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Monday, January 16, 2012

The Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda Benson

The Girl Who Remembered Horses by Linda Benson
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (220 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

In a world that has forgotten the ancient bond between horses and humans, can one girl’s dreams make people remember?

Several generations into the future, Sahara travels with her clan in a barren environment where recyclables are bartered for sustenance, and few remember horses or their connection to humans. But Sahara has recurring visions of riding astride on magnificent animals that run like the wind.

With the help of Evan, a young herder from the Gardener's Camp, Sahara discovers a crumbling book containing pictures of humans riding horses and learns her visions are real. Confronting a group of hunters led by hot-headed Dojo, Sahara rescues a wounded horse, but the animal escapes before it can be tamed.

Sahara is labeled a foolish dreamer and almost gives up her quest. Following horse tracks into a remote ravine, she finds wild dogs attacking a dying mare, and must drive them off in order to save the foal. Now she must attempt to raise the young animal, finally convince her clan of the ancient bond between horses and humans, and learn the secret of her true identity.

Sahara has dreams about animals she’s never seen before. They are magnificent looking, can run like the wind, and she envisions herself riding them. But if she tells anyone about the dreams, they will think she’s crazy.

Ms. Benson picks an intriguing premise for her story line. She places the story in the future, after all cities have been destroyed by a killing flu that crossed the land, and the only survivors behave a lot like the American Indians did long ago. There are nomadic tribes and tribes that stay in one location and grow all the vegetables for the group as well as raise animals. The two tribes share their goods and it keeps them alive and in pretty good health. The author’s words take you to an imaginary world in the future that’s dangerous and unusual and holds your attention as you follow Sahara’s challenges.

The author has made Sahara an individualist, which makes her even more fun to read about. Sahara looks beyond what the tribe has now to what might help them become even more successful. The author also gives Sahara a love interest in the form of Evan, a non-nomadic male who looks after the animals and feels the way Sahara does about them. He’s a good man who cares about Sahara and helps her through rough spots.

Ms. Benson focuses on the people of the times and their emotions. The story would be stronger with more detail of life before the war and an expanded description of how these tribes evolved. The author’s words flow well and her story has realism, so just a bit more detail would have fleshed out the story and helped the reader’s understanding of the situation the tribes faced.

Ms. Benson creates a determined enemy for Sahara. He is a strong, swift hunter who has interest in her older sister and finding food for the tribe. He thinks Sahara is foolish to think horses can be tamed; he just wants to kill one to feed the tribe. Sahara butts heads with him several times and Ms. Benson’s use of this conflict draws you in and makes you care about Sahara.

This is tale of a journey from childhood to a young adult that catches your attention with an interesting plot and plenty of challenges for Sahara. You’ll have to read the book to find out why Sahara knows about horses. You’ll also be glad you did.