Daughter of the Centaurs (Centauriad Series #1) by Kate Klimo
A new character joins the ranks of pwerful, kick-ass heroines such as those written by Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Esther Freisner, and Robin McKinley—Malora Ironbound. A great read also for anyone who loves horses and the Greek myths.
Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.
Kate Klimo has masterfully created a new world, which at first seems to be an ancient one or perhaps another world altogether, but is in fact set on earth sometime far in the future.
KATE KLIMO has two horses of her own and is an avid rider (as well as writer). She is the author of the Dragon Keepers series.
From the Hardcover edition.
Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER 1 Jayke’s Rope
For as long as she can remember, Malora has dreamed of dancing with horses. “Daughter of the Mountains,” Malora’s mother calls her, for her skin and hair are the dusky red-brown of the rocks, and her upturned eyes—so like her father’s—are the vivid blue-green of the nuggets of malachite that dot the streams running down from the peaks. But when Malora hears her-self so called, she frowns. “No!” she insists. “Not the mountains! I am the Daughter of the Plains.” For the horses come from the plains. These are the days when the People occupy the Settlement, a mere one hundred men, women, and children living together in a canyon in the shadow of the mountains that rear up over the plains running to the north. From this canyon, the men ride out on horseback every dawn to hunt, leaving the women to keep the houses and raise the children. Like all the women, Malora’s mother has a secondary job, and hers is healer. She expects her daughter to follow in her footsteps, as she has in those of her own mother, and so on, as far back as any of them can remember, to the time of the Grandparents. Malora is an only child, as well as the sole survivor of a juvenile epidemic that wiped out all the children born within three years of her. Many in the Settlement believe that it was her mother’s skill at healing that saved Malora and, while no one can prove it, her mother’s witchery that killed all the others. Malora knows this to be ridiculous, but it has discouraged her from pursuing the healing arts. Malora’s father, Jayke, is a master horseman, and what she wants, more than anything, is to ride and hunt as he does, wheeling about and charging off, bow and arrows strapped to her back. As fond and indulgent as he is of Malora, Jayke does his best, without being unkind, to discourage this ambition in her. No one knows better than he how dangerous horses and hunting can be. His broad-shouldered, rangy body, with its white scrawl of scars writ large, its litany of broken bones, and its nearly constant com-plaint of aching joints that only his wife’s herbal liniment can satisfy, is testimony to this fact. Malora likes to point to each scar and get him to tell her the story behind it; the stories, after many tellings, are pared down to a kind of point-and-response game: “Horse kick.” “Boar gore.” “Bull elephant tusk.” “Rhino charge.” Malora, a sturdy and independent eleven years old, tags along behind Jayke like a barn cat as he inspects the horses for ticks. “Run along and grind herbs with your mother. Do you want to end up like the Simple One?” he asks her. The Simple One is Aron, whose horse, spooked by an asp, bucked him when he was a child, cracking his skull like an ostrich egg against a sharp rock. Ever since, Aron has been as simple as a five-year-old, though he has retained enough sense to be an adequate stable boy and an oddly fitting companion to Malora. While their actual age difference is fifteen years, she has outsmarted him since she was three. Yet there are things about horses he can still teach her. Things like: “Never feed a horse at the same time every day, Malora. If the horse knows the food is coming, her stomach will start a-boiling and bubbling, and before long she’s burned a big hole in it. If she doesn’t know when the food is coming, her stomach simmers down and she waits.” Or: “Never come up on a horse you don’t know when he is at his feed. He’ll think you’re trying to take it away from him, and he might attack you.” Or: “Never try to catch a horse who is all stirred up. Ignore her for a while and pretty soon she’ll walk right up to you.” “I wouldn’t mind being like Aron,” Malora says to her father. “He gets to sleep with the horses.” “What about Stumpy Eld?” Jayke asks. Stumpy Eld lost the tips of the fingers on one hand to the gnashing teeth of an angry stallion. “He came at the stallion with an open palm,” Malora says. “How many times have you told him never to do that?” And then there is Gar, Jayke’s best friend, whose limp is the result of the lightning-quick kick of a feisty mare. “Horses kick,” Malora says with a world-weary sigh worthy of Jayke. “My point exactly! You can never be too careful around horses,” Jayke says, “and no one can be careful all the time.” “I can be at least as careful as you,” Malora says, indicating with her little finger the head of a tick he has missed. All else having failed, Jayke says, “Look at these brutes,” pointing to the two long rows of bobbing horse heads facing into the stable aisle. As if to illustrate his point, one of them lands a thunderous kick on the side of the stall. “And look at you. How do you expect them to pay you any mind when you’re no bigger than a rabbit?” Malora has seen rabbits streak across the paddock and send the horses into a tail-whipping tizzy until Jayke goes among them and gentles them with his low, steady voice and his large, rough hands with their blunt-tipped fingers. Only Jayke can enter the paddock when they are riled, because he has made himself one of them. He is, in a manner of speaking, the lead horse. One day, the horses will follow her lead the way they do her father’s. Meanwhile, Malora, side by side with Aron, peers through the slats in the training-pen fence and watches Jayke work.
