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Saturday, April 23, 2011

House of the Star by Caitlin Brennan

Summary: The war between Ymbria and Caledon has been a problem throughout the worlds for generations, despite a treaty and numerous marriages between the royal houses of the two worlds. As a princess of Ymbria, Elen has been brought up hating all those of Caledon, her enemy. When her mother tells her she is to be sent to Earth, to the House of the Star, she is furious. As much as she would love to go to the House of the Star, a horse ranch in Arizona, she knows that the real purpose for sending her there is to set her up with a Caledonian prince; it’s what has always happened. Marriage is not her dream; if she goes to Earth, she wants to train to become a worldrider and travel the roads between the worlds as a messenger.

Elen tries to run away, but finds herself practically herded to Earth by a worldrunner, one of the mystical horses that can travel the faerie roads, one of the very beasts that Elen has always dreamed of riding. But how can she enjoy being at the ranch knowing that her dreams will not come true?

Her preconceptions are put to the test when she arrives and meets the other campers at the House of the Star. The camper from Caledon is not a boy, after all, but a young girl who is very much like Elen herself; a girl named Ria whose main dream is to become a worldrider, a girl who loves horses as much as Elen does. But old prejudices are hard to shake, and Elen finds herself at odds with her Caledonian roommate, believing that she has come to the House of the Star for some other underhanded purpose. When her instincts turn out to be somewhat true, Elen and her friends set out to save Ria and a small herd of worldrunners.

This is a fun story and will be a hit with any girls who are fans of fantasy and/or horses. There is very little down-time in the story, but the characters are still developed enough to escape being flat. I wouldn’t mind seeing further books about Elen and Ria and their journey to becoming worldriders.

Overcoming prejudice

Age Appropriateness:
Grades 5 & up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: none
Violence: mild

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