Sunday 28 April 2019

Horse Warrior

Horse Warrior by Meredih Jaffe (Harbour Publishing House 2018) PB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781922134912

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Horse Warrior is a medieval fantasy for middle-grade readers that delivers a hero’s journey. It starts slowly but really engages the reader with its perils and adventures. Horse lovers will be drawn to this book as the horses are important in the story.

Avenal was a kingdom that was not as safe as it seemed. Maia’s father was a strong and fair ruler of a peaceful, prosperous land. Yet everything changed on the day of the annual horse tournament. On that very day Maia had ridden her pony deep into a valley and met Raven a strange boy who was both mysterious and intriguing. It would be Raven that helps ignite the power Maia has within.

At only eleven-years-old, Maia is a better rider than her older brother and a better shot but she is forbidden to enter the tournament. Dark plans are in place and Maia’s brother is ambushed whilst competing.  This causes a frightening change of events that endangers the lives of all within Avenal. Maia must learn to trust Raven as much as she trusts her pony to save Avenal and undertake a journey far from home full of danger.

The plot is engaging and compelling, attention to detail and knowledge of horses draws the reader in. Maia the protagonist grows with each chapter. The story builds beautifully to a climax at the end that leaves the reader hanging. I am assuming this story will be a part of a series. This is an immersive story for middle-grade readers.

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