House of the Star

House of the Star

4.6 3
by Caitlin Brennan
     
 

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Elen is a princess of the kingdom of Ymbria. Her greatest wish is to become a rider of worldrunners: the magical horses that are the only safe way to travel the roads through the worlds of Faerie. Now Elen has the chance to fulfill her dream at last, but the price is much too high.

To become a worldrider, Elen must journey to the House of the Star on Earth,

Overview

Elen is a princess of the kingdom of Ymbria. Her greatest wish is to become a rider of worldrunners: the magical horses that are the only safe way to travel the roads through the worlds of Faerie. Now Elen has the chance to fulfill her dream at last, but the price is much too high.

To become a worldrider, Elen must journey to the House of the Star on Earth, the Arizona ranch where the worldrunners live and breed. There, she must try to forge a peace with her people's worst enemy—a traitor from the world of Caledon—and end the war that has been tearing their worlds apart for centuries. If Elen doesn't succeed, the Master of the House of the Star will close both Ymbria and Caledon off from the worldroads forever. Can the wisdom of a worldrunner named Blanca help Elen in her quest to save her world?

Caitlin Brennan's first novel for young readers is an enchanting tale of a very special breed of horses, the tribe of horse girls, and faerie magic.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Brennan creates a magical world based around a realistic ranch setting.... Fans of fantasy and horses will find an intriguing premise and a galloping plot.”  —School Library Journal

“The story moves along quickly thanks to high doses of action…. A fast-paced book for horse lovers.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“A fine pick for any fantasy reader or horse fan… Fantasy readers will be thrilled.”  —The Midwest Book Review

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
The mythical worlds of Ymbria and Caledon have been at war for thousands of years. Elen is the daughter of the queen of Ymbria. Elen's mother tells her she must travel to the House of the Star, the Arizona ranch on earth where the worldrunner horses are bred and raised. The worldrunners are the only creatures that can safely travel the roads that connect the mystical kingdoms. Elen loves horses and has long dreamed of being one of the few people allowed to ride the magical horses. The queen is dismayed when Elen refuses to go. Elen fears that she is being used as a pawn, sent to the House of the Star to meet and marry a representative from Caledon. Unwittingly, a bold, beautiful, and intelligent worldrunner named Blanca coerces Elen and brings her to the House of the Star. Here, Elen is shocked to discover that not only is the Caledon representative a girl, but Elen has to share a room with her. This novel has a sometimes complex storyline as the details of Elen's family history slowly emerge. Readers who enjoy the elements of fantasy, however, will find the story unique and intriguing. Reviewer: Denise Daley
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Princess Elen of Ymbria has always wanted to be a rider of a worldrunner-a magical horse that can travel safely on faerie roads between worlds. She is invited to Earth to stay at the House of Star, an Arizona ranch where these animals are bred. The only catch is that someone from the royal family of Caledon has been invited as well. Ymbria and Caledon have been at war for centuries and both worlds could lose access to the faerie roads if the fighting does not stop. Elen fears that the invitation is a trap to make her marry a Caledonian prince, so she runs away. She becomes lost and is saved by a worldrunner named Blanca who takes her to the House of Star where she discovers that the object isn't marriage, but friendship, and that the Caledonian prince is a princess. Elen immediately distrusts Princess Ria and is determined to prove that she is up to something. The two guests bunk with Sara, a girl from Earth who tries to help them get past centuries of hate and prejudice. Can their mutual love of horses save their kingdoms from destruction? Brennan creates a magical world based around a realistic ranch setting. The two main characters are complex and avoid the common clichés about princesses. Fans of fantasy and horses will find an intriguing premise and a galloping plot.—Samantha Larsen Hastings, Riverton Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews

When Princess Elen of Ymbria unwillingly arrives at summer camp on a magical horse, she brings three things with her: a talisman, a book of maps and centuries of hostility toward the rival world of Caledon. Her hostility drives much of the book; insults and insensitivities quickly escalate into a feud between Elen and Ria, Caledon's representative at Rancho Estrella (House of the Star) in Arizona. After several chapters of horse-grooming and Elen's unremitting resentment, Ria takes a "worldrunner" (a horse that can travel between worlds) and endangers all the pregnant worldrunner mares. The story moves along quickly thanks to high doses of action—the last quarter of the novel is a page-turner—but the plot is thin and the characters' dialogue is exposition-heavy. Much depends on Elen's fortuitous eavesdropping and Brennan's willingness to create loopholes in previously established rules. The concept of the worldroad and Elen's encounters with the wonderfully imagined Horned King save this from being a hackneyed tale of warring kingdoms and telepathic horses. A fast-paced book for horse lovers and not-yet-sophisticated readers of high fantasy. (Fantasy. 10 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429947855
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
11/09/2010
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,215,037
File size:
235 KB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


