This time out with the Pony Whisperer, the talking horses don't have all that much to say.
Rising continues the adventures of Pia, who, thanks to a statue of the Roman goddess Epona, can converse with horses. Travelers—British for gypsies—have encamped near the stables where Pia keeps her pony, Drummer.Their brutal treatment of young racehorses leads Pia to help one traveler girl, Jazz,and her horse run away. Oddly enough, as soon as she's found Jazz a place to hide, Pia disappears from the action—she goes to visit her dad, and by the time she comes back, Jazz has reconciled with her family and claims all is well. Pia's magical talent is not important to the plot, which flounders. Are the horses really being abused? Is Jazz? The ending offers no resolution: the travelers leave with these questions unanswered.The first-person narrative is breezy andfast-paced, and Piais an appealing character, but the rest of the boarders at the stable are settling into stereotypes—the catty girl, the airhead, the handsome, pony-loving boy. With series fiction one doesn't hope for much, but the first books in this series promised more (The Word on the Yard, 2009, etc.).
Still, easy-enoughfun for horse-crazy girls.(Animal fantasy.9-13)