Saturday, June 19, 2010
"Eclipsed by Shadow" by John Royce
"Eclipsed By Shadow" is actually Book One in a trilogy, titled "The Legend of the Great Horse." And holy cow, I can definitely see why this needs to be a trilogy. Quite a lot of interesting plot, way too much to be contained in one book.
Disclaimer: I received this book, and this book only, in exchange for a review. The book was posted on the Member Giveaways section, part of Librarything.com's Early Reviewers program.
Type: YA fiction, Time Travel, Fantasy/Magical
From the back of the book: " Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of an exciting new trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through the ages when horses were everyday companions in work, war, sport and spectacle. The story is told through the eyes of a young woman, a horse-crazy teenager traveling through time with a knowledge of 21st Century horsemanship as her only defense. "
Well, wow, the back of the book really doesn't do this series justice. It makes the whole story sound flippant and childish, even. But really, I found this book to be far more powerful than the blurb. Yes, we do follow a young girl (she's 15 through most of the book), and yes, she does travel through time, but these aren't easy things Meagan is dealing with. And despite the young age of the main character, I'm not sure I would give this book to a fifteen year old.. unless he or she was very mature. There are definitely some harsh moments in "Eclipsed by Shadow." Not to give too much away, but death, rape, slavery, beatings, etc, are all issues Meagan has to see and live in fear of. All this lends to a very powerful and thrilling tale, definitely, but this book should definitely not be taken lightly.
As mentioned, Meagan does travel through time, in this book alone visiting several periods through History, and I'm sure even more in the sequels. As a bit of a History nerd, I was in love with the accurate details during each time period. A lot of research went into the writing of this trilogy, and I think the author should definitely be commended for it. The language was well done - Meagan didn't just understand everyone she met. In fact, her first several stops on the way, no one spoke English, and she had to find some way to get by without knowing the language. The settings seemed perfectly done, and even the people and their actions fit each time period perfectly.
You could also tell this book was written by a horse lover, knowledge of the breeds, rituals, and the connection one feels to horses is obvious throughout. I rode for several years (missing it almost every day), and I was amazed at the details that were mentioned. Even something as simple (or so most people would believe) as grooming is mentioned in perfect detail, with each type of brush, and the order. It may seem a little information-heavy, but I think it helps to show how attached and connected Meagan feels to the great beasts.
I'll be honest, when the "Legend of the Great Horse" was told to Meagan in the beginning, I thought it was a little cheesy. In fact, several of the beginning chapters weren't really all that amazing. The prose and descriptions were well done, but it wasn't horribly interesting... I actually thought I'd get aggravated with Meagan quickly. But once Meagan's real journey began, I was positively enthralled. Meagan definitely showed her true colors, her spirit and her willingness to fight for herself and those she cared about.
I'm going to give "Eclipsed By Shadow" a FIVE out of FIVE. I truly think this book deserves such a good rating - the History was accurately done, even down the smallest detail, the journey is amazing, and Meagan really rose to each occasion she was thrown into. I do hope to find the rest of this series and continue reading them, and I hope everyone checks out "Eclipsed by Shadow" by John Royce.
For more information about The Legend of the Great Horse, visit the series website at TheGreatHorse.com
~!~ Morning Glow