Chapter 1

Between the lake of fire and the river of ice, Elen faced the truth. She was lost. The road that had been so wide and straight when she began had dwindled into the faint line of a footpath. Now even that was gone. Her stolen map showed neither the world ahead nor the world behind. Whenever she tried to turn back, the baying of hounds sent her stumbling forward again.

As the road melted away to nothing in front of her, the hounds’ cries faded away. She stood on the barren hillside, exhausted and footsore and weak with hunger and thirst. Long hours ago when there was still a road to follow, she had stumbled as she ran, and a bone-white hound had sprung upon her. Its snapping jaws had torn the pack of provisions from her back and the talisman from around her neck, the worn silver medallion that should have guided and protected her.

She pressed her hands to her eyes. The ice had frozen the tears, and the fire had burned them away. She kept seeing things on the edge of vision, skeletal horses and ghostly riders, watching, hovering, making no sound. Sometimes, if she slanted her glance just so, she saw the one who led them: a tall shape with a crown of spreading antlers. His eyes on her were dark and still.

Above her, winged things circled, waiting for her to fall. Those, she saw clearly. They looked as small as songbirds, but one had come down when she first stumbled onto the hill, and its wings had shadowed the whole of the summit.

It tilted its scaly head and fixed her with a cold yellow eye, and clashed its long hooked beak. She tensed to run, as if anything could escape that monstrous thing, but it turned and beat upward in a swirl of leathery wings.

Its stench nearly felled her—and it told her why the creature waited. It fed on dead things. She was alive.

It would wait, its eye had said.

She was not going to die. She clung to that. She was going to live.

In her head she held a picture of a barn, a pasture, a herd of horses. It was green and quiet, peaceful—safe. She only had to find it.

“You will go,” the queen had said to Elen a day or an eon ago, far away in Ymbria.

Her gown was the color of the night sky, scattered with gems like stars, and her crown was set with a white stone like the moon. She was tall and dark and terrible, and her will was as strong as cold iron.

Elen was dusty and muddy and covered with a spring mantle of horse hair; her thick black hair was snarled half out of its braid. The queen’s summons had brought her up from the stables with no time to stop or bathe or make herself presentable.

She faced the royal majesty with great respect and perfectly equal stubbornness. “I can’t.”

“This is not a matter of can or will,” said the queen. “This is must.”

Elen shook her head. “No. I won’t go.”

The queen took off her crown and laid it on a table. Its weight had marked her forehead deeply, but when she rubbed it, Elen could see that the ache came from deeper inside. “Why, daughter? This has been your dream since you were old enough to clamber up on a pony. Now you can have it. You can travel to Earth, live in the House of the Star, spend your days with and care for and even, gods willing, ride the only creatures that can travel safely along the worldroads. Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”

“I want to be a worldrider,” Elen said. “I want it with all my heart. But if I do what you are trying to make me do, that’s not what I’ll get. You’re trying to pretend it’s about the horses, but it’s not. It’s about the same war that has torn us apart for thousands of years, and it will be just as useless as all the other attempts to make it stop. I’m to go to Earth, meet the king’s son from Caledon, and let myself be forced to marry him. The worldrunners are just a bribe to get me there.”

The queen sank down into the chair beside the table. The silk of her gown rustled; the jewels and the pearls rattled against the carved wood of the chair. “No one will force you to marry anyone,” she said. “This invitation comes from Earth. You only need to go, join a group of young people in the House of the Star, ride and care for their horses, live on Earth for a season, and see what comes of it. That’s all. How is that so difficult?”

Elen shook her head so hard her braid gave way altogether and sent her hair tumbling down over her back and shoulders. “Don’t you understand? It can’t be that simple. Friendship, Earth said. Mutual understanding. Liking, if possible, between royal offspring of the two most relentless enemies in all the worlds. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Doesn’t it sound too easy for words?”