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."
Daughter of the Centaurs 4.7 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book, but not what I was expecting!
More than 1 year ago
Im sorry but on some chapters of the book i just got lost but appart from that it was great i loved the ending i cant wait to read the next book will it say who lemu is? I hope it does
More than 1 year ago
Daughter of the Centaurs was not what I was expecting, but Kate Klimo has made me a believer in centaurs and this futuristic world she's created. Malora is one of the People, possibly the last of the People since everyone she has ever known was killed by ferocious Leatherwings. In an attempt to save her from the same fate, Malora's mother had packed up her favorite horse, Sky, and sent her out into the plains. After some of years wandering around, surviving, growing her herd of horses, Malora comes into contact with the perfect beings: centaurs. Half man, half horse. Orion vouches for Malora, considered to be an Otherian, and she's whisked into their home, Mount Kheiron. Though, there were certain aspects like the 14 edicts that Malora felt restricted her, she fit in well with the centaurs. I felt proud just to be reading her story, and that's how big a difference she made to the centaurs of Mount Kheiron. I actually got a little teary eyed towards the end!
Klimo introduces the centaur society with ease. From what I had heard about Daughter of the Centaurs before reading, I thought I would suffer from confusion or read too much going on at one time. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded because I had no trouble understanding and picturing this fantastical world Malora finds herself participating in. The plot is riddled with danger, fascinating events, and a culture very similar to our own but uniquely different. I thought it was so weird that the centaurs lived life like humans, with a few notable differences of course, but it was all new to Malora who lived primitively in her settlement in the mountains. The centaurs were led by Medon the Apex, who is then ruled by Lady Hylonome, Herself. If it weren't for the strict requirement to follow the Edicts, the separation of prosperous Highland centaurs from the Flatland centaurs, and the dissenting whispers of inequality and poor treatment from the Flatlanders, I would not have considered this story dystopian at all, just fantasy.
Malora was a character with character. She was strong and she knew how to take care of herself, and her horses. I loved the fact that she had such an affinity for horses. Maybe it was Klimo's style of writing, or personal experiences taken to write about these horses, but I was just so captured by the moments when Malora connected with her 'boys and girls'.
There's a bit of a history between centaurs and the People, and whatever other kinds of creatures may be lurking in the shadows of the story, and while Klimo does take a considerate amount of time to establish it I want to know more. Yes, you will find yourself asking many questions about where the centaurs, and even the Twani, originate from but that's the best part of reading Daughter of the Centaurs. It's only the beginning of the Centauriad series and there's opportunity to find out more in it's sequel, A Gathering of Wings!
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
This is really the first book I have found that a story revolves around Centaurs not being mindless rapests, and I loved that twist the author used in making them very peaceful creatures. I would give this book five stars but I grew restless over halfway through the book because nothing really significant had happened since the very begining of the story. It can be said the author was relaying information and hinting at relationships and other occurences during the boring parts so that would leave the story wide open for book two, but still I'm picky in first books and hate getting bored in the story because that is the biggest determining factor in if I will be reading the next book. Naturally I will because the book was ended in a spot where you half to know what happens next! Definetely a good easy read, and worth the few hours it takes to get through it.
More than 1 year ago
Intelligent, intreging, and just awe inspiring! I have read a lot of novels, for a while the quality has wavered, but this is genuine! Thank you to the authors and publishers! I hope very badly for more!
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