pungent Kahiro marketplace full of exotic animals, gems, and aromatic foods thrills the senses. Throughout the novel, references to writers and ecological problems, such as poaching, add dimension. Finally, protagonist Malora is multi-faceted and likable but she yearns for a partner. In flutters the handsome Lume to add romantic conflict. Although its length may discourage some, the novel's short chapters make it readable, and fantasy readers will clamor for more. Reviewer: Barbara Johnston
The last human must re-enter the wild in order to save her best friends in this meandering sequel in an unremarkable series (Daughter of the Centaurs, 2012). Malora Thora-Jayke (aka Ironbound, Victorious and Resurrected) has traded the bush for a comfortable life in Mount Kheiron, home of the centaurs. Despite her apprenticeship as a blacksmith, her own paddock and the Apex's favor, Malora yearns to find her black stallion, Sky, and the mysterious man of her dreams, Lume. Following a trail of rumors, Malora visits the dangerous city of Kahiro, with her centaur friends--shallow Zephele, stern Neal and curious Orion--and the scholarly faun, Honus, providing both hindrance and help. Going solo, she encounters death, Lume and a band of wild centaurs, but she emerges triumphant, with Sky and a new herd in tow. When Malora's actions bring unexpected consequences, she finds that she must defend her friends from foes, family and mythical monsters. Though Malora boasts impressive survival skills, her contrasting social inexperience allows readers to learn about the world of the hibes (or hybrids), the legacy of the revered Scienticians and the near-extinction of the human race alongside Malora. Klimo tends toward heavy-handed exposition, slow pacing and flat secondary characters; that she excels at describing the physical world and chronicling Malora's emotional growth does not sufficiently compensate for the weaknesses in the story. Another horse book with a trite dystopian twist. (cast of characters, glossary; unseen) (Dystopian fantasy. 12 & up)
From the Publisher
Praise for Centauriad Book 2, A Gathering of Wings
"A Gathering of Wings is an exciting addition to the Centauriad series and Klimo has truly outdone herself!" Lovey Dovey Books Blog
Praise for Centauriad Book 1, Daughter of the Centaurs
VOYA, February 2012:
"The first volume of a trilogy, the novel serves as an introduction to Malora and her world as she discovers and is accepted by the centaur society...[T]he setting is intriguing, and enough pieces are moved into place to entice the reader to return for the next chapter."
Tamora Pierce, bestselling author of Terrier:
"A wonderfully developed world, a determined girl hero, and a rarely covered subject—I was glued to every page."
Esther Friesner, author of Nobody's Princess:
"...takes you to a vividly realized world of wonders, dangers, and adventures with a thrilling conclusion that leaves you eager for more."
The Bulletin, February 2012:
"In the vein of Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword."
Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
In this second book in the “Centuriad” series, readers step into Malora’s futuristic world, where humans are in the minority and half-human and half-animal creatures are the ruling class. Recurring dreams and a sorceress reveal to Malora that her favorite black stallion, Sky, is in distress and is calling her to rescue him. She decides to break the rules and find her beloved horse, no matter what the dangers are. She is strong, clever, and knows the perils she may face, as do her friends. Her friends are centaurs, those half-human half-horse creatures that she has come to respect and admire. The problem is that she has no idea exactly where Sky is, other than far away in the bush. As Malora finds herself among wild creatures that she has never seen before, she and her friends must wear disguises because they may be kidnapped. All the while, her beloved blue-eyed stallion is calling out to her, and she feels this strongly. Suspense is packed into every chapter and a large cast of characters are introduced to the reader. A glossary of terms and places will be helpful to readers. Malora may remind some readers of Katniss Everdeen, especially when she finds that archery comes in handy to defend herself against wily characters that she meets in the bush. Like a cat, she seems to have several lives, and readers will find themselves gasping in admiration of her bravery. Reviewer: Enid Portnoy; Ages 8 to 12.