“It doesn’t sound easy at all,” the queen said. “It sounds like a challenge worthy of the greatest of our heroes: to meet a Caledonian face to face, and learn to forget our whole long history of hatred, and make a friend. Horses are the key, says the Master of the Star. Earth is neutral ground, and the horses from whose stock the worldrunners come are creatures of such power and wonder in their own right that even he can’t tell us what they may decide to do. But he is willing to trust them. And so, perforce, are we.”

Horses of any kind, let alone worldrunners, were a great lure and attraction, and Elen wanted them desperately. But this was too cruel a lie for her to bear. She cried out against it. “But that’s not true! There’s got to be something else they’re not saying. Some thing they want, that we’ll find out if I get there. Some plan they’re keeping secret. You know what it has to be. They want Ymbria and Caledon bound together—and how does that ever get done? By royal marriage. I’d rather not have the horses at all than have them for a few days and then see them taken away, either because I’ve been hauled off into Caledon, or because I refuse and have been sent back home, and the worldroads have been closed forever to anyone from Ymbria.”

“Caledon, too,” the queen said, “if it comes to that. Which I hope it will not. But, Elen, you must understand. This is the last chance. The other worlds along the roads have had enough of our fighting that spills over onto them and does them such terrible damage. Faerie itself has lost patience. The Horned King and his deadly Hunt would have closed us off well before this if Earth had not spoken for us. We need what the roads bring us: trade and knowledge and the arts and magic and medicines that heal our sick and nourish our land and make our crops grow richer and stronger to feed our people. Without those things, we wither and die.”

“I know that!” Elen said. “I just can’t do this. I can’t. I’m not the kind of person you need. Why don’t you send Margali? All she cares about is boys and dresses and more boys. She would be perfectly happy to attach herself to a royal Caledonian, as long as he has a pretty face and a large fortune.”

“Elen!” the queen said. Her tone was like a slap. “Horses make your sister ill, and horses are a requirement. You love them more than anyone else in this family. I had thought you loved Ymbria, too.”

Those were terrible words. Elen flinched.

“You leave in the morning,” her mother said. “Be ready to ride.”

Elen was dismissed. She opened her mouth to refuse, but what could she say that she had not already said?

People were clamoring at the door. The royal council was meeting—again. Messengers were lined up six deep, each with an urgent dispatch that the queen must answer immediately. Elen was keeping them all from getting their work done.

“Lying, treacherous, murdering monsters,” she muttered as she trudged back to the stables. “Never trust a Caledonian. Never give him your horse or your hound or, by all you hold holy, your daughter. No one knows that better than Mother. Why does she even try?”

Elen brought out her favorite mount, the spotted pony, whose name was Brychan. He was fresh and eager and delighted to see his saddle, though the day was getting on and the sky was spitting sleet. No one was there to stop her: the stablehands were all at dinner, having fed the horses and tucked them in for the night.

She meant to set her mind in order while she rode, and somehow bring herself to face what she had to do. Her mother would be terribly disappointed. That hurt. But the more she thought about doing this thing, even for Ymbria, even for her mother, the less she could stand it.

There were others who could go, who could tolerate both horses and, within limits, Caledon; who would not be devastated when the real plan came out and the promise of worldrunners proved to be a lie. Elen did not see how it could be true. Nothing that Caledon agreed to could ever be anything but treacherous.

“There’s no good reason it has to be me, and every reason it shouldn’t be,” Elen said to the pony’s ears.

They flicked in response; he tossed his shaggy mane and bucked lightly. She loosened rein and let him go.

The wind cut sharp and keen. The sleet stung her cheeks. The ground was solid underfoot—which was not always true in these days of endless war and renegade magics. The storm was perfectly mortal and ordinary, and because of that, it was wonderful.

The pony bucked and plunged across the field, then straightened into a steady canter. She aimed him toward the band of trees that edged the far pasture.

It was quiet out here. All the rush and bustle and uproar of the royal house was behind her, calming down a little with the approach of evening, but it would never be completely calm. The woods were dark already, silent but for the rattle of sleet and the soft hiss of wind in the icy branches.

Brychan halted so suddenly that Elen nearly pitched over his head. His ears nearly touched at the tips, quivering with alertness. He blew out a ferocious snort.

Out of the shadows of the wood, down a track that had never been straight before and might never be straight again, a great white horse came striding. All the light that was left in the world gathered in that long arched nose and that tall, solid body and those deep wise eyes. They looked into Elen’s for a moment that stretched into forever, and for that moment she saw herself on the wide white back, wearing a broad-brimmed hat and a long dark coat and tall black boots.

