UltraQuikReview – The Mountain’s Call – Caitlin Brennan

n183034The good: The writing style is engaging and workmanlike, and the plot is too, initially. The author is an actual horse person–she breeds and trains Lipizzaners. It definitely shows. She’s also a history buff. That also shows, although not to the extent of belaboring the work. There is a pleasant tinge of depth to her worldbuilding and a nicely-tuned amount of forethought in her Imperial-barbarian relationships; but that’s as far as it goes. Likewise, the characters themselves have a certain amount of verisimilitude.

And let it be noted that I read at least two thirds of the entire book before I started skimming.

The bad: there’s too much book for too little plot, especially since a good 80% of that plot is: “but girls can ride horses too!” More, Valeria only just misses being a Mary Sue because she does have some depth and she does struggle for what she gets. Still, being constantly told that she is THAT SPECIAL, look the horses like her! gets annoying after the first half-dozen times. Valeria not being the POV character would have helped; having one of the other trainees, or even one of the other Riders give a jaundiced but educated view of what is going on, would have made things more interesting. Kerrec is also not a great POV, because he’s rather too cliche: heroic, love interest, prince who has forsaken his birthright, strictly disciplined but highly passionate, etc.

I’d recount the plot at this point but really…it’s gets more boring and less worthwhile the more I think about it. Girl. Magic Mountain. Untamed god-horse stallion. Girl saves world by riding horse. The end.

Rated: I may have spent half an hour soaping down an old saddle after reading this…

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