Sunday, August 21, 2011

Book Review: The Centaur's Daughter

Abisina had found a home in Watersmeet – the community her father led until he was killed by the evil White Worm. But now, Watersmeet is as divided as the home she fled as an outcast. The land faces a new threat, and an uneasy alliance between the humans and the creatures will have to be formed to survive. If Abisina doesn’t become the leader that Watersmeet needs, she may lose everything. But can she take her father’s place? This powerful and moving fantasy deals with timely issues about identity, prejudice, and war. It is the sequel to Watersmeet. You can read chapter one here.

I enjoyed The Centaur’s Daughter by Ellen Jensen Abbott even more than Watersmeet, the first book in this trilogy. In Abisina’s homeland, she is outcast for being dark skinned and dark haired. The only reason she is allowed to live is because she is the daughter of a healer. Dwarves, centaurs, fauns, and the like are feared. Abisina had fled from her homeland to Watersmeet, a wonderful land where people of all colors (and races) live in harmony. Along the way her life is saved by dwarves, and she learns that not all creatures are meant to be feared. Except the centaurs she runs into that try to eat her

Once in Watersmeet, she finds her father, the leader of this land… and a centaur. He’s a shapeshifter, and switches between man and centaur. Just when things start to go really well, a war comes upon them, leaving them leaderless, which is where The Centaur’s Daughter picks up. Even with their new leader, they’re falling apart. They are overwhelmed with refugees and leaving to forage becomes too dangerous. Abisina and her closest friends need the help of those in the southern lands. So she makes the dangerous trek back near her homelands.

Despite the fact that this series is fantasy, it relates to real life a lot. Abisina, like any teenager, is lost, trying to find out who she is. She lives in a world where she is treated unfair. Because of her dark skin, she is called “dwarf dirty.” A phrase used similarly to “mudblood” of Harry Potter and any derogatory term in our world. And war… something that has happened in most, if not all, countries at some point in history.

Ellen Jensen Abbott grew up reading The Chronicles of Narnia and is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, both inspiration for this wonderful trilogy. But, as with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien, she also found inspiration in centuries old folklore and mythology. If you’re a fantasy lover, then you’ll enjoy these. I can't wait for book three!


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