That was a worldrunner. It was a mare, Elen saw as she cantered past, as light on those big round feet as a much smaller horse. Her rider, who was dressed just as Elen had been in the dream or vision or heartfelt wish, took no notice of the girl on the pony. But the grey mare did. She noticed, and she remembered.

Tears streamed down Elen’s face, freezing in the wind. In all the years she had seen worldrunners come and go, none of them had ever looked straight at her and recognized her, and said to the deepest part of her heart, You. I know you. I know everything about you, everything you are or ever wanted to be.

She wanted this more than anything. She wanted it so much, it made her heart pound and her throat lock and her eyes go dark. But now she realized what she wanted, and it was so much more, so much deeper and stronger than she had ever dreamed, that she could hardly breathe.

It was too much. Elen who was afraid of nothing, who could leave the boldest of her brothers crying in the dirt while she dared to climb the highest tree or ride the wildest horse, was terrified. If she was right and her mother was wrong, and Earth’s offer was a lie and she would have her chance at worldrunners for a little while only to lose it all for Ymbria’s sake, that would be grievous. But if she got it—if after all she could get and keep this enormous, amazing, wonderful, profoundly frightening thing, could she even begin to be good enough for it?

Elen the brave, Elen the obstinate, Elen the royal princess of Ymbria, turned her spotted pony on his haunches and fled from the thing she wanted most in any world.

Elen rode Brychan back to the stables in a blur of wind and sleet and almost-panic. The part of her that was a horse girl knew enough not to run the pony off his feet, so that by the time he reached the barn and the sleet turned to snow, he had cooled down.

She was calmer now, the kind of calm that lies at the heart of a storm. All the fears and doubts and horrors still swirled around her, but she took care of Brychan as if none of them existed. She rubbed him as dry as she could, covered him with a blanket and fed him a hot mash and left him in peace.

Her own dinner was waiting. She was not hungry at all. She could not face her mother or the rest of her family or, worst of all, the worldrider. Not tonight.

She had a plan now. She knew what she had to do. It did not matter if what she did was reasonable or sensible or even sane. She had to do it. That was all.

She made a show of shutting herself in her room and calling for a tray from the kitchen. When it came, she ate everything on it, no matter how her stomach rebelled.

Her mind was made up. She would go—but not to Earth. Once she was out of the way, someone else could be chosen to do this great and terrible thing. Someone better; more willing. Someone who really was strong enough.

Elen would find sanctuary far down the worldroad, with horses and pasture and a stable where she could earn her keep. The worlds were full of such places. Every world had horses or some kind of animal like them, though only Earth had worldrunners. Worldrunners could be born nowhere else; no one who had tried to change that had ever succeeded.

As for how she would get away from Ymbria without a worldrunner, that was the difficult part; but Elen’s head was full of stories. In some of them, especially the oldest ones, a person with a firm will and a clear image in her mind could make the worldroads lead her where she wanted to go. It helped if she had something to focus on, a jewel or a map or a talisman. But she could do it.

Elen had the will. She could find a map of the worldroads. She knew where there was a talisman, though it was old and worn and had no magic left in it. She even had a destination. It was a world called Hesperia, where the sweetest apples came from, and a cordial that could heal the heart’s ills. She had met a girl from there once, a horse girl like her, who had been traveling with her father to trade apples for the sweet spices and the fine horses of Ymbria.

Irena might have forgotten Elen long ago, but Elen had always remembered the place Irena had described, to which the three geldings and the one bay mare were to go. It was a place of wide rolling meadows and little streams, and grass as rich as any in the worlds.

Surely they would need a stablehand there, or even a trainer. Or somewhere nearby would welcome such a person. Anywhere that had horses, really, except Earth itself, would do.

Macsen the librarian was asleep in the palace library, face down in a book, snoring. An army could have invaded and he would barely have stirred.

There was no one else among the shelves and tables and chests of books so old that some of them had been written before worldrunners came to Ymbria. The book of maps that Elen needed was on a shelf up near the high ceiling; it needed a ladder and a far stretch that nearly sent her tumbling to the floor, but she recovered it and herself with no bones broken. With the book lying heavy and solid in the pocket of her coat, she trod softly toward the far end of the room.

Tall glass cases gleamed in the dimness. They were full of interesting oddments, lesser treasures and bits of history that were not so precious that they needed to be hidden away in the royal treasury. Among the tarnished trophies and the coins of ancient realms hung a medallion on a faded ribbon. It looked like a silver coin rubbed smooth with age. On one side was the image of a nine-spoked wheel. Elen had never seen the other: it was hidden against the back of the case.

