Friday, May 6, 2011

Review - The Golden Spark by John Allen Royce

The Legend of the Great Horse continues....

The Golden Spark

TITLE:    The Golden Spark
AUTHOR:    John Allen Royce
INFO:    Paperback, Fiction, 249 pages
PUBLISHED:   Micron Press, 2011
SOURCE:   Received from Author for Review

  A modern teenager is carried back into history by her Great Horse of legend, and uses her knowledge of horsemanship to survive humanity's past. Engaging and fast-paced adventure entertains with excitement, humor and a colorful cast of accurately-portrayed historical characters from the European Renaissance.

MY TAKE:    I love reading books in an outstanding series, although I do hate the wait when a new installment is coming out.  THIS new book was very, very much worth the wait.  Now I'm anxiously awaiting the third and final volume in this masterful story.

The author begins with a recap of the first award-winning book:  Eclipsed by Shadow.  While The Golden Spark can definitely be read as a stand-alone story, it is far more beneficial for the reader to read them in order.  In case you're new to One Book Shy, read my gushing review of Eclipsed by Shadow.  It was a 5 Jewel favorite, as is The Golden Spark!  You don't want to miss out on even a moment of this rollicking ride through history.

John Royce has created a fantastic heroine in Meagan Roberts.  Her love and knowledge of horses is critical to her surviving her adventure through equine history that is intertwined with our own.  We join her this time as she unwillingly rides with Hernan Cortes in his massacre of the Aztecs.  Her excellent riding skill brings her to the attention of King Louis at Versailles as she continues to move forward through time.  As she nears her own century, she thinks she may have finally found someone who understands about the Great Horse.  It'll be exciting to see where in the past she lands next.

This is such an addictive and witty story.  It is full of humor ~ especially while she is at court with King Louie.  There is also a large dose of high adventure.  You feel as if you're right there with Meagan as she's exercising the horses or mucking out the stalls.  You squirm along with her as she is introduced to infamous characters in history.   Mr. Royce's love and understanding of horses shines through in his writing as does his knowledge of the horse's permanent place in history.  His extensive research is apparent once again and I've learned several more horse facts, even though I've had them in my life from the beginning.  The blend of myth and legend along with historical fact has come together beautifully into a fictional masterpiece.

I highly recommend The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy to any lovers of fantasy, adventure and a dang good story.  You don't have to be a horseperson to enjoy this lovely recounting of the history of horses.  Even if you've never touched a horse, Meagan and her Great Horse will have you enthralled.  If you are a horsey-type, there is a lot to be learned about the care and background of your favorite equine pal.  While I mention the educational aspects several times, I want to note that there is never a feel of being taught.  It is just a highly entertaining story that happens to have some very good moral, historical and horsemanship lessons to share with the reader.

As I mentioned in regard to the first book, this would be an excellent story for parents and children to both read and discuss.  Riding clubs and instructors would find this to be an excellent resource for their students.  It really does have something for everyone.  In fact, my 71 year old cowboy father is reading and enjoying Eclipsed by Shadow now.  We've been talking about a lot of the horsemanship history. 

*This book has been recommended for adults and teens (Ages 14+).  I believe readers that are a bit younger (10+) will also enjoy this read if they are mature for their age.  Violence in the form of war and a bit of very light sexual inferences are present, but not prevalent.  If in doubt, I'd suggest parents read and enjoy the book first and then pass it on to the younger readers.  This is a series that has earned a permanent place on our family's "keeper shelves".

Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:

WHERE TO BUY IT:    Amazon and The Book Depository
Eclipsed by Shadow  The Golden Spark
To learn more about this fantastic series be sure to check out the website:  The Great Horse.  You can also sign up for updates from the author and to be one of the first to know when the final installment in the trilogy is available.

The entire series could fall into many categories and genres: YA, YA fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, historical, adventure, animals, equine, action, children's fiction, etc.. This is an epic adventure that I could see making a fantastic movie. hint hint hint.....

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


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