Her breath came hard as if she had been running a race. The lock on the case was sealed with a spell, but the steel of Elen’s lock-pick broke it with a pop and a spark. The pick, which had begun life as a hairpin, leaped out of Elen’s fingers. She hissed in startlement and shook them hard: they throbbed and stung.

Gingerly she retrieved the hairpin. It was harmless again, and so was the lock.

Some skills that Elen’s more interesting friends had taught her were more useful than others, though her mother might not agree about this one. She opened the case as quietly as she could, darting glances at Macsen, who had not moved a muscle in all that time.

The contents of the case had no such spell on them as had warded the lock. The medallion felt like ordinary silver, cool and smooth; its back was covered with writing too faded and worn to read. Legend said that such baubles had held enormous power once. If that was true, this one had lost the last of it long ago.

Still, along with the book of maps, it was the best chance Elen had to fulfill her plan, short of stealing a worldrunner—and she was not quite crazy enough to do that. She hung the talisman around her neck, tucking it into her shirt. It was cold against her skin, but it warmed slowly as she made her soft-footed way past Macsen and out of the library.

The cooks were so busy with dinner that they barely noticed the bits of bread and meat and fruit and cheese that Elen plucked from passing bowls and platters. The hardest part was taking it all and packing it in a knapsack and walking away from the only home she had ever known.

She had to do it. She kept telling herself that.

She went on foot. Brychan would have carried her; he was brave and he loved her. But she could not do it to him. He was no worldrunner; he was not born and bred to travel the worldroads.

She went out alone into the storm. Her mind was set on the road she needed to find and the place where she wanted to go. The medallion proved useful after all: it helped to serve as a focus. She could see her starting point as the wheel’s hub, and the track she needed as one of the spokes. She was careful not to let her vision waver, and not to get distracted.

She could have taken one of the roads that ran straight out from the palace itself, but that was too public, even at night and in a snowstorm. Instead she went back to the place where she had first seen the white mare.

The worldroad was still there, as if it waited for the mare to come back to it. If Elen had been paying close enough attention, she would have been suspicious, but it took most of her strength of will to keep her mind fixed on what she needed to do and where she needed to go.

Worldroads were things of Faerie, of wild and untamed magic, and like all wild magic, they were full of snares and deceptions. Elen was too busy keeping her wish in her mind to notice much else. She only had to stay on the straight track, she told herself, and take care to know, all the way down to the bone, where she wanted to go.

Worlds like pearls strung on a string, oases of order and safety and, mostly, peace, surrounded by the wildness that was Faerie. Far down the string from Ymbria, and far away from either Earth or Caledon, a world called Hesperia. Far, fair, and green. And horses. Above all, horses.

Instead, the road gave her ice and fire and a pack of harrying hounds, and cast her on a hillside in Faerie, in the most dangerous and treacherous of all realms that were.

She would die here. Her soul would wander the borderlands of Faerie forever, lost and forgotten. She would never see her mother or her people or her world again.

After a moment or an hour or an age, hooves clattered on stone. Elen lowered her hands from her eyes, blinking. The light of this place was dazzling bright and yet had no source: no sun or moon or star.

The shape that loomed over her was as white as the sky. It lowered its long head and warmed her with its sweet-scented breath. She was safe now, it said without words: a feeling so deep it sank all the way to the bottom of her. She wrapped her arms around the grey mare’s neck and clung for her life’s sake.

The mare was alone. She wore no saddle or bridle and carried no rider. Still, there was no mistaking that tall and massive body or that strong arched profile with its dark, wise eye.

Elen looked into that eye and found the mare’s name there. It came to Elen first as a feeling: a sense of snow and clouds and peaceful whiteness. The word that described that feeling was an Earth word, and it was a name: Blanca.

“Blanca,” Elen said. Her voice was as raw as her throat. “Please. Take me—”

The rest would not come as words. She held the image of the horses and the pasture and the world called Hesperia inside her head, and hoped that Blanca could see it, too.

Blanca knelt. Mount, that meant.

Elen took a breath to steady her hammering heart. The confusion of doubt and fear that had driven her away from the mare and from Ymbria was still there, but the terror of Faerie was stronger. She wound her fingers in Blanca’s mane and swung her leg over the broad white back. When she was secure, the mare surged upright.

Elen was in Blanca’s power now. All she could do was hold on and hope.

When Blanca strode out, there was a road under her feet, straight and clear through the wilds of Faerie. Elen dared not loose her death grip on Blanca’s mane to hunt in her pocket for the book of maps. Blanca was a worldrunner; she must know where to go.

Elen held fast to her vision of Hesperia. Blanca moved from a walk into a long-strided, smooth but powerful canter. The hills of Faerie rolled past, soft and green at first, but growing sharper and more jagged as the road ran on. The light never changed; time passed, it must, but there was no way to judge how fast or how slow it was passing.

With a worldrunner under her, Elen had nothing to fear. No hounds stalked her. No skeletal Hunt haunted the road behind her.

Blanca’s calm washed over Elen. The mare knew where she was going, and she fully expected to get there, safe and whole and with her rider still on her back.

Elen had always been able to feel what horses were feeling, and mostly she could guess what they were thinking. They did most of their talking with their bodies, with the slant of an ear or the turn of a head or the wrinkle of a nostril.

This was like that, but it was stronger than anything Elen had felt before. What had scared her in Ymbria, and what still made it hard to get enough air into her lungs, was how right it felt. This big white creature belonged here, striding along under her, taking her where she needed to go. One moment, Elen had been her sturdy and in de pen dent self, riding any horse she could get a leg over, loving a few and liking most of them. The next, she had found herself so much a part of Blanca that she could hardly tell where she left off and the mare began.

Blanca seemed perfectly comfortable with that. Elen had never been raised or taught to expect it. None of the stories talked of any such thing. Worldriders were riders and messengers, trained to navigate the worldroads on the backs of worldrunners. Worldrunners were a particular strain of horses from Earth, who had to be born there and could not be born or bred elsewhere. People had tried it over and over; the best they could hope for was that the mares never got in foal at all. If they did, the foals died, or were born so twisted and broken that they could not survive.

Elen squeezed her eyes shut. This was doing her no good at all. She had to stop panicking over the horse and remember where she was going. Hesperia. Pastures. Horses.

Blanca’s canter slowed. The air around Elen was distinctly hotter. The light through her eyelids was piercingly bright. She smelled dust and heat and something sharp and pungent that had a distinct aura of green. She opened her eyes.

This was not Hesperia, unless Hesperia had gone to desert since Elen last heard of it. These pastures were not even slightly green. The trees that dotted them were low and gnarled. Mountains rose steep and jagged above them to an achingly blue sky.

HOUSE OF THE STAR Copyright © 2010 by Caitlin Brennan

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Brennan creates a magical world based around a realistic ranch setting.... Fans of fantasy and horses will find an intriguing premise and a galloping plot.”  —School Library Journal

“The story moves along quickly thanks to high doses of action…. A fast-paced book for horse lovers.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“A fine pick for any fantasy reader or horse fan… Fantasy readers will be thrilled.”  —The Midwest Book Review

Meet the Author

CAITLIN BRENNAN is the author of a dozen acclaimed novels, including The Mountain's Call, Song of Unmaking, and Shattered Dance. A graduate of Yale and Cambridge University, she holds degrees in ancient and medieval history, and breeds Lipizzan horses at Dancing Horse Farm, her home in Vail, Arizona.


Caitlin Brennan is the author of a dozen acclaimed novels, including The Mountain's Call, Song of Unmaking, and Shattered Dance. A graduate of Yale and Cambridge University, she holds degrees in ancient and medieval history, and breeds Lipizzan horses at Dancing Horse Farm, her home in Vail, Arizona.

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House of the Star 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Princess Elen of Ymbria dreams of one day becoming a rider of the Worldrunners. These horses are the only safe means of traveling Faerie and traversing the multi worlds. To achieve her personal goal, she must go to earth to be trained. Though she knows that if she leaves Ymbria she will anger her family, but to not attempt achieving her dream she will anger herself. Elen arrives at the House of the Star ranch in Arizona. Although her personal quest is horse-riding training, she also has a secret official mission. While at the ranch she must meet with her peoples' enemy in hopes of forming an alliance. Her chances are slim, but with the guidance of the Worldrunners, she may succeed at both tasks. This is a terrific coming of age fantasy as the heroine wants to choose how she lives her life, but being a princess her choices are limited by family decree. Still she rebels only to find herself caught in disputes not of her making. Young adult sub-genre fans will enjoy riding along side heroic Elen as her refrain is the Sinatra tune, My Way. Harriet